“So we’re going to grandma and grandpa’s bungalow…” My 6 year old repeated back to my nodding face. “But you and daddy are going somewhere else?”
He looked at me somewhat uncomprehending. It’s not his fault. This would be the first time we left our three boys to take a couple of days to ourselves. Of course it should have happened years ago but for one clingy reason or another, it just didn’t.
But now that we were, we weren’t just dropping them at their boring old house. We were leaving them at the bungalow colony where they spend their summers, a virtual kid haven when my husband and I were growing up, which of course is now a literal senior haven. Still, there were random kids about, long green lawns, a pool, frogs and salamanders… what else do 12, 9 and 6 year old boys need?
Their mommy, I thought guiltily.
“Yes,” I confirmed enthusiastically to his soft brown eyes and sweet chubby cheeks. “Daddy and I are going to have a little vacation and so are you and your brothers.”
He didn’t look thrilled.
Even at 6, my youngest is still the baby. He isn’t quite ready to do playdates outside of our house. He doesn’t like to go places if I’m not going, even with Daddy and his brothers. He hugs me vigorously when I leave to go to the supermarket or out to dinner. He has made some major progress towards independence this past year – Hello Kindergarten and camp! – but it’s slow going.
“It’ll be fun!” I cheered which only made him scowl at me skeptically.
When we walked into the bungalow to drop their bags and our kids, grandma was ready. “Who wants eggs and pancakes?” She asked excitedly as the boys settled in.
We left them there, among many hugs and with devices that could communicate with us with the touch of their fingers.
My older boys were good, only my youngest sat on the fence, looking at me like I’d left him in a basket with a note pinned to his blanket.
It hurt and I worried. Of course, he would be fine with his grandparents and his brothers, but he was sad, which made me sad.
Still I walked out and he let me go which was a huge step in itself. I was intent on blocking out that little face and having fun with just my husband, if we could even remember how to do that.
It turned out letting go was easier than I thought.
The minute we were off, my brain was off them as well. I was excited for our time away; our two nights and a half day. We hiked, played tennis and row boated. We talked and ate and ate. It was good, really good. Of course we face-timed with the kids and they sent back pictures of themselves catching frogs.
We were all happy and we weren’t together.
We could all be happy and not be together? It was a novel concept.
When we returned to the bungalow, their beautiful faces momentarily lit with pleasure before tumbling over one another to excitedly detail their frog catching adventures. The past days of fabulous coupledom were already long gone and it was good to be back, but now that I had drunk the Kool Aid…
“So how was it?” I asked my youngest.
He shrugged in his shy way, “It was good.”
“You were okay?” I pressed. Now that we were together, somehow I was worried again.
“I was fine.” He said and I believed him, because surprisingly I was fine too.
Turns out, getting away was good for us all.
I’m already planing our next escape.