This is the second summer running where my children (now age 11 and almost 9) will have spent almost 2 weeks with their grandparents. Much as I’m the envy of many of my peers, I have to admit: I really miss them.
I learned my lesson from last year, though: do NOT clean out the basement while the kids are gone. No wonder I sank into a funk when I should have been twirling gleefully in the joys of temporary kid-free clarity. It’s tedious. It’s damp. It’s dark. After a while it’s kind of like a dungeon down there. As the daytime hours wear on, you start to feel trapped, abandoned, forgotten. You contemplate the trash chute scene from Star Wars, with yourself as Princess Leia, getting that super-white robe-like dress soggy with dingy brown swamp water.
No, I learned my lesson. This time I worked. I shopped. I went to the beach. I read books. I played tennis. I never, NOT ONCE, opened the door to my children’s cluttered rooms, lest I be tempted to do some good in there, only to find myself once again depressed and overwhelmed as a result of my own self-sabotage.
I’m thankful for the lesson, because, in the long-term scheme of things, the children will not live here forever, and I need to be OK with that. I need to structure my life such that I’m not slogging, lonely, from one activity to the next, no matter how full or empty my nest may be. And I figure that it’s a lesson better learned sooner than it is later.