Two years ago, my mom moved in with us. She’d had a stroke and was unable to live by herself any longer. She wasn’t, however, ready to call Shady Pines her new home for the next umpteen years. We had the space and our house had several handicap accessories in place from the previous owners.
It was actually my husband’s suggestion that my mom move in with us. If that doesn’t qualify him for sainthood, I’m not sure what will.
The transition was fairly easy. With the help of her occupational therapists and physical therapists, we modified our home so that it became, truly, our home. And in no time at all, we were all getting on each other’s nerves as if we had always been one great big happy family.
My husband, true to his eventual sainted-ness, encourages me to get away frequently. Raising teenagers is hard. Raising moms is hard. Raising them both at the same time is how alcoholics are made.
Needless to say, when a friend offered up the use of her vacation condo, I jumped at the chance for a girlfriend getaway on an otherwise dreary weekend.
Loading up three of my tired momma girlfriends, we trekked to the condo with dreams of getting away and refreshing.
Over the course of the weekend, we went shopping, where no one begged us to do any of the following: Leave, Stay, Buy Something, Not Buy Something, Stop Singing Along To The Musak, or Go Home Now Right Now Because Their Favorite Show Might Be Going Off Netflix Any Day Now.
We ate like we hadn’t seen food in a decade. At one stop, we each ordered a funnel cake topped with ice cream topped with caramel and hot fudge, topped with pecans and topped with whipped cream. When the monstrosity was set before us, we each claimed that we would never eat the whole thing. Then we ate the whole thing. No one sneezed on our food. No one begged us to trade with them. No one looked at our food, snarled her nose and said, “Ewwwwww,” and no one asked for one single bite of our 20,000-calorie indulgence. Not. One. Bite.
When nighttime rolled around, we didn’t have to convince anyone to go to bed. We didn’t have to yell at anyone to pick up his three dozen pair of socks from the living room floor. We didn’t have to threaten to laugh when they got a cavity if they didn’t go brush their teeth already. We just went to bed.
And this is where our weekend got really good.
My friend, Dawn, a tired mom of three, shared a bed with me. When we crawled in bed that night, we each slept on the opposite side that we normally sleep on at home. Why? Because that’s the side we like to sleep on, but we are married to men who have their own sides.
Then we read our books without interruption by touch or voice. Then, when we were ready to go to sleep, we turned off our respective lamps and went to sleep.
We did not wake up when someone hollered out “Mom!” (Because no one hollered out “Mom!”)
We did not wake up when we heard the dogs scratching at the back door. (Because there were no dogs.)
We did not wake up when a random child wandered into our room and hovered over us in an effort to test our cardiac health.
We woke up when … we were ready to wake up! It was a concept we’d forgotten about since, well, we became moms.
We texted our husbands to see if we could have sleepovers with each other every night forever, but they were not hip to that jive.
Eventually, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. On Sunday, we loaded up our vehicles, rode the zip line and then made our way home. (Zip line, you ask? Well, yeah. We were living it up, after all.)
We pulled into town with our souvenirs for our families (because how could we go shopping without getting something for our nearest and dearest?). We smelled the leftovers that we brought back home to the little mouths that would just love the special macaroni and cheese we ordered in their honor. And we unpacked the laundry, adding it to the laundry our families had accumulated over the weekend.
My mom welcomed me home with stories of how she rarely left my sister and me when we were young. My daughters welcomed me home with excited squeals asking what I brought them. And my husband welcomed me home with a kiss and a whispered greeting of, “I hope you rested well. The dogs spent the night inside last night…”
It’s nice to be missed.
Heather Davis is a tired momma and a worn-out writer. She and her sandwiched family live in Oklahoma and she recently won a Bronze Award from the Parenting Media Association. Her website is www.Heather-Davis.net.