With all three of our boys out of the house for a little while (see Losing My Kids for the Summer and Once, Twice, Three Times a Douche-Bag), Karin and I have had some time to reconnect and do the things we want to do. We all need to find ways to recharge. But it wasn’t easy at first.
Isn’t it funny how we, as parents, long for time alone with our partner or just to ourselves, and as soon as we get it, we don’t know what in the hell to do with it? We spend all our time responding to the basic needs of our kids, and have long given up on the idea of being able to do anything that didn’t involve an hour-long, prepare-to-load-up-and-head-out trip to the grocery store or some similarly would-be routine expedition.
Last week we found ourselves staring blankly at each other, shrugging our shoulders with a “me no know” look on our faces. It really didn’t come to us until we agreed not to worry about any plans. There are some things we’d like to get done around the house while they’re away just because it’s so much easier: painting, landscaping, etc. We’re also planning a short trip to Chicago to visit friends and go to the Art Institute. (And yes, I’ll be listening to “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” while having my mind blown by Georges Seurat.)
But once we let go of timelines and what we “should” be doing (I hate shoulding on myself, don’t you?), we were able to relax and think of some things to do. We’ve got a few days left, and we’ve had some amazing time together already. What we did isn’t really important. It’s the focused attention that matters. We’re not constantly being pulled in different directions. For example, whereas 90% of dinner time is usually spent getting a kid to not fall out of his chair long enough to actually eat something, this past week, we were able to just
I know it’s difficult. We rarely have a chance to go out. It’s only because our kids are all with their other parents that we’ve been able to relax to an appreciable extent. As much as we love our kids, we need this time. Disconnected partners make ineffective parents. So may this serve as a reminder to myself and to you to take some time for yourself. Take some time to relax and recharge. Take some time to be with your partner without expectation. Take some time to be.