Family life

A week without kids

As Anna and Avery spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa, Tracy celebrates the freedom.

By Tracy Chappell
A week without kids

Photo by srqpix via Flickr.

Yesterday, two people came to my house, played with my kids, ate dinner with them, and then drove away with them. In our van. Just like that, our van and our children gone. So why are we smiling?
Luckily (in so many ways), those people were my parents and they’re looking after the girls this week in my quest to cobble together summer childcare before Anna’s camps and Avery’s daycare begin.
Last week, my lovely teenaged neighbour looked after the two of them for two full days. The first day went extremely well while I was at the office. On the second day, however, I was working at home and am sure that influenced their behaviour a wee bit. Not to mention, it was Week 2 of our heat wave and, while the girls got out in the morning, it was just too hot to be outside for long. They were together, inside for a long time, which always leads to trouble here.
But this week, they’re in one of their favourite places in the world: Grandma and Grandpa’s house. They couldn’t wait to go. And they didn't want to talk to me on the phone today. They were probably too busy eating ice cream.
I’m unaccustomed to them being away from me overnight, at least, while I’m here in our house (I’ll sometimes go away for a night or two). The quiet is almost deafening. Sean and I went for a late-night stroll the first night and we both slept in and lazily went about our morning routines. I was only asked a couple of questions all day yesterday, and they were from adults via email. No one has called me mom or asked me to feed them, help them, or wipe their bum.
Am I making this sound melancholy? Banish the thought! I’m thrilled! I’m so excited to have plans to go downtown for dinner tonight with a gift certificate we’ve literally had for years (because going downtown for dinner never seems to happen once we get settled at the end of the day out here in the burbs).
I don’t know what else we’re going to do, but whatever it is, it’s not going to involve rushing or too much thinking. I think it's the absence of that morning hustle and evening shuffle that I'm enjoying most. One thing I’m definitely not going to do is cook. I’m not. I’m not even going to make toast. Last night I had raspberries and pretzels for dinner and was perfectly happy. I have a dishwasher full of clean dishes and I’m not even going to empty it.
Sean was at a work event last night and I thought, “I’m just going to hang out on my porch and read and do nothing.” But I realized I can actually do that any night after the kids go to bed. So instead, my friend and I went to see Magic Mike. Only because we love Steven Soderbergh, obviously. Actually, I kept hearing what a surprisingly good movie it was, but neither of us agreed. Still, nice to be out!
If only I didn’t have work, this could be the most leisurely week of my life — imagine what you could do with three days of no kids or work! Then again, if I didn’t work, my parents would probably tell me to look after my own kids. So I’ll embrace the job that led to the favour that’s treating me to this wonderful, beautiful respite. 
But I think I’ll give the kids a call first. 

Photo by srqpix via Flickr.

This article was originally published on Jul 10, 2012

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