The Kid is away.
She’ll be back soon, but she’s not sleeping here for two nights, and I hate it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that she’s gone on a school trip. I’m excited about the things she’s doing and glad that she goes to a school that values time spent improving the classroom community, and sees separation from parents as an important enough part of growing up that it deserves three days of curriculum. More than three days, really, as they’ve been preparing the children for this trip all year.
But I hate that she’s gone.
This morning, when we dropped the kids off, parents were smiling and giving each other the thumbs up. They were looking forward to having a couple of nights alone with their spouses, to not having to wake up so early in the morning, to a peaceful house. And I appreciate the fact that I can make the meeting I want to go to tomorrow morning. I made an appointment for tomorrow night, and I can go to it–I can take care of myself–without feeling like I’m missing something at home. And KPD and I spent this evening watching Robin Hood, which is really good, but the Kid doesn’t like it for some reason. So that was fun.
But I didn’t feel like giving any thumbs ups this morning.
I’ve never been good at separation. I may hold the record for most consecutive hours of crying by an uninjured baby, from the time my parents decided to go away for the weekend and leave me with a friend. According to family legend, I did not stop crying the entire time they were gone. I cried through the entire first day of preschool and part of the second day. I cried every weekend my first year of sleep away camp, and I cried again when I was dropped off for the second year. Even as an adult, I’ve always found it hard to say goodbye, and if someone is late, I get very anxious.
So that’s part of what’s going on with me. But there’s another part. The thing is, I really like to be with the Kid. I really do. Sure, she does annoying things, like any eleven-year-old does with her mother, but she’s one of my favorite people to hang out with. She’s been away enough times now that I’m not at all worried about her. When I got an e-mail from the school saying that the bus had arrived at its destination safely, my reaction was shock. I couldn’t believe they thought parents needed to know that. Even with all my anxiety problems (and I have plenty) I stopped worrying about the Kid as soon as I got her to school on time.
But I miss her. I miss our routine. I miss the nice, quiet time we usually have together before she goes to sleep at night. I miss hearing about her day. I miss laughing together. I even miss yelling at her. The house feels empty, even though it’s full of pets (and KPD) to keep me company. (As I write this, there is a hedgehog nestling between my elbow and my ribs.) The fact is, I miss being with her all the time, the way it was when she was little. Going on vacation with her was amazing, because we were together like that again–just the two of us, doing what we wanted, when we wanted.
The thing I always wanted to do was to be a mom. And of course part of being a mom is letting your kid go when she needs to go. But for me, the fun part will always be just hanging out. Just being together, doing whatever. I know I’m not homesick, because I’m in my house. But I guess for me, the thing about being a parent is that my home isn’t a house anymore. The center of my universe is wherever the Kid is, and when she’s away, I’m homesick.