When you are in a family with two full-time working, commuting parents and an energetic toddler, your days can sometimes feel like a series of magnificent hurdles.
Some days you function like a well-oiled machine. Toddler wakes up happy, does cute stuff, eats his breakfast, does not soil himself at school, takes his bath willingly, and falls asleep with minimal push-back.
Other days…well, it can feel as though the gears are torturously grinding together, like Jim Carrey scratching up the surface of a plate with his silverware.
Toddler wakes up cranky, cries for everything, refuses breakfast, gets bad progress report at school, whines the whole car ride home, requires chasing around the house to get in the bath, and spends two hours yelling from him crib for toys and lights and books and pee-pees after he’s supposed to be sound asleep.
Most of the time, there’s nothing you can do about it. You just wake up the next day and start over, hoping things will be better. But sometimes you get a glorious chance to bust out the WD40 and ship toddler off to grandma and grandpa’s for the weekend.
You look forward to this like a teenage girl looks forward to the winter semi-formal. You spend the week giddy because you know that in a couple days, you are going to have blissful peace. You will have time to do whatever you want! Read a book! Watch a movie—loud! Take a bath! Poop alone! The possibilities are endless.
The beautiful day arrives and the minute it’s time to say goodbye, you feel a little wistful. You give your little guy a big hug and kiss and then another big hug and kiss as he walks out the door unaware that he won’t be seeing you again until a couple days. You feel like a bad parent for a second, but then your brain does a little Cher and goes “SNAP OUT OF IT!”
You sit on the couch and you revel in the fact that you don’t have to get up off said couch to get juice or cookie or wipe mocos or tooshie. About five minutes pass in silence, in glorious silence, and you think:
Man, I miss my kid.
That’s the paradox of modern parenting: your kids drive you crazy when they are here, and you miss them like crazy when they are gone.
I’ve got a free weekend this weekend, and although I’m looking forward to it, I know what’s going to happen. I’ll spend a few minutes enjoying the quiet and then I’ll wander around my house listless for the rest of the day. I’ll pick up my toddler’s clothes and toys and I’ll smell them and think about something funny he said the other day and then I’ll try not to miss him so bad that my insides hurt.
And when I go to pick him up on Sunday, I will smother him with love as any good Italian mother does, until he wiggles out of my arms and goes and does something super annoying and I think…okay, so when’s the next time we can send you to grandma and grandpa’s?