The children are home! The children are home! This is what Paul Revere ran through the town yelling about to strike fear into the hearts of the British. Or possibly Otto. But as for me, I was positively giddy yesterday, because no matter how much of a pain in the butt they can sometimes be, two weeks is a LONG TIME for my babies to be gone.
Mind you, sometimes it was like they weren’t even gone at all. After an unfortunate incident earlier this year when Chickadee took the sometimes-her-cell-phone to a school event and proceeded to spend the entire time texting with a friend sitting a few seats away (the hell?)—resulting in a $40 overage on our texting allowance—after some negotiation we decided the sometimes-her-cell-phone could now become the really-her-cell-phone (with all the rights and privileges therein, such as us taking it away when she’s rotten), and we went to unlimited texting on our family plan (half of which she’s paying for, because we are mean and terrible parents). This meant that at random times throughout their absence, my cell phone would go BINGBING! and upon review I would discover that Chickadee had sent me a Very Important Text.
Of course, the 13-year-old version of Very Important is… somewhat different than the adult version. A typical conversation with my darling daughter via text message looks something like this:
Me: Wow, you would think that would be less annoying in text than in person, but you’d be wrong. WHAAAAAAAAAT?
Me: Hi, baby. What’s up?
Me: Whatcha doing?
Chickie: Watching a movie.
Me: Oh yeah? Which one?
Chickie: Pirates of the Caribbean.
Me: Oh, cool. Do you like it?
Chickie: It’s kind of boring.
Me: Really? But Johnny Depp is yummy, and that is never boring!
Chickie: Who is Johnny Depp?
Chickie: Which one is he?
Me: He’s Jack Sparrow. And he’s adorable. I’m not sure you’re my kid.
Chickie: EWWWWWW. He’s old and ugly!
Me: I am weeping right now.
Chickie: Was that a JOKE?
Me: No! Um, later, go Google “21 Jump Street” to see him all young and hot. They make him look skeezy for the movie. I promise he’s gorgeous.
Me: Oh hush, whippersnapper.
Me: Go watch your movie.
Chickie: Okay, byyyyeeee!
Inbetween Very Important Texting with my daughter, my son would periodically call, and I just wanted to hear his sweet voice and tell him I missed him, but typically when Monkey calls me during his time with his dad, it’s to report a catalog of injustices he is certain have been done to him. So a typical call starts with me asking how he’s doing and then a 10-minute litany from him of how Chickadee did this or that and then their cousin did this other thing and Daddy did something else and Grammie didn’t do the right thing either and I get a chance to practice my deep breathing and then my Soothing Voice as I assured him that that sounded very frustrating indeed, but I am not there and he needs to work these things out with the people THERE, and also, son, remember that sometimes we need to just let things go.
[HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA! A little bit of Aspie humor there. Letting things go is… ummm… not exactly part of Monkey’s repertoire. This is the child who still says to me, “Hey Mom! Remember that time when I was 2 and you hit me with a snowball and I cried? That was really mean.” No joke.]
Anyway, they were gone and we bravely soldiered on without them, even finding various ways to—dare I say it?—ENJOY their absence, but two weeks is pretty much my limit. Yesterday we picked them up at the airport and went to our favorite diner between the airport and home, and the children, they talked NON-STOP, talking over each other in their hurry to report all of the important things.
Chickadee went on ALL THE ROLLERCOASTERS at the amusement park. And Monkey rode for MILES on his bike. And their cousin brought her dog, who is very sweet, but their uncle’s dog howls constantly, and it’s really annoying. And would Licorice remember them? And can I have some of those french fries? And here are some pictures I took, look at these, and I read fourteen books!
Total chaos. I smiled across the table at Otto and he smiled back.
As we rode home, my phone went BINGBING! and it was Chickadee texting me. From the back seat. (“MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHWM!!”) I suggested she could just TALK to me from that proximity, but she said no, that was okay. When she did it again, I told her that if I received another text from her I was going to take her phone away. She sniffled dramatically.
Back home, we had a brief swim before a storm moved in. Then Chickadee disappeared into IMing all her friends (apparently texting them the entire time she was gone was not sufficient), and Monkey helped me bake muffins. This was followed by muffin-eating and complaining that it was NOT time to go to bed, why, they’d stayed up until MIDNIGHT with Daddy and why are we so MEAN?
Finally, Monkey was in bed, and Chickadee sidled up to me and threw her arms around my neck. As I hugged her close, she turned and whispered in my ear, “I just love you so much… I wanted to text you and TELL you how much, but you said you’d take my phone away. Alas.”
Finally they were both in bed and Otto and I retired to the couch. He studied my face for a minute before asking, “Happy?”
I beamed back at him. “Very.”