How quickly we forget. Nearly six years into this parenting thing, I can hardly remember life without children. We're on a trip with friends, and I'm amazed at all the things I can do without kids in tow.
Starting with packing a hang-up bag. Not my usual lumpy duffle bag full of jeans, sweats and clothes I don't mind getting ketchup on. I hang skirts, blouses and slacks. I'm only going to Pinehurst, but it feels like the Emmys.
I get to wear the jewelry ditched for safety reasons. Earrings that my toddler could yank out. Necklaces that snag his hair when I hug him. Even my favorite wrap that I had to retire after he ran after me, caught one end and nearly choked me to death in my kitchen.
And what a load off to be able to carry a handbag. No giant purse stuffed with diapers, snacks, wipes and bullhorn. Just a tiny little bag with a compact and lip gloss.
Oh! And when we stop at the gas station for a drink? I get to go in! Instead of sitting in the car refereeing a fight over Matchbox cars, only to be tossed a warm Coke, I get to go inside and pick my drink. I go all out – Snapple Green Tea Mango. I'm truly on vacation.
And I love using my right leg again. Not having my toddler wrapped around it, dragging him everywhere I go, allows me to bend that knee. And even wear high heels, since I can put equal weight on my feet.
We meet our friends at the inn. And we all get to sit down. And talk. In complete sentences, for as long we want. Eight people having uninterrupted conversation. Able to listen without one eye on a child, feeding him Goldfish off to the side to keep him quiet. Freedom.
And the ease with which I can order. Not having to pore over a children's menu and extract an answer to “hot dog or grilled cheese” leaves plenty of time to ponder appetizer and entrée selections. And the best part. When the food comes, I don't have to wait for it to cool and then cut it into a million pieces.
I don't have to feed, wash or read to anybody. Which gives me a chance to talk to that guy that's been lurking about. My husband. I call him The Stalker because he's always there, he's always trying to talk to me, and he's always breathing really heavy because he just unloaded the car or put up a swing set or something.
It's really quite decadent. I even walked into the ladies' room and turned around real fast to see how many kids followed me in there. Nobody. Just me.
Walks, talks, shops, naps – it's all mine for the taking. I could get used to this again. But then my cell phone rings. And I hear “Mommy, we miss you.”
And I can't wait to get home again. And take off these heels.