1. I just got back home from dropping my kids off with their dad. They'll be away for the next two weeks, and while they're away, I have two trips planned and lots of work to do. I tend to keep myself overly busy when they're away. I say sometimes that I'm trying to cram as much of my to-do list in as possible during those quiet times, but part of me knows that I'm also filling up the space of "without them."
2. Right now, tonight, I'm sitting firmly in that space. They are getting older now, and as time passes, I'm realizing that in the not-too-distant future, I'll have many more of these "without them" spaces to fill.
3. Parenting is the most bittersweet business I know of. I miss them already in ways that catch me off guard...pressing my nose into their hair, waking up in a tangle of little arms and legs, rocking them to sleep. Later I'll miss rushing to practices and ball games, fussing over interim reports and whose turn it is to sit in the front seat of the car, constant heaps of laundry and shoes and athletic gear piled at the door. These "without them" times help me remember to treasure all the "with them" moments I get when they're back home. And I'm grateful for that.