(Keswick Hall, VA--where my BFF and I stayed last week. More on it later...)
I returned home last night from having spent the last 6 days in Virginia and the Washington DC area. I vacationed alone with my BFF for the first part of the week, and then spent the last few days with my brother and his family in the DC area.
It was a glorious 6 days.
I've had the opportunity to travel without Mike or the children a fair amount the last year and a half, and I've done a little evaluating about the pros and cons of my absence. Though the children certainly don't jump up and down at the thought of me leaving, they do look forward to a little slower pace, a little less uptightness surrounding chores and schedules, and they enjoy the definite change in the routine.
Last night, after only being home about an hour, I was sitting at the kitchen table talking with Mike while Luke unloaded the dishwasher in the background. Out of the corner of my eye I observed him precariously balancing a glass dish sideways in the cupboard in a type of Tetris format. I snapped at him, as I also saw several other dishes in the same cupboard that didn't belong there.
Obviously a result of my absence for almost a week.
There were also no eggs, no cheese, no fresh fruit, and very empty fridge shelves. The result as Megan succinctly concluded, "Dad refused to go to the store." "The lack of food and the optimism that I'll grocery shop soon may have had something to do with the fact that just an hour after my return she said, "It's just sooo nice having you home."
On the flip side, the house was very clean (a couple of rooms were/are the exception). Which according to Luke was because, "All we did the whole week is Dad made us clean everything perfectly everyday." I was greeted last night with clean sheets on my bed (LOVE), and all homework was obviously completed and signed. (A pleasant contrast to the spring when I went to Europe and I returned home to find every single homework paper of Joshua's undone in a pile on my desk for me "to look through.") Overall, life at home didn't really skip a beat.
Mike and I are both pretty uptight parents, but in different ways. So in day-to-day life our children often don't get a break from crazy parents. I think they thrive well every once in a while to have a change of pace. I love that when I leave town, Mike and my children fully support me in my absence. Nobody minds that music doesn't get practiced quite as often, or that dirty socks lay in all the wrong places for who knows how long, or that nobody thinks to dust a piece of furniture.
Well, I kind of minded about the influx of dirty socks on the floor. But knowing the big, long list of things that DID get done, and all "the extras" Mike allowed seep into the week for the children makes me feel grateful that though they prefer life with me home, they know how to have a good time and survive just fine while I'm gone.
As Mike said last night, "I'm so glad you're back. I feel like I couldn't do my work well, or the home life well. It takes two of us." Mike and I make a pretty good team. I'm glad to be home. I have absolutely fallen in love with traveling and feel beyond blessed with the opportunities I have had to travel a fair amount, but there is truly "no place like home."
Dirty socks included.