I think I've mentioned that the girls were in Baltimore this week on a youth group mission trip. And I, meanwhile, have been enjoying the heck out of my weeklong visit to the empty nest!
During a previous mission trip, I asked another of the youth parents if she and her husband were enjoying their kid-free status for a week, and she said oh, no, that they really missed them. I don't recall what I said, but I thought "Really?" Because, confession time: I don't miss mine terribly when they're away for a week. About the time I start to miss them, they come home...
But it occurred to me just today that this woman's kids are a bit older than mine - her youngest is the age of my oldest. So her oldest drives, and presumably both will happily stay home alone if need be. So they probably don't restrict her activities much.
I'm not there yet. Rapunzel will stay home alone, but The Nerd will not stay home with Rapunzel for more than about 2 hours tops, and alone, not at all. Nor is Rapunzel driving solo yet. So it occurs to me that I enjoy their absence more because I'm able to do things I can't when they're around (happy hour anyone??? And yes, it was awesome), whereas the other mom probably feels more able to do those things all the time, because her kids are that bit older and thus more independent.
I realize that day is not long off for me - Rapunzel could be driving solo by October (though it will probably be next spring), at which point, she could do some of the taxi-service duty I do now (like, picking up The Nerd and going to riding if I need to work later). And The Nerd is moving toward more willingness to stay home by herself or with Rapunzel - a year ago, she wouldn't have stayed home with Rapunzel for 5 minutes - me going to walk the dog was a major crisis. And she's talking about aging out of summer camp (except riding camp) after this summer, which she knows means staying home while I go to work next summer.
So, I've enjoyed the temporary empty nest, and look forward to having some of the perks of that without having to send them out of town for a week. And it's all training for 2 years from now, when Rapunzel goes to college (ACK!)