Tonight and through to Sunday, for only the second time since we have been married, my husband and I are going to be alone. Totally, completely and utterly alone. No children to drive, pick up, drop off or feed. No little cherubs who need refereeing or coaching or redirection. Not a single person under the legal drinking age requiring our attention, our money, our patience, our food or our ability to drive a car. No pleas for permission, forgiveness or second
third, fourth and fifth chances. Not a one.
Just over a month ago, Barry and I each doubled the number of children we had personally either sired or birthed, bringing our parentage status to four, aged 9 to 21. We have elementary school, middle school, high school and college, aka: early hormonal, moderately hormonal, over-the -damn-top hormonal and evening-out hormonal.
I am exhausted just thinking about it.
We were going to go away for the entire weekend – as in, leave this afternoon and not come home until Sunday night. Only.I.Just.Can’t. I am too damned tired to even be a passenger in a car tonight. I am too busy re-programming my brain to think about us: the couple as opposed to us: the big ol’ blended family.
While many of my friends are actual empty nesters (damn it, I was getting so close), I am a re-nester. Just when I thought I’d seen my last 4th and 6th graders, I have them living in my house, if only part of the time. I love my step kids and their Legos, video games, school snacks, giggles when they hear the word balls, bedtime antics, farting noises and their still-almost-sweet-smelling B.O. I’m way smarter with them than I was with my own at that age…something that is spectacularly awesome for me, less so for them. They actually believe, know that they had best spill their guts about what really happened because we will most of the time if we are lucky always find out at least something close to the truth. Bullshitting us about homework due, teeth brushing, hair washing, swearing, who started it and if their underwear has been changed is not even on the fringe of something that might happen, because they have learned bought it hook, line and sinker that lying to us is futile as we are too well seasoned to buy their shenanigans. Again: spectacular for us, sucks for them.
Barry, on the other hand, has been thrown into the world of mid and late adolescence which, by all accounts, is not for the faint of heart. Teenagers and young adults are an interesting lot: the second you think you have them figured out, they lose their shit up and change things on ya…and you never know what hit you. Their problems are bigger, scarier and more complicated. They are exercising the independence that we’ve so desperately taught them, yet still want to be sure that we are there to catch the debris when things go awry. On the daily I have witnessed shifts from sweet to snarky to unrelenting to downright rude to utterly obnoxious to something akin to remorse to sweetness and back again at whiplash speeds on repeat. Every. Damn. Day.
The difference here: I’ve already lived through (twice, but who’s counting) the depravity of young kids so am a little bit savvier about how to not kill handle them. Poor Barry’s last intimate experience with teenagers was, um, when he WAS one. You do the math.
But, for the next, let’s call it 50 hours we are free from any and all of it. Aside from phone calls, texts, emails or smoke signals, we need not address, engage or be forced to deal with anyone other than one another. I adore all four of our kids, but man oh man, am I looking forward to this weekend which will begin in earnest tomorrow morning. Or late morning. Or early afternoon.
(Not mentioned: Barry has a herniated disc in his back and a sinus infection, I have stenosis in my neck and a pissed off rotator cuff…but that is not going to stop us from enjoying every damn second of these next two days. We will manage just fine with crutches, braces, antibiotics and Ibuprofen. Lots of Ibuprofen)