His shoes lay strewn near the front door. ACDC riffs belt out from the amp in the front room. My head throbs. Peace reigned for five days. Five long, lazy days. Now that peace is shattered. The boy is back. But - prepare yourself for the shock - I didn't miss him!
The school parents' Facebook chat page buzzed while they were away at their Year 5 residential. I started a thread asking if any other parents had received their postcard. We were asked to pack a stamped addressed card. I had but some other parents didn't, making them feel totally rejected! One mum forgot and felt awful. It was on this thread that it appeared I was the only parent who didn't miss their little bundle of joy! Other mums described tears at bedtime the night before. Tears when they were pulling away on the coach. And this was boys, actually, not girls. I jokingly said I was certainly going to win the Worst Parent Award for this half-term. One mum replied that I'd raised an independent boy rather than a clingy girl. Another mum said her boy had never been away from home for this long before. One quipped that by 7pm on the first day, she would've driven to pick her up. Whilst blogging this, a friend texted to ask if I was glad my boy was back. All of this was said non-judgmentally of course, and my comments here should be read as such too. I did explain that Ben is used to taking week long holidays with his grandparents from age 0. When driving away, he wouldn't give us a second look. We'd get the obligatory wave and that would be it. I remember taking another child camping when they were 5. His mum cried when she spoke to him on my mobile. Working in school is all well and good for childcare, but rubbish when you consider I don't get any time off without Ben!
I would like to add that I've been ill this week with a tooth/sinus infection. I wouldn't have been able to get the right amount of rest had I needed to get up at 3pm to go and fetch Ben. We also had a bit of a feisty weekend before he left and I told him, not jokingly, that I was glad he was going away for a week. He agreed, not jokingly.
When we picked him up today, a few of us mums nervously admitted we hadn't missed our children one bit! One couple had been abroad on a mini holiday and had a ball! I suddenly realised that those of us who didn't miss our kids and felt no guilt, were mums of onlies! I think that had the "missing their kids" parents had the silence and tranquillity that we've had, they'd feel the same. They probably do enjoy the time for different reasons - sibling dynamics change tremendously and they may get to spend precious time with a younger or older child.
But not having the daily dialogues around getting ready for school, coming down to eat, the decision of what to cook for the family, not having to share the TV time, not waiting until bedtime to watch Game of Thrones - this week has been bliss. And that's with my sinus infection!? When's the Year 6 trip?!