It’s been awhile since there were only three of us. Last year at this time, probably.
Here’s the hard truth: since I work, I don’t notice much of a difference when Isabella & Annika aren’t home from the time I wake up until just after I get home. The steps are the same in the morning, the work day passes like any other. I think about them no more and no less than if they were sitting on the couch at home, waiting for me.
But about 34 seconds after I walk in the door, I remember. I can feel it. It feels…odd. Not bad. Just that something is off. Missing. And sure, it’s that there are a few less bodies navigating the small hallway between the front door and the kitchen counter where I lay my purse. The din of sound is a little less hard on my ears. I’m now only tripping over two pairs of shoes, not four. But it’s more than that. I feel it in the tone of my house…the sounds it makes, and the sounds it doesn’t anymore. For the first week, I would find myself straining to hear a “Mom!” called quietly from upstairs. I would notice that I was waiting for a request that never came, not in a fully-formed sentence from the older two anyway. I was on edge.
I’ve been on edge since they were gone. Last year was much more relaxing than this one. I’m not sure why that is. I jump when the phone rings, hoping it’s them. And then when I’m talking to them, I almost want them to hang up quick before I say “come home please“. It makes me proud to hear stories of how Annika is doing so much better (she’s doing so much better! No poopy pants for like 8 days! Super high fives over here! I’m buying her a pony! …that part is a lie!) and how much Bella loves her time up there- so much that she can’t waste more than 4 minutes on the phone with her mother ever. EVER.
So I’ve been missing them. Fact. Since that was something I could not fix I decided to instead focus on what I did have: time with Mae. We went on a mission for ice cream on Wednesday night. Only here’s a pro tip: don’t tell the girl we’re going for ice cream until we’re pulling in the ice cream store parking lot because oh.my.god she’ll never stop asking about it so long as you live forever and ever scratch your eardrums out…..Ryan learned the hard way.
We had fun. It was…somewhat relaxing. Which, I gotta say, is the theme of the month. Maelle is an active kid, she’s constantly moving and talking and asking and testing. But still, to go from three of those to one of those has been somewhat of a vacation for my brain. Once I reminded myself it was ok to do that. Everything runs a little slower, because it can. I only have two sets of needs (+ the pets’) to attend to in front of my own. My odds of getting something right have significantly increased, it’s a nice change. But it’s, thankfully, very temporary. I’ll take it while it’s here because we got to let Maelle take all the time in the world to pick out the best ice cream flavour, where normally we’d have pushed her into a few choices because two more kids need turns too. We let her dance a little in the parking lot because there was only one kid to wrangle if the cars came flying in. We let her get her face really messy, we let her stay and play a little longer than normal. It’s easier to make the exception when you’re temporarily down to one.
But don’t worry. It’s not all rainbows and pink puffy hearts over here. Girlfriend is a hellion at bedtime right now. I should probably use the ” ” marks around the word bedtime because that’s a loose interpretation of the go-the-fuck-to-sleep routine that’s gotten more wildly out of hand the longer we wrestle with it. We’re screwed when they’re all back. And we know it. We’ve done it to ourselves. ::slaps own hand:: S’okay, no one will die and we’ll all eventually sleep again…eventually.
Come home, Belle & Nik. Momma’s just not the same without you here.