Free at Last! Free at Last!

The past two days I've experienced freedom...freedom from diaper changes, whiny kids, cutting food into bite-sized pieces at every meal, wiping ketchup faces, giving baths (okay, I am usually free from that if Chris is home), cooking, and breaking up fights. The house has been quiet, clean, and calm. Time has been abundant, as has been sleep. There can only be one explanation for all this...weekend at Grandma's!

Our three lovely children left Thursday morning for a two-day stint with Grandma and Grandpa. In short, they were off to be spoiled and stuffed with candy, while alternating between watching tv and playing at the park all day long. They were blissfully happy, so, being the gracious mother I am, I just had to let them go and choose to be happy for them. I know, I know. I'm always sacrificing for those three.

The majority of the first day, I spent slaving away in my Vacation Bible School room at church, reveling in the fact that I could spend 7 1/2 uninterrupted hours accomplishing something. Funny how I seem to really get things done when 75% of my time is not spent chasing a wandering two-year-old. Nana and I worked our fingers to the bone while only bad-mouthing our vacationing teaching partner one or two times all day. Saints, I know. Hey, it's hard work assembling an entire ranch and enough craft supplies to entertain 15 demanding children for five days in a row. We may not be the most dynamic teachers on the hallway, but we're sure gonna have a cute room and lots of things for the kids to take home (which their parents will then spend all afternoon figuring out how to throw away without the kids noticing).

After all that back-breaking manual labor, I was just plain pooped. I parked my very sore back and tired feet on the couch, looked as pitiful as possible, and let Chris cook us dinner. I was pretty thankful to be able to come home and crash after a long day, as usually I would just get to come home and work some more, making an already long and tiring day almost unbearable. Thanks, Grandma! After a few hours, I suddenly remembered what we did with all our time before we had children. We watched a lot of tv and I read a lot of books. Of course, I was able to remember that so quickly because that is exactly what I did for the rest of the night. It was very surreal, like I had traveled back in time eight years. And, yes, I enjoyed every minute of it.

A damper was put on the whole experience, though, as we had made a very poor choice of Netflix movies for this particular occasion. We watched Everybody's Fine, which, if you haven't seen it, is basically a movie about how a recently widowed dad kinda screwed up when his kids were little and now they're not close to him, lie to him, and generally just don't care to spend time with him, which leaves one lonely, sad old man with a good many regrets. About 3/4 of the way through, Chris and I were wondering if 9:30pm was too late to drive 2 1/2 hours to pick up our kids and immediately start being better parents. There's something about seeing parents of grown-up kids thinking nostalgically of days gone by, when their kids were young and sweet and loved them so much, that makes me want to hug and squeeze and kiss and play with my kids for about 15 hours straight. Of course, once I actually have the opportunity, I lose that resolve in about 15.7 minutes.

So, once we made a pact to be the world's best parents and never squander another opportunity to smother our children with love, we went to sleep. The strange and satisfying thing about this sleep was that it was not interrupted at 6am by someone tugging on my arm saying "Cereal" or by a little monkey climbing on my head. I was actually a little disoriented when I woke up, turned over, and saw 8:30 on my alarm clock. My brain was in overload, thinking "Where am I? Who am I? Am I late for something? Did someone kidnap my children or are they unconscious?" Then the realization hit me that I was child-free and had just enjoyed over eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, and I just smiled and basked in the moment. Once we got our lazy selves up out of bed, we did a lot of time-wasting, followed by a little exercise, neighbor-meeting, and yard work. When my back had had all it could take and my stomach was screaming, "You're pregnant! You can't go this long without eating!", I headed inside to get cleaned up. Then we found ourselves wandering aimlessly, wondering what in the world we were supposed to do next.

Why is it that pretty much everyday of my life I say to myself, "If only I had more time, I could do...." but then, when that time presents itself, that whole long list of things I was going to do with it has vanished out of my head? So, we headed out of the house rather aimlessly, and ended up at Lowe's to get an estimate on how much it will cost to complete our next big home project. After being quite disappointed at the price tag which, at $400+, was about $395 over what we actually have on hand to contribute to it, we moseyed on over and looked at grills, which are also about $395 over what we'd like to spend on one. So, I made myself feel better by buying some pretty new lantana to bring home, sit in my basement, and use as a topic of nagging until Chris plants it for me. I supposed I could plant it myself, but isn't that what a husband is for? To plant and water the flowers so that I can later look at them in satisfaction and think what a lovely homemaker I am for beautifying our home both inside and out?

We had found out that it was National Donut Day, so we had to do our part as patriots of this great nation and head down to the local Krispy Kreme to claim our free, hot, fresh donut. Then it was time for a quick refresher course for me on how to drive a stick shift car, which Chris recently purchased. That went fairly well, considering I didn't kill the engine or run into anything while trying to shift gears, so we celebrated by eating dinner at Taziki's. Yes, we actually got to eat out without taking five potty breaks, wiping 30 dirty fingers, saying "Be quiet and eat" 57 times, or ordering chicken fingers just so we could be economical and share food. It was quite delightful, and we found a new little restaurant that we like and will return to in 2017 when our kids are all out of town at the same time again.

Okay, I haven't even gotten to the eventful day yet and this is going on way too long, so I suppose I'll just have to summarize or risk losing all 7 of my blog-readers for good. On Saturday, we got up earlier and went to Pepper Place Farmer's Market, where we pretended to be well-to-do artsy people who know what to do with all the fresh, organic fruits and vegetables they were selling there. After purchasing our first peaches of the summer and some green tomatoes to fry up for dinner, we headed to Aldridge Gardens. We then continued our little charade as 'over-the-mountainers with our first child on the way' as we strolled through an art festival in the gardens. Since we were exploring how the other half lives, we made our way to Whole Foods, where we walked around and marveled at how much money some people spend on groceries. All this time, I'd thought I was high-fallutin' going to Publix (where I penny-pinch and try to save as much as I spend) while Publix is only high class compared to the Piggly Wiggly, evidently. We ate a yummy lunch at Newk's, where we finally found a family on the other side of town that had more than two children and one dog. Seriously, I had no idea you were supposed to put smocked clothing and monogrammed bibs on your children to go have a sandwich on a Saturday afternoon. So, Geranimals are out?

To end our 48+ hours of fantasy life, we went to the much-talked-about Yogurt Mountain. Let me say that this place is just tricky. First of all, they name the place Yogurt Mountain, so, before you even go in, you are subliminally expecting to consume a mountain of yogurt. Then, you actually go in and are immediatlely faced with a choice. Do I get the giant cup or the enourmous cup to put my mound of frozen dairy in? Hmmm, I guess I'll go giant. Next, you are faced with the task of choosing how many and which of the ridiculously large choice of flavors you will put in your giant cup. Of course, you have to get a sampling, which quickly fills up the bottom of your monstrous container. Being that it's self-serve, you aren't faced with the deterrent of having to shamefully ask another human being to fill up your monstrous cup. That might keep the amount of yogurt down a little. But, no. It's just you and the yogurt machines, so you pull those little handles to your heart's content. The choices have not ended. They have just begun. You must then decide which of the 153 toppings you will put on your frozen yogurt. This can be quite stressful because, while you want a sampling of so many, you still have to be sure that if they all end up mixed up in the bottom of your bowl they won't be a disgusting combination that ruins your whole experience. So, like any pregnant woman, I went for the chocolate. When I finally decide I can't add anymore and still maintain my dignity, we head up to the cashier. This is the really cruel part. You have to set your containers on this scale and then nervously watch the digital display go round and round, wondering what horrible figure it will come up with, since you pay by the ounce. Now, let me say that my and Chris's yogurt was on the scale at the same time since we were paying together, so I'm pretty sure it was all due to his yogurt that our dessert cost about the same as the lunch we'd just had.

Once we paid our enormous amount of money for a dessert I really could have fixed at home, we yanked our bowls off the scale and ran out the door before anyone could see how much we'd gotten. I comforted myself with the fact that I was pretty sure only Chris, the yogurt girl and myself had seen the final weight of our purchase, and surely yogurt girl has seen worse. Surely.

After we made complete pigs of ourselves, it was time for the best part of our two days of freedom. The end. The moment where our lives are made complete again when we retrieve a minivan full of tired, spoiled children who we just couldn't wait another moment to hug. It was smiles and hugs and thanks for Grandma and Grandpa (who I'm sure were very relieved to head home to a house with no munchkins) and smooches and squeezes for the three people who give our lives meaning. And we gladly headed home to endless days of diaper changes, whiny kids, cutting food into bite-sized pieces at every meal, wiping ketchup faces, giving baths, cooking, and breaking up fights. Because what are rare weekends of freedom really for but to remind us that it's all the days in between that are really the special ones.


  1. So sweet Amy. I'm glad ya'll had a great weekend together!

  2. You literally had me laughing out loud more than once while reading this post! I am so glad you guys were able to enjoy a weekend alone before little Samuel arrives. :)


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