Last Thursday, Big Love took off for four nights to do his study leave. (He gets 2 weeks of study leave a year but only uses one because his budget barely covers that when used very carefully.) I stayed home with the kids. Alone. At first I was scared but then I ended up having some moments of feeling very proud of myself.
I found myself being patient for the day to pass by. How many times I've looked at the clock with dismay as I realize there another hour or two until Big Love gets home from work. But I didn't do that. After dropping Big Love off at the airport Thursday morning, we got home, the kids napped and then we took off to go for a special walk on a local bike path. Sweet One is doing amazing riding her bike.
Friday went well until it was 330 and we were getting Sweet One ready for her dance class. It was time to put ponytails in her hair and she lost it. Biggest. Tantrum. Ever. How does a three year old learn to slam doors? It was insane and I felt beat up from it for a long time. We got to dance class a few minutes late after walking with Sweet One riding her bike. I was the mother constantly getting after her to hurry up. Trying to impress that we were going to be late because of her behavior. She's too young for that, really, but I still tried. The door was closed when we got there and at first I let her think she might not get in. She was upset but then we knocked on the door and the teacher let us in and I was finally allowed to put ponytails in her hair! I don't remember how the rest of the day went. I just know the glass of wine once the kiddos were sleeping was a welcome visitor.
Saturday was a good day. Rainy and drizzly but good. Sweet One started telling me her mouth hurts but then I managed to help her figure out that it was actually her throat. We went to Sweet One's surrogate grandma's house for a visit where it became very apparent that Sweet One was a little out of sorts about her dad being gone. We made it through the rest of the day and enjoyed some chocolate cupcakes which brought up her spirits. By the end of the day, I felt really good about how the day went and wasn't feeling completely wasted by the end of the day.
Sunday morning Sweet One woke up with a cold and Little Man woke up with another fever. The day was hard. Despite being continually medicate, Little Man's fever sat around 102 the entire day. He needed to be held A LOT. We played outside with our friends but Little Man just wasn't feeling well. Sweet One had her moments as well. By the end of the day, I felt wasted. I started hoping desperately for a decent night's sleep because I hadn't had any over the previous chunk of days.
Monday morning Sweet One was a little better but Little Man was not. We got through the morning and the naps before we loaded up the car to go and get Big Love. I had to do a few errands before picking him up and so we stopped at two big box store. There was a strong wind and when we got from the car to the store and Little Man was in a cart, he started shivering. I was worrying. At the second store, his head was so hot and he could barely sit up straight because he was so tired. I hated it. I felt like a terrible mother that I couldn't just keep him at home but luckily our shopping took less than an hour.
Sweet One yelled, "Daddy!" and ran to him the moment she saw him. When he sat down I started to relax. I no longer felt like it was all on me to care for the kids and that felt great. My kids are not accustomed to a parent being away at all and so it was hard. Had they not gotten sick, it would have been much easier.
Big Love didn't go to work the next day but I sure felt strange. After such an intense 5 days, my body was crashing. I'm now onto my third day of being sick and I'm hoping it won't last much longer. With two kids, I can't actually find any time to nap or rest during the day so it's hard to plug along. I would love to have a chunk of time to just be by myself but it isn't going to happen any time soon.
(And one little bitch. Big Love got to go to New York City two times on his study leave. Once upon a time my sister asked me if I wanted to go there with her and when I checked with him he seriously whined, "you'd go without me?" On his behalf, we were newly weds. But how times have changed! My bucket list has a visit to NYC on there. I've wanted to go for a very long time.)
People who have to single parent on a regular basis are my new heroes! My hope for every single parent would be that they have a support network so they can have a little time to themselves now and again.
Sunday is Little Man's 1st Birthday! I can't believe it is here so quickly. We're going to have some people over and I'm going to prepare a little bit of food (previously I've always prepared too much). It should be a nice afternoon. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and the kids can play outside because I can't imagine 7 kids and 10 adults in our house. It might get a little crazy!