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The sleepover

May 24, 2010

Saturday morning I drank my coffee alone.

Team Fun

There were no children rippling the calm waters of my morning with the skipping stones of their demands. No one needed help finding Baby Bear, or getting the excruciatingly funky seam of their socks properly adjusted. No one needed an egg fried–urgently–after I had just set up shop at the kitchen table with newspaper and coffee.

For the first time in five years I wasn’t awoken by a battalion of elbows and knees, or someone’s hot breath on my sleepy face begging to nurse.

One word, friends: sleepover.

The little people had their first sleepover ever with their grandparents this weekend. They packed their Winnie the Pooh suitcase with the essentials and waited expectantly like prom dates for their beloved Baba and Nana. They seemed so small and vulnerable strapped into the backseat of my parents rental car, and just a bit askew, like we had mistakenly dressed them in our adult clothes or had accidentally dropped them off on a Greyhound bus next to the guy with the mildewy duffle bag.

My mom finally interrupted my painfully protracted, 10-step goodbye (a hug, a kiss, three more hugs, hand squeezes, wishing them a good night sleep, gazing at them like they’re going off to war and I must memorize their faces and one more kiss) and shooed me off.

“I feel like they’re about to lose their virginity!” I told Dan as they zoomed away, to which he replied “I hope I’m about to lose my virginity.”

Dan and I dressed up (eschewing regulation-issue great-aunt elastic) and rode our bikes downtown–rode our bikes like people without a curfew! And despite a harrowing moment where I tried to dismount while my skirt remained tucked around my bike seat, everything had this subtle romantic airbrushing to it. “It’s like we’re hominids again,” Dan said cheerfully as we walked into a pub arm-in-arm.

We met up with some friends and stood around with our drinks, pretending like it was perfectly normal to be chatting with other adults at 9:30pm, while a DJ spun tunes that could only be described as “loud,” and most likely no one in the packed room was carrying spare diapers.

“I wonder what they’re doing now,” I mused to Dan every fifteen minutes. “Do you think they’re sleeping yet? You don’t think Col will roll off the bed do you? Do you think Rose will be able to sleep?”

It was fun to see friends without the buzz-kill of swiping kids’ dangling boogers or managing complicated preschool relationships. But at the same time I felt shy and awkward, as if caught in the spotlight that I so naturally deflect onto my children while I’m backstage wiping smudges from their faces and stage-whispering their lines: “now, say you’re sorry!” But we dutifully drank our beers, enjoying adult conversation with dear friends, despite (or maybe because of) the topic of our collective brood popping up routinely like Waldo in those Where’s Waldo books.

Dan and I rode home in the thick, invisible dark, the Guinnesses massaging out the tight spots in our muscles and our apprehension about coming home to an empty house.

I had a hard time falling asleep. I wasn’t worried about the kids, but it was more like something was missing, something as vital and ordinary as my own hands. It was extraordinary late for us, possibly from being happily unchained from the shackles under which we ordinarily conduct our sex life – with ears vaguely aimed towards little threats of ambush. Instead, leisurely.

And Saturday morning, I had the tangy pleasure of missing my kids, which is like rhubarb syrup – sweet with a sharp, creeping sourness or possibly the other way around. Dan left before sunrise for a hike and the house was uncannily quiet and still. I did chicken chores without rushing against the clock of leaving children unsupervised inside. I read the paper and drank my coffee and savored the exotic taste of a quiet house.

*The kids did great on their sleepover. They gave a token fuss at teeth-brushing time, more to keep up appearances of being bedtime-scoundrels than any real issue. Col woke up before 6:00 am, crawled in bed with my parents and fell back asleep.  And sure I missed them, but not enough to forego dreaming about backpacking alone with Dan during the next sleepover.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. Melissa permalink
    May 24, 2010 12:04 pm

    Why did this post make me teary? I’m sure the pile of estrogen doesn’t help, but there’s something so sweet about your description of feeling sort of shy and awkward on a night out without your kids . . .I can totally relate.

    Very, very happy for you two, though. And of course they did great on their sleepover! I think it’s harder for us than for them.

    Avi’s nanny just came to pick him up this morning for a two hour park date with her and his share care buddy and you should have seen the reunion (while I was awkwardly standing at the door, barefoot, hugely pregnant and idle). Now I can try to sweet talk this girl outta my belly . . .thanks for your lovely comments, too . . .just trying with all my might to avoid the pitocin drip . . .

  2. May 24, 2010 12:07 pm

    that first sentence grabbed me like a magnet! pre-kids, i would have never guessed that a morning with only coffee for a companion would be a landmark moment. i understand that feeling so well – yearning to be free of those urgent needers for a bit, then wanting them back the minute they’re not there…

  3. May 24, 2010 12:40 pm

    so. beautiful.

  4. May 24, 2010 1:10 pm

    Glad you all survived this big FIRST. Can’t wait to hear about the next one. (Well, what you are able to share on a family blog.)

  5. May 24, 2010 3:22 pm

    It’s always hard for the first 45 minutes and then I can relax a bit. I love the virginity references! :) I’m there with you lady!

  6. May 24, 2010 3:42 pm

    “It’s like we’re hominids again.” I only know Dan through your blog, but I can practically hear him saying that. =>

    And I think I would have had to tuck a spare diaper into my bike basket, just to feel, well, normal.

  7. 6512 and growing permalink*
    May 24, 2010 4:19 pm

    Now I would like to know how did someone find this post by googling “sex hot sex grannies sex.” ????? (and boy were they surprised ending up here!)

  8. May 24, 2010 5:56 pm

    very cool…good for you. I recently escaped my reality for a bit could relate a bit to the rhubarb syrup.

  9. May 24, 2010 7:19 pm

    Oh, man, I think Jeremy and I have a LONG way to go before we can have a night to ourselves, especially since Luna sleeps with us and is still only 9 months! I’m sure when it does happen, it will feel quite foreign to us!

    Wonderful blog!

  10. Emily permalink
    May 24, 2010 11:57 pm

    Jojo said you were talking naughtier than he ever heard you talk the morning the kids were gone ^-^ You must have been one excited lady! I wonder if Col and Rosie wondered if YOU could sleep before they went to bed? How exciting for them to wake up in a new place with new wake-up people. Congratulations on everyones’ success!

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      May 25, 2010 10:20 am

      Laughing at the thought of *them* wondering about *us*!

  11. May 25, 2010 7:49 am

    Good morning. Wanted to stop by and say hi and see the drawing of the grosbeak. A very excellent drawing, I would have recognized it even without the name. That splash of red is a dead giveaway.

    That’s a pretty amazing chicken on the previous post. Have to say she looks like she would be more at home on a tour bus with Mötley Crüe than in some farmer’s chicken house.

  12. May 25, 2010 9:06 am

    So, you go ahead and write US the sweetest thank you on your last post and follow it up with THIS amazing post. Oh good lord, you were just inside my brain… how did you get there? How did you know exactly what I think when my kiddos are on a sleepover at grandmamas?? So glad you and hubby could share a childfree night and so glad you took the time to write about it.

  13. May 25, 2010 11:32 am

    Sleepovers are the best! I love dating my husband.

  14. May 25, 2010 11:59 am

    Wonderful! Love the rhubarb syrup line…

  15. May 25, 2010 12:21 pm

    Damn woman you paint a picture with your words. I love reading about every little truffle morsel of your life. You are amazing and your family is an inspiration to me. Please do not torment me with offers of roadkill and dandelion salad! I want that!

  16. abozza permalink
    May 25, 2010 7:20 pm

    I can’t even imagine a sleepover! Next October, we’re going away for a weekend for our anniversary, so technically, it’s like a sleepover! However, like you…I know that we’ll be happy in the night, and missing the kids in the morning!

  17. Steph permalink
    May 25, 2010 8:02 pm

    Congrats! Glad it went well! Thanks for inspiring me- I can’t wait until it’s my turn! Of course, knowing me, I’d probably spend my night off cleaning the house or something, and then enjoying the evening/morning with a clean house for a change!

  18. May 26, 2010 7:33 am

    Such a simple, every day milestone but you turned it into an amazing, beautiful story. So glad everyone survived – you included! Beautifully written.

  19. May 26, 2010 7:50 am

    Anxiety. Freedom. Lovin’ on each other. Meet the new day with them back in your arms. Bliss. Glad you and yours had some. :)

  20. May 26, 2010 8:07 am

    Looks like we both had a nice quiet morning this past weekend, and I can so relate with what you said about protracted goodbyes and wondering about what your kids are doing at the same moment. But oh how I envy you that your kids can have a sleepover at their grandparents’. My Guy’s parents are moving out of state in a couple of months and they’re our only family in the area.

    Also, I giggled at Dan’s virginity remark. Totally what My Guy would’ve said.

  21. May 26, 2010 8:08 am

    Oh, I love this! Similar thematically to my post yesterday – being stuck between wanting a break from your kids and not wanting a break from them. Such a beautifully written (and so funny!) story. I used to read your blog regularly but haven’t been back in awhile. Glad you stopped by ETD to remind me!

  22. May 26, 2010 8:19 am

    That’s so much fun for them, and so nice for you. I wish we had grandparents near by to have the kids over. But this is a good reminder to do a sleepover in the future. And that picture of them with their slings and stuffies is just too cute! You should send it to Mothering!

  23. Dan permalink*
    May 26, 2010 9:44 am

    love you, 2 special, Dan

  24. May 27, 2010 11:50 am

    BLISS. this sounds like a dream come true. thank you for sharing the intimate details so those of us working up to this feat have something to look forward to!! :)

  25. Kerry permalink
    May 27, 2010 12:11 pm

    Wow. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and really identify with so much of your writing. You have such a talent for putting into words the complicated, and often conflicting, feelings us parents experience as our wee ones move through these life stages. I’m elated to hear about your wonderful sleep-over experience and look forward to sipping my coffee and mulling over our local paper without interruption…someday. Keep it coming. I really love your posts!

  26. June 11, 2010 10:11 pm

    yay!! we just had a similar thing over here. but it wasn’t our first time. it was our third, or fourth. i’ve lost track now. and let me tell you, it is so easy now. i get right into gear song my own thing. and i think about them almost the whole time, and it feels so sweet to be busy by myself, and just feel the love.

    you are funny. i love it so much.

  27. June 11, 2010 10:11 pm

    not song. i meant doing.


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