*warning: long post & all photos taken with my iPhone edited in VSCO*
The past week has been such a challenge for me and the kids, and probably Aaron too, but I'll only speak for myself on this one. Aaron and I don't really vacation apart very often. Maybe once a year, for just a short time. And it's usually me traveling. We've traveled throughout our marriage for various reasons, I've flown to New York and San Francisco for a few days to be with friends, I've had work conferences in Utah and Vegas. He's gone on weekends away with the guys, sometimes bringing our boys along. But we've never been apart for an entire week, so this past week was new territory for both of us.
Aaron went on a guys' adventure to South America. Crazy right?! And so fun. They flew into Brazil and then on to Uruguay. He had an amazing time. And I couldn't be happier for him.
What did I learn?
Well, I confirmed the fact that I am still not a breakfast person or a morning person to be honest. I actually hate to even eat breakfast let alone make breakfast. Aaron usually gets up before me and starts breakfast for the kids. I roll out of bed 20 minutes later and make beds and do hair, sunscreen, pack backpacks, get myself ready for the day, load dishes. But he's on food duty in the morning. This week was a little shock to my system to be that alert and together at that hour of the morning. I would set my alarm each day, but my early riser Sawyer, always made sure I woke up on time. Aaron definitely thought ahead, he taught Sawyer how to make his own breakfast. He likes ham and fried eggs on a typical school day. So the first morning I stood by the stove and basically was just on fire control. If an emergency arose I was his backup. Good thing there was no emergency, in fact, he did so well I told him he really didn't need me in the mornings at all haha. Here's our first fried egg lesson where he tried to teach me what to do. I listened really hard, but that early in the morning, I retain nothing.
The two younger kids also happened to have half days at school last week. Which was great and not so great. Great since they didn't need lunches packed, but not so great because I had only a teeny window to accomplish anything from work to errands to chores. Gunnar had a regular school schedule. We had to make two unexpected doctor visits as well, isn't that always what happens? You're alone and your kids decide to gang up on you to create the perfect storm.
I learned that although I'm terrible at making breakfast, I'm still the best smoothie maker in all the land. I can whip up an awesome smoothie for any meal of the day. And I'm a pretty great lunch maker too. I took pride in their snacks and Gunnar's lunches, and today's lunches for all 3 were pretty rockin'. I also learned I'm still not so great in the dinner making department. Out of 6 nights, I cooked once, if you can even call it cooking.
I learned although I'm an introvert most of the time, I like to have people at night around me, especially people whose name is Aaron. Because of the time change, by the time I put the kids to sleep, Aaron was already sleeping too. So it was just me. And after 6 nights of that kind of quiet, it gets boring. But then I'd wake up in the morning to a photo texted to me of this, and I would be so happy that Aaron was getting to experience this.
Another thing I learned is that I get really cold at night in an empty bed. I had no idea the kind of heat Aaron radiated. We are talking long pants, socks, two shirts, and an extra blanket type of cold. Also, I no longer sleep well alone. On a good night I would sleep 11pm-2am. Maybe another 40 minutes between 4-5am. It was brutal. I tried everything. Baths, essential oils, hot tea.
We stayed busy, that was a good thing. We ditched school one day and went to Disneyland. This was also my way of getting my mind off of a total iPhone disaster that happened Thursday. I was on the phone with Apple support for almost 4 hours. 4 hours with 3 kids that still had homework to do, bedtimes, dinner, all of it. I never knew how tech savvy my husband was until that day. I had a meltdown but we got through it. It was a little tough having nothing on my phone, like no numbers, no contacts, but we managed until Aaron returned. By the way it's fixed now.
I represented daddy this day as best I could. I also learned I need to confer with my oldest before we get dressed in the morning.
I learned my kids are troopers. They did much better than I had anticipated. We were able to talk to Aaron every day. He rented an international hotspot so that he would always have access to texts and emails, and usually FaceTime too. It worked out really well. Only in Brazil did we have any issues with it, and I think the internet wasn't strong enough for calls, but at least we always could text.
I learned that I'm not bred for single parenting. We were designed not to do this whole parenthood gig alone because it's well, lonely. And it's all you all the time. I was paranoid about getting sick because then what would we have done? Who would've taken care of the kids if I was laid up with something awful? Fortunately we didn't have to find out.
And Monday morning when that plane touched down? Elation. I learned that it's ok to cry from happiness and relief. I was taking Gunnar to school and Aaron called and asked if it was a good idea to surprise the little ones at school. I told him GO! They will be so excited. And they were. I learned what a wonderful father my kids have, straight from the airport, luggage in hand, he was at their school for quick hugs and kisses. When I got back home from Gunnar's school dropoff I kept checking my phone, and the clock, and within a few minutes that knock on the door. JOY I tell you. And tears. Happy tears.
Then the stories and the presents and the details and the pictures and the laundry and the more more more. When the kids got home there were photos and videos and stories of giant lizards and landmarks and rain and international flights and different foods and new friends.
We've all been barnacles since he returned. We really can't sit close enough to the guy if we tried. And I don't see that wearing off anytime soon.