The two-year-old and four-year-old left Sunday. They will return Monday. These times are important to me. Their relationships with my family are important to me. They are important to them as well. They love their trips to Iowa.
They have spent the last two days at "cousins camp" as my mom and step-dad hosted their five grandchildren for fun and memory making. Today that included a trip to the zoo.
I have slept a little later...had slow mornings (not because it took that long to get ready but just because I could)...eaten out with my husband (we do this so rarely that I've declared our kitchen a no-cook zone for the week!)...worked long hours (although I've felt the pressure of the clock each day as it inched toward 5:30 - my usual daycare pickup time - only to realize daycare could close without my arrival).
I have also: gazed into their rooms...noticed the quiet...left the toys in the living room right where the children left them...hesitated to rinse out the last sippy cup left in the refrigerator even though its contents will be beyond hope long before Monday...missed them. I have felt a little lost.
And I will be grateful for their return. And then next summer, they will spend their week in Iowa again because no matter how I long for them, this time is important.