This morning my house is eerily still, and while I should be celebrating my 24 hours of freedom from my four oldest kids, and I can't shake the uneasy feeling that hangs over me. I've been separated from my kids for short periods of time before--an afternoon here or there. I've even stayed away for a day or two when I was in the hospital giving birth to another baby. But I've never, ever stayed in my own house overnight without my children, since Naomi was born over 8 years ago. And while my conscious, rational being understands they are perfectly fine at Grandma's house overnight, my subconscious keeps screaming over and over, "Oh no! Where are the kids?! Something's wrong! The kids! The kids!" And it's getting really annoying.
Last night, after dropping an extremely excited crew of Naomi, Hannah, Emma, and Toby at Grandma's house for a Cousin Campout in her basement, I drove Elijah home and met Matt, just returning from work. We strapped Elijah into the stroller and went for a walk in the moonlight, a rare treat for us, especially with temps in the upper 60's in late October. This morning Elijah let me sleep in a little, and I had to remind myself not to set out all the kids' juice cups and medications this morning. I felt a little better when I read my mother in law's facebook updates that said Toby had kept her up 'till 11:30pm and Naomi had woken up at 4:30am to read books by flashlight in her tent. Oh yes, Grandma's handling everything just fine...better her than me.
I have big plans to organize the kids' winter wardrobes and get some shopping done today, with only my littlest sidekick beside me, but my mind keeps wandering from the task at hand to my empty house. Whenever it happens that I get a break from the chaos I am reminded afresh that no matter how busy and stressful my life may be, I much prefer the noises of my children playing to the echo of a ticking clock, and I would rather live the same stressful but meaningful day over and over again than the same easy but empty one.
I have no funny sayings to record here today, and no cute pictures to attach to this post, because well, me in my pajamas until 10:00am is neither funny nor cute. So I'll sign off now and do my best to enjoy the unique opportunity that I have for peace and quiet today, but I'm secretly counting down until 6:00 tonight when I can be reunited with the four missing pieces of my life again.