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Jun
01
2009

Family Bonds

Well I have officially finished my 5.5 week stretch as a single parent. I expected it would totally suck.  I expected to be tired, burned out, short-tempered with my girls, and generally just not loving the time alone.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  My experience was far from what I expected.  It was actually wonderful in many ways.

Sure I was tired, but not overly.  It’s hard not to be tired when you get up at 5:30 or 6 am every morning (thanks K).  Then add in all the days events like, preschool, ballet, 3 meals, 2 snacks, playtime, laundry, yardwork, dishes, taking out the garbage, and the list just seems to go on and on.  But even with all I had to do, we still found a lot of time to just sit and have fun.  I learned that I can be very self sufficient.  The things I thought I needed Dad to do, I am capable of doing on my own.  Although I still prefer him taking out the garbage and killing the spiders.  The point is I can do it.

I also found reserves of patience, compassion, and understanding that I never knew I had.  Sure I still got annoyed once in a while, it’s hard not to when you are around a toddler and a preschooler 24/7.  I learned to show the girls a little more patience with everything because they were dealing with their feelings about Dad being away just like I was.  I understood that once in a while they may just need to vent in their little tantrum way.  Many times we would have little talks about Dad, where he was, and how much we missed him.  I think it helped that the girls new where he was and why.  He had to go to work.  Work just happened to be in California.  There was even one day when I was having a particularly lonely day and I found postcards from Daddy in the mail.  That just sent the tears flying.  Instead of just saying, ‘I’m fine,’ when the kids asked, I told them honestly that I was missing Dad a lot that day and it made me sad.  The girls were wonderful and gave me big hugs and kisses to feel better.

The bond between me and the girls really grew stronger with each day we had together.  I’ve always felt very close to my kids, but it was different this time.  I think it was because we had so many special little moments together just us.  One of my favorites was every morning.  Many nights M slept in my bed with me.  I’d fall asleep hearing her little breaths in the dark.  And at some point in the night I would feel her snuggle against me.  Then in the morning, K (the early riser) would wander out of her room and into mine.  I would wake up at some point of K’s bedroom migration.  Sometimes I’d hear her when she opened her door.  A few times I woke up with her climbing up my side of the bed.  And once I even woke up with her sitting on my chest!  Then she would climb under the sheets and cuddle with me.  I’d have K on one side and M on the other.  It was a Mum snuggle sandwich and it made each day start off right, even if it started before an acceptable hour!

Our bond with Dad changed too.  We never took him for granted before, but this time apart was a good reminder of how much we love him.  He is an important part of our family and we use every moment we get with him to the fullest.  He adds an element to our home that only he can.  He is what makes us the family that we are.  And while we might be able to function just fine while he’s away, we are never complete without him.

I’m so proud of all of us as a family and as individuals.  I’m proud of us for being strong enough to handle a 5 week separation and not totally self-destruct.  We’re stronger than I thought.  While we may not be perfect and we all have our little flaws, we compliment each other in ways only we can.  We are a family.

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Heather

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