The last time I left my Associates and went on a weekend management retreat with the CEO, one of them caught a stomach bug and my in-laws spent 4 days cleaning up after a barfy, poopie little kid. If they weren’t already Angels on Earth for raising my husband, that most definitely earned them their wings in my book.
You would think an experience like that would be the last time someone offers to take your children. But no. Grandparents are a glutton for pain and love our little ones so much they are willing to risk the occasional bodily fluid mishap. They also love us enough to know WE needed the break from the wee-ones, and they want their grandchildren to grow up in a happy home where mommy and daddy are happy and no one is on the brink of nervous breakdown.
We did call in some backup and have a reliable friend and frequent babysitter come spend one night with the kids, so granny and granddad only had to really gamble on one night… What I failed to really think through was that the one night was the Fourth of July.
Before kids, the Fourth of July is an amazing holiday where you enjoy family, friends, food and copious amounts of loud and often unsafe fireworks. AFTER KIDS, you may get to enjoy family, friends and food but the extravaganza of explosives is no longer a source of joy for you. You will spend the entire day trying to tucker your kids out so they can sleep through the insane amount of noise that your neighbors (still awesome and kidless) will explode all evening long. You won’t really get to relax that evening, in a constant heightened state of awareness waiting for a child to wake scared out of their mind that suddenly the cozy world they know has been turned into a war zone.
I was so in need of a weekend getaway, and my planning focused on getting ready for the wedding the CEO was in, that the fact it was also The Fourth of July escaped my mind almost entirely. ALMOST. As in I realized this crucial detail a few days before and lost sleep for two nights debating if we should just take the kids with us rather than worry they will freak out and keep Granny up until wee hours of the morning, when all the teenagers next door to her finally run out of things to blow up.
I’m happy to report the Associates did great. They went to bed fine at Granny’s house (a first!) and while maybe they slept a little restlessly, no one had PTSD from the barrage of explosions launched that evening.
Meanwhile, I was an hour and a half away on a crowded beach and enjoying the explosives in all their glory. The CEO and I had a great day, enjoying spending time together . We had lunch at a white table cloth place and didn’t rush. We drove through the Daytona race traffic blaring “Happy” and car dancing like the awkward non-race fans we are. We chilled on the beach and had been drinking at a nice pace all afternoon. The perfect evening with great friends, food and music almost had me convinced I was 24, awesome and kidless again. In fact, we were laying on a blanket looking up at the explosive display and he had to convince me it would be incredibly ridiculous if we started making out like a pair of star-crossed teenagers. “We are in our thirties for pete’s sake!” I don’t think he said ‘gross’, but as I type, that is what comes to mind. No one wants to see that. Gross.
So we got up and joined the group again, filled our cups and then suddenly it happened. I saw an exhausted little man stumbling about the beach, bouncing between family and friends looking for someone who would hold him and reassure him he was safe, sound and could pass out in peace. And guess whose ovaries jolted her with 200kw of estrogen. Guess whose guilty conscious said “Your mother in law is rocking your scared, exhausted boys right now, and you are here acting like the spoiled little Royals that annoying song brags about. For shame!” I was instantly compelled to pick him up and offer “I can hold you little buddy. Go ahead and fall asleep on me.”
I handed my solo cup to the CEO, who is looking at me in shock at the Jekyll-Hyde transformation he just witnessed. He walks away and leaves me there to breathe in the sweaty little man who passed completely out in my arms as I swayed back and forth kissing his little head. For a few moments my ovaries and conscious were relieved. This is what I am meant to do. It is who I am. I am a woman who craves little cuddles. And apparently if I do not have my own little around to cuddle, I will find someone else’s to. I loved it. It felt so good to hold him and know I could support him so he could relax completely.
But after a few minutes… I don’t know how long because time was blurred due to the alcohol and the hormone surge… but he started to get really, really heavy. This wasn’t a little 2 or 3 year old I’m used to dead-lifting. This kid was 5 or 6 and BIG. My mind races. “Holy cow, he is heavy. I think I’m sinking into the sand. Oh God, I can’t hold him. We are going to fall over. I’m going to drop him. Who are his parents again? Why have the conveniently disappeared as I stand here rocking their kid to sleep. HELP!”
His father was close by and I think began to realize his child was no longer safe and was in real danger, so he scooped him up and carried him off to bed. Or a near by blanket on the beach. Not sure. Because as soon as that little man was out of my arms, Mr. Hyde was back. The jolt was instant and I physically shook the creepy-over-attentive-mommy off and brushed her to the sand and stepped on her.
The rest of the night is, as they say, history. I don’t want to brag, but we stayed up past 11pm. The next morning we were legitimately hungover and slept in until 7:45am!!! That hasn’t happened in a long, long while.
I hope that little man slept soundly too. He sure was sweet. And I hope I’m the only girl to ever love him and leave him like that. He deserves someone who will cuddle all night long 😉