The universe has a way of balancing things out ---- whether you want it to or not.
From the moment a woman sees that blue line on the EPT stick, she tensely awaits childbirth, anticipating and dreading it at the same time. After nine months, a woman would endure anything to have her body back, and (she thinks) a good night's sleep.
I did something this week every parent dreams of.
I vacationed without my children.
It meant flying instead of driving, packing one small bag instead of two large ones, late nights and lazy mornings.
Who wants anything more?
The minute I boarded the plane, I thought how excited my girls would have been if they were beside me. Flying in an airplane is one wish that has outlasted all others for 6-year-old Katie and 5-year-old Nikki. Right now, it ranks up there with getting a kitten that doesn't turn into a cat and becoming mermaid fairies.
The guilt started to kick in. That, I expected. What I didn't expect was the sadness I felt at not being able to share the experience with my girls. They're willing to hike mountains on overcast days for the chance to sit among the clouds.
I could imagine their wonder at seeing little houses, the matrix of roads and the tops of mountains. I could hear their wonder at being served Shirley Temples in little cups and balancing them carefully on the tray, their gasps as the plane picked up speed and lifted off from the runway.
They'd glue their little faces to the windows to see the clouds far below us.
They'd even be thrilled with the airport's moving walkways.
Yeah, I was feeling pretty bad.
Following her demonstration of how to buckle and unbuckle the seatbelts, the flight attendant moved on to "in case of an emergency landing."
OK, feeling less inclined to have my children with me.
But as we rose into the air, even that didn't keep me from wanting them by my side.
Ooooh, there's a water park! Look how big it looks, even from way up here. They would love that.
Instead of having them with me, I spent the flight answering the questions I thought they would ask.
I explained -- in my head to my imaginary children -- why farms were plowed in stripes, why most roads weren't straight. How an airplane flies. (OK, I made up the answer to that. It's a question I'm guaranteed to get, and I'm in no way prepared to answer.)
The rest of the trip was a little less emotional. Sure, they would've been bowled over by the four kittens in residence on the porch, but if me not going home with one meant them missing the experience, I was OK with that.
They would've loved seeing their new baby cousin and swimming in the pool, but nothing made me feel quite as bad about leaving them behind as the flight without them.
I think that's the universe balancing things out again.
I got my vacation and a few days of peace and quiet. The only problem is that there wasn't much I wouldn't have given to have that quiet broken by the little voices of my daughters.
Damn. I've just entered a phase -- it's called parenthood -- of knowing exactly what I want and when I get it, turns out it's not exactly what I wanted to begin with.
It's too quiet.
Get a job.
You're never a home anymore.
Yeah, the thing about us parents is that there's no pleasing us.
I think that balances. It seems there's no pleasing kids either.
Ahhh, the wonders of the universe.