This week Mimi's entire 8th grade class went away for their annual Washington DC trip. They travel in big motor coaches watching movies and eating candy for 8 - 10 hours and then run around DC taking in all that great city has to offer. They stay in a hotel just outside DC....4 kids to a room....essentially living on their own. Of course there are chaperones and people monitoring each hotel floor all night long. It's great fun for the kids, gives them some independence, and makes parents sigh at home.
Last year, Jack went and I held it together until I dropped him off and then I let some tears fall over the dam. Not too many but a few. I then spent the first two nights sitting on the couch, sighing, and saying " I wonder what Jack is doing now...." while Mimi and Tim rolled their eyes at me. I can't help it. I love my kids and as much as I love my alone time, things just don't feel the same when they aren't at home. And it's not like I'm not used to them being away. They essentially spend the summer at my parent's on the Cape and we "get" to visit them on the weekends....and beg them to pretend they miss us. They have a blast every summer...grandparents, cousins, eating ice cream and candy non- stop...what could be better?! As much as I know they are having a great time, and it's nice to have a little independence from running everything 24-7, there is still a piece of me that just doesn't feel right until they are with me again.
Fast forward to last weekend and the packing. With Jack, we just threw some clothes in his bag the night before and he was good to go. With Mimi, we had to shop beforehand - part of this trip is a dance on the last night where the girls wear nice, casual dresses and the boys wear collared shirts and pants. A big deal for both sexes. I was 4 hours into a mall trip, listening to "I just can't decide which dress to get" when I snapped and said "Ok, you need to make a choice within the next 10 minutes because we are leaving." Funny how that works....we had a dress and some accessories in 10 minutes flat.
She packed for days...and I mean days. First there was the laying out of outfits. Then the editing of outfits. Then the relaying out of new outfits. Then the lists of things she still needed to pack. Finally on Monday night we were in good shape. I should mention, Monday night is our night....we watch the Bachelorette....I know...not the best tv...but it does provide some good discussions like "Don't ever date a guy like that" or "Don't ever be someone you are not because you think that is what someone is looking for". We also have a lot of discussions like "He's cute" and "That dress is horrendous on her." So, there we were, like any Monday night, in my bedroom, curled up watching the show. She was stressed about being able to fall asleep later so she asked if we could sit together...and could I rub her hair? Uhm...yeah! I told her during a commercial break that we had to get up at 4:30 so she could be to school by 5 and she said "Well, maybe we should just sleep in here together so you don't have to come in and wake me up....it would just be easier." I almost did a little jig. Did I want to have a sleepover the night before she went away for a week?! Heck, yeah, but I wasn't going to bring it up. And I could tell, as excited as she was, she was still a little anxious about the week.
I practically flew down the stairs telling Tim he had to sleep in the spare bedroom because we were having a sleepover! His response? "Did you force this on her?" No! But I couldn't be more excited about it.
The next morning went amazingly well. For someone who can barely open her eyes each morning, she jumped up like a little chipmunk and was ready in record time. We hugged our goodbyes at home since it was a drop and run situation. I just goofed around saying goodbye so neither of us would get weepy.....well, ok...so I wouldn't get weepy. I didn't want to make her feel sad before she left.
Well, I don't say this often but thank God for text messaging. Jack had informed me last year that he would not be texting me at all "because no one is going to text their parents". I think I got 2 messages..."I'm here" and "I'm ready to be picked up".
Girls and boys are definitely different. She has been texting me each day - mostly saying good morning and good night, but at least I know she is ok and back at the hotel safely each day. She left behind the little Piglet she has slept with every night since she was a month old...of course that would not be cool to bring. So, we have been texting her pictures of what Piggy has been doing while she has been away....eating out of the cat bowls with the cats, sleeping with Jack, making lunch in the morning with Tim, feeding the bunny, sleeping in our bed...she has gotten a kick out of it but I think we have had the most fun with it.
This week, I had a flash of Tim and I doing things like this when the kids are in college. Us taking the Pig out to dinner and saying "Look where he is!" or snapping pictures of Jack's turtle "drinking" a beer. I'm afraid for us. Really afraid. I think the kids are afraid too. They probably should be.
Tonight she comes home and I can't wait to see her! I'm sure she'll show her teenage attitude about 15 minutes after I pick her up but I'll take it. I have missed my little buddy.