Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Baby come back...I just can't live without you...

Don't you just love songs from the 70s and 80s? Anyway, my beloved has returned from his 17-day job training seminar. That's right- 17 days without coming home. And 17 days of single-parenting. Yikes! My oh-so-smart man hooked up web cams on both our laptops so we could see each other while talking. The kids had a blast with this. It was super effective if Dad had to discuss any "issues" with the know what I mean.

So, just how did I occupy myself during this time? How did I manage to stay within the realm of sanity? Why, I did what any smart mom would do- I took all four kids to Florida for a vacation! No, seriously. We went to visit my sister. Imagine, if you will...four adults (me, sis, mom, dad) and four children together- quite cozily, I might add- in her 1 bed/1 bath apartment. I'm being generous to estimate about 700 sq. feet. Oh, and there was also the two-people-in-here-is-really-stretching-it kitchen. But, honestly? It was fun. And I'm not crossing my fingers when I say that.

First- and most obviously, vacationing with young children is much easier when you don't have to take "gear" along. You know, the Pac-N-Play, the stroller (or in some cases, the double stroller), the diaper bag, the booster seat(s)- all the accessories we can't live without when our littles are in that stage. Please don't think for one minute that I didn't love that stage. In some ways, I really miss it. But you do understand what I'm saying- it's much easier to move about the country without all that stuff.

Second- my sister's condo/apartment has both a pool and a private walkway to the beach. 'Nuff said. Illustration: one afternoon all the children were resting and the adults were discussing plans for the rest of the day. My mom suggested, "Do you think the kids will want to go to the pool when they get up?" Dad snorted and said, "Are they breathing, woman?!"

For a long time I resisted the whole idea of vacationing. I mean, let's be honest- it's never really a vacation for the mom, right? (Yes, I'm whining) We still cook meals, wash dishes, tidy up condo, and bathe children (unless you're of the persuasion that chlorine and salt water count as "bathing"- Faith!). It's really just mobilizing the stress. That used to be my take on it. Now, thanks to a good friend who saw through my whining- hi, Christine!- I realize that family vacations aren't about me and what I do or do not get to do, but about making memories. I know, it sounds like a Hallmark card.

And while we were doing these fun things, one thing was clear- I missed my husband! And the children missed their daddy! He is such a vital part of the Wilkerson family (well, obviously) that there is a gaping vacuum when he is gone. It has nothing to do with whether or not I "run a tight ship" when he is gone, or if things "continue to function as normal." Because they can't. Function as normal, that is. Simply because "normal" for our family is having Dad home and plugged into what we do. I don't ever want it to be like taking a knife out of jello when Rob is gone. You know, the mass just closes up like nothing was ever there. Yes, it is hard when he is away, but it is a good reminder of his important- and beloved- role in our family.

I love you and I'm SO thankful you are home! Now, can I please go grocery shopping alone...

Oh, how I can relate to your thoughts and feelings about your husband. The longest we've been separated was when my husband was teaching in a seminary in Nepal for 3 weeks. I felt as though I'd lost my right arm.

And I went on a "tour" of all of my friend's homes. I couldn't bear to be at home all alone (well, I'm never "alone") for that long.
Thanks for the welcome home gift! You never told me...did you enjoy the grocery shopping alone? I think you must have because you came home without the blackberry merlot! You know how bad I miss you too...too lonely to describe. So thankful you're my other half, as cheesy as it may sound in a comment section of a blog!
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