Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Loosening My Grip....For Everyone's Sake

I’m about to do something pretty scary this week. No, I’m not going to clean out the refrigerator, but perhaps that should go on next week’s list. Actually, the scary thing is that my husband and I are going away, alone, for 6 days. First, let me say that it’s not scary because I’m going away with my husband. We’ve been married for 22 years and although he may feel differently sometimes, we generally enjoy each other’s company. What’s scary about this trip is that I’m relinquishing control of my daughter and my home to somebody else. Yikes, just the thought of it gives me goosebumps!

Now, if you’re a parent, especially those of you with young children, this sounds like heaven on earth and you’re wondering why this would cause me even a moment’s hesitation. Time alone? Without kids? It could only get better if there were chocolate involved and, actually, I’m sure I’ll find some during this trip...I always do.

This is an annual trip for us thanks to my husband’s hard work and the generosity of his employer. The location changes every year, but the timing is just about the same. And every year, one of my dearest friends in the whole world, Jennifer, comes and stays at our house and supervises and chauffeurs and cooks and hangs out with my kids who absolutely adore her. She must think it’s OK because she comes back every year. Either that or the grocery shopping that I do is just too good to pass up. In any case, she gives up a week of her life and steps into mine, which, in my opinion is a Herculean effort. It’s not that my life is so difficult to do. Trust me, it’s not brain surgery. But everybody has their routines and their ways of doing things and their schedules and I think it’s pretty tough to go to somebody else’s house and keep things running smoothly. And Jennifer does, which is amazing to me. But this is where this whole scenario gets tricky for me.

You see, I’m a homemaker. You can dress it up and call it a domestic engineer or something else, but my day to day responsibilities are home and family. I’ve been home full-time for over 5 years and I won’t say I’ve got this down to a science, but I definitely have my ways of doing things. And going on this trip, which is truly a blessing, requires me to let go and....let Jennifer. It means that I have to understand that most things won’t get done the way that I do them. And that’s OK. But, I gotta be honest, it’s a little hard for me. I try to make it easier by typing up elaborate schedules and placing Post-It Notes strategically throughout the house, but really, even I know that it’s a little unreasonable to think that anybody will give a rip that there is plenty of extra toilet paper in every bathroom and that the dog’s hairbrush is kept in the laundry room above the dryer. If they need these things, they’ll find them. And if they don’t, well, no one will really be harmed in any way.

This year it will just be Jennifer and our 14-year old daughter, which really makes it a little easier. Still, 14 year-olds have crazy sports and social schedules and heaven forbid we mess up the social life! So, I’ve put together a schedule that would impress even a Today Show producer and formed a Parent Support Team ready to jump in and answer questions, offer a ride or be willing to explain to Jennifer why my daughter will need at least 2 hours to get ready for the Freshman Welcome Dance this Friday.

The good part of this is that we get a break from our daughter and, more importantly, she gets a break from us, and in the process, Jennifer becomes part of our family and gets a front row seat to our life. Of course she’ll do things differently and this is exactly what will make our daughter the happiest and what makes this week work every year. We all gain an appreciation for each other in ways that we can’t even imagine. And even a control freak like me can see that this is worth more than anything in the world.


At 8:51 AM , Blogger Kross-Eyed Kitty said...

LOL! Have a wonderful time on your holiday with the hubby...I'm sure Jennifer and your daughter will also have a great time!
Here via Michele's!

At 8:58 AM , Blogger panthergirl said...

You have a GREAT TIME and relax!!!!! Everything is going to be fine. Just avoid people with strollers. LOL ;)

At 12:39 PM , Blogger Star said...

Sounds wonderful.Enjoy!

At 3:33 PM , Blogger Zephra said...

Have a great vacation. I bet your friend will use this opportunity to have a great time with your daughter. Breaks are a VERY giood thing.

At 5:00 PM , Blogger srp said...

Here from Michele.
It is always frightening to leave a teenager alone at home with anyone. Their manipulative skills at this age have been honed to perfection. Fortunately, that perplexing thing children do... that behavior that you wish you could see... that "always acting like perfect angels for someone other than mom"....that is still present. So try not to worry and relax. Hey! What's the worse that could happen? Wait! Don't answer that, don't even think about it.

At 5:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi from Michele.

You'll do great. You sound like you have a good balance on the reality that everything will be fine; even if you're not the one doing it. I hope you have a lovely time and come back relaxed and ready to go again.

I do understand how you feel, though. I've had four major surgeries in the last 2 1/2 years and each time I've had to loosen up and let someone else do the things that I do MY WAY. Eventually I realized that it didn't matter how the towels were folded; especially since they will only get dirty, washed and refolded anyway. It's fun to think we order every little part of our world, but when you get down to it, your family won't need you to be sure the dog's brush is in the laundry room; they'll need you to remind them everyday that you love them and there is nothing they can do to make you stop loving them. And that, my dear, is the job that Jennifer can't do.

Have fun!

At 7:51 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

I love your perspective on what this time with Jennifer will give to your daughter. Very cool indeed.

Travel safe, and please bring back lots of fun pictures and stories.

At 7:59 PM , Blogger Marie said...

Enjoy your trip! Sounds perfect. As the mother of a 2-year old, I am truly jealous. Though I don't know if I could do 6 days yet. But I'd be willing to give it a shot! ;-)

Michele sent me...

At 10:16 AM , Blogger Juliabohemian said...

Only two hours? That isn't nearly enough time!

I don't think you're as much of a control freak as you make yourself out to be. But, this is obviously a positive experience for your daughter and HELLO? You get to go on vacation! Everything will be A-Okay.

At 10:29 AM , Anonymous Sparkling Diamond said...

As I was reading this I kept getting images from the show Trading
But, I'm sure its nothing like that! I loved when my parents did this when I was growing up and we did it a few times when my kids were little. I think everyone likes a change of pace and to see how 'others' live. Enjoy your trip!
Here from Michele's!

At 2:57 PM , Anonymous Claire said...

Wow, you sound blessed to have such a good friend and I hope the break is fantastic!! My parents are going away in a few weeks for the first time EVER...they've been together since I was 6 so this'll be the first time in 20 years...I'd have loved to see them have an annual trip like you have. THink it would have chilled them out a bit!!

Anyway, have a fab time and eat chocolate too!! Here from Michele's today!

At 5:01 PM , Blogger KaraMia said...

Thanks for the comment on my post! This one cracks me up because you sound like me. I would so totally be doing what your doing and know that the person is probably laughing at my notes. I say go enjoy yourself. My mom was a stay at home mom of five kids and I have NO idea how she stayed sane!! I go to work to get a

At 10:17 PM , Blogger Marisa said...

Chocolate you can have any day. Enjoy your vacation.

And thanks for the comments.

At 6:33 AM , Anonymous Laura at VS said...

Is Jennifer available to come to my house too?
There's nothing like getting away from your family to appreciate them more, especially if you have a teenager! Hope you all have a blast!


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