Parenting: There's no place like home for mom and child

News-DemocratJuly 29, 2013 

Apparently I am not ready to be an "empty nester."

It's a darn good thing I don't have to worry about facing that challenge for a few more years because, right now, I'd fail rather spectacularly.

I missed the heck out of my kid while she was on vacation this summer. She was gone for nearly two full months and that was quite long enough for me, thank you very much. I'm thrilled she had a great vacation and got to do a lot of fun things and spend time with her grandma, grandpa, aunt and cousin, but I certainly didn't expect to miss her as much as I did.

In the grand scheme of life, she was gone for a blink of the eye and at first I was looking forward to a taste of the kid-free life again for a couple of weeks. Little did I know I wouldn't much care for kid-free life anymore and I was ready for her to come back home so I could pick up her wayward socks or sigh at her about dirty dishes left piled in the sink. It's the little things you miss most when your kid isn't around to drive you crazy. Everything my husband and I did, everywhere we went, I couldn't help but think she was missing out, and wished she could have been there with us.

We were able to talk on the phone only once the entire time she was gone, and it was a very short, choppy conversation. Phone reception in the mountains is incredibly unreliable at best. But, we texted a lot. I still was able to tell her good night and good morning and she was pretty good about "touching base" at least once every day to let me know what she was doing and sometimes send me cool pictures of the places she was visiting. The kid has a pretty good eye for photography, even with a less-than-ideal cell phone camera.

I know, how crazy is it that I couldn't fully embrace my temporary child-free status and instead missed my kid? But I'm a mom, I'm allowed to be a little bit crazy. It's in my genes. I know there's also a good chance that by the time she is well into the depths of her teenage years, I'm going to want to ship her off for as long as possible and I doubt there will be many takers at that point!

But, I could be wrong on that assumption, too. Who knows? Maybe I'll still miss her when she's 35. Heck, I will probably still miss her when she's 40, assuming, of course, the economy improves by the time she hits the age of majority and she will actually be able to find a decent paying job and move out.

She's home now and I'm going to enjoy the heck out of what little summer we have left. I might not be able to offer mountain hiking, fly-fishing or whitewater rafting, but I'm sure we can find something fun to do in the cornfields of Illinois.

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