Friday, May 17, 2013

While the Cat's Away...

As of Memorial Day weekend, I'm going to be a solo parent.

No, don't worry. There's no divorce pending, but there is going to be a separation of the job-enforced variety. I promised my husband I'd be fine with it...and I am, sorta, kinda.

Did I mention it's for the whole summer?

On its face the analysis makes sense. Of course, my kids would want to spend their summer in Portland with friends and family. The idea of hanging out by ourselves in a muggy, suburban, beltway town isn't exactly appealing.

My husband will be working long hours. The kids won't have any friends yet. And still, I'm tempted to end this sentence with a pouty, frowny face. But I'll refrain...barely.

I know that military wives do this on a regular basis. Single moms too. I'm impressed, inspired and amazed by their ability to raise and provide for their families on their own. Even so, I don't want to join their ranks.

Here's the good news. At least it'll be summer.

There won't be homework to wrangle or bedtimes to enforce. In fact, aside from my kids' summer swim team, we won't have much of a schedule at all. We'll be footless and fancy-free without even the reminder of "daddy's coming home from work soon," to whip us into shape.

It's possible there will be successive days where we skip all regular meals in favor of fresh-picked fruit from Sauvie Island.

 Have I mentioned before my kids think it's the Biggest Treat Ever to skip meals? They're weirdos! I know!! They get it from me, the weirdo part that is, not the skipping meals.

One of my summer schemes, concocted as an antidote to cheer two sad little daddy-missing faces, is parent for a day. Saturdays or Sundays, one kid will get to make all the important decisions.

"You can't expect me to decide everything all summer long. I'll get decision fatigue," I told them, which, unaccountably, cheered them up.

"Can we do the grocery shopping on our parent day?" my daughter asked.

"How about if I give you cash and you buy whatever you can afford?" I said. "I'll wait at the front of the store and read a book."

They both LOVE this plan. In addition to our strawberry-filled days, it's possible succulent treats like Cocoa Krispies and Lucky Charms will be on our menu (and by ours, I mean theirs).

It's only until mid-August.

Everyone says the key is to keep busy and we're excellent at occupying our time. As I write this, there's a made-up game of, Piggies Fly, taking place in the basement.

The important thing, I keep reminding myself, is how my husband is little-boy excited about his new job. I get to feel that way whenever I start a new book. It's intoxicating, delightful and I don't want to deny him the chance to feel the same way.

In the end, his smile when he talks about what he'll be doing, is the factor that makes all the moving, packing and alone time worthwhile.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You're wise to stay in Portland during the summer. Humidity out here is awful during the summer. You would all melt.
Your husband will be VERY excited to see you in August though.

jaybird said...

I would be very pouty. You are taking this like a champ, and turning it into a fun thing for your kids. I have to commend you on that Johanna!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Since it's just me, I'd be so bored without my husband. It would be fun for a day or two, but then I would miss him.

Alex is right - you don't want to be on the East coast during the summer months. August's heat will smack you when you get here.

ilima said...

I'd be dreading it too, but I think you're going to do great!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Well best of luck to you on the adventures you will be having with the kid this summer.

Johanna Garth said...

Alex, that was another part of the analysis.

Jaybird, I'm not sure how much of a champ I am about it, but I'm trying to be glass half full.

Diane, we're all going to miss him a lot!

Thanks Ilima and Michael!

Carol Kilgore said...

I had to back up and find details of your move. And your daughter's arm!

Think of this as long-term travel. And be prepared your kids (or one of them) may not want to move back to Portland in 18 months. Cause, you know, the kids have all re-grouped :)

Weaver said...

Yes. Keep yourselves busy. And thank heavens for things like Skype!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I like the idea of parent for a day! Mine might to a better job than I do.

Too bad about the hub's work...but maybe it will lead to some awesome mom/kid memories.

Chuck said...

I can't help but laugh at the line "footless and fancy-free" I certainly hope you will be footloose instead! Ha!!

Have fun on the left coast.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Blech, my husband has to leave for weeks at a time sometimes for work, but never a whole summer. It stinks. But it sounds like you have fun plans! :) And I will say, it always seems to go really fast. Just like always, summer will be over before you know it. ;)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I'm glad that your children will have this summer in Portland before the big move. It's a shame that you have to be without your husband for all that time. (Does this mean you have to pack the house up by yourself?)

I guess it's the writer in me that sees MG story possibilities in a last summer with friends before a move across the country -- maybe something slightly magical and memorable and uplifting.

Not my usual genre, of course. So, it's up for grabs to anyone who feels inspired, lol.

Unknown said...

Brave soul. With fewer rules to enforce, it should be doable and may end up being the best summer ever.

Mark Koopmans said...

I, too, love the idea of Parent for a Day and I told my wife that once the kids get older, her and I will try that one - and if it works - the kids can have a go, too ;)

GOOD LUCK to Hubby on his new job and it sounds like you're going to do just fine.

PS... You should look into going on a roadtrip to a kid-favorite place - that would be fun... or perhaps a quick vacation somewhere unique :)