Thursday, June 19, 2014

One Week Off

Elena went to sleep away camp this week at Camp Holiday Trails.  It's a pretty big deal for our family.

I pick her up tomorrow.  I hope she had a good time.  But this post isn't about that.

I'm sure all parents that send a child away to camp, or to school, or to a friend/family's house for a stretch of time miss them.  They feel the void that remains.  I know I do.

What is worse, though, is that the void is compounded by ease.  It's so much easier to go anywhere--do anything--with just Vivian.  I feel incredibly guilty about it.

In the last two weeks (Elena had school, and then went to camp) I taught Vivian how to ride a bike without training wheels.  I taught her how to swim.  She now folds towels and shirts and laundry without asking.  She helps make lunch and helps clean up.  She called a friend to play.  We stayed up late and caught lightning bugs outside.

It warms my heart and makes me numb at the same time.  This small list of things will take Elena a long time to accomplish.  How does that make her feel?  I can't hold back Vivian for her (and never planned to).  In general, Elena is very encouraging.  But it has to sting.

Vivian and I have had a great time, and I can tell she misses Elena too because she has stuck so closely to me.  Viv broke down a few nights ago, wailing uncontrollably because she missed her sister.  She put it beautifully when she sobbed "my head feels like my heart is in two pieces".

Me too.  


Anonymous said...

Don't feel guilty because it is easier with just Viv. If Viv left for a week, you would find that easier, too. ;) The degree of easiness would differ, yes, but as a parent, I often find one child at a time easier than two. It's similar to how much easier it is to eat dinner at a restaurant during date night than with the whole fam. Kids are a lot of work (totally worth it, of course)! But you shouldn't feel guilty for recognizing that universal truth.

GingerB said...

Be careful with beating yourself up, dear (said by someone who went off the deep end). You are doing right to acknowledge your feelings, though, because burying them gets you nowhere. I agree that one child is almost always easier, and extra needs and assistance are incredibly fatiguing. Being human and subject to the normal limits of time, space, and energy in no way diminishes your mothering. It is not wrong to acknowledge that any and all parenting is hard and some kids/days are harder than others but no less loving and motherish. XO

Just the Tip said...

Both of my girls have medical issues and it is super easier to not have to get P's wheelchair out and all that stuff. However, it is infinitely easier regardless when it's just 1 of them. Almost boring lol. So I think parents feel like that even if they have a completely ideal situation.
I cannot picture myself every having more than 2 (well I can't physically anyway) but it is just too challenging for me!

Anonymous said...

Going to sleep away camp is big. Congrats Elena! I have CP but sometimes I work with kids who have autism. I love them but I am happy to get a break from them too since they are very high maintenance. I think these are normal feelings. Viv's comment warmed my heart. So sweet!