I just got back from six days in Orlando at my organization's annual convention. This is a trip I look forward to and dread in equal parts each year. Imagine it: 10,000 teachers, mostly elementary school level, running around hundreds of sessions over the course of three days, across two massive buildings, with me and my colleagues at the center of every detail. We plan it for over a year; in fact, starting Monday we'll be planning 2012's convention. But it's a week of energizing enthusiasm, a time we can look around and feel that the work we do really is important.
This trip is old hat for my husband and family too -- it's my tenth (!) convention trip. In fact, this year, I didn't even cook meals ahead of time. I knew they'd have more fun with McDonalds and frozen pizza and ice cream truck treats and cereal nights.
And I really didn't worry about the children or the husband being here without me. I know Big Daddy is actually better equipped to be a SAHM than I am; he cooks, he cleans, he organizes, he does homework, he does baths and reads books and tucks in bed quickly and efficiently, without the whining-stalling-yelling-bargaining routine. (I did, however, worry a teeny bit about my cats. I feared that with all the excitement of junk food dinners and boy sleepovers, the people in the house might neglect to feed and water the furry ones.)
While I was away,
- The ATM machine ate Daddy's card, leaving him sans cash for a week. This means the junk food-a-thon that had been planned could not take place.
- A three-day low-grade fever was, in fact, an ear infection for Zippy. So Daddy stayed home and cuddled the babe for most of the week.
- Happy lost his first tooth. And his second.
- Big Daddy power-washed and repainted the deck. I have no idea how he managed that while simultaneously single-parenting. (See aforementioned SAHM skills that out-skill mine.)
Meanwhile, I spent five gloriously quiet nights in a Hilton, complete with complimentary breakfast, evening hors d'oeuvres and honor bar as well as a giant heated pool and pristine fitness room. During this time, even though I worked my tail off during the day, I got to eat nice meals that I didn't have to cook, and someone came in every day to make the bed. I read an entire novel! Best of all, the only person I had to bathe and dress and feed was me. There was a time I would have felt guilty about that.
That time has passed.
You know the best part about going away for a week? The gigantic hug and "Oh, I'm so happy you're home" I received from my handsome man when I walked in the door. Before I left, I was pretty sure he'd think the evening-parent shift was easy, thus negating all my bitching and yelling and passing out at 9pm most nights. Evidently not. Whew.