Last weekend, CJ went to a conference in Illinois. She left Thursday evening, and returned late afternoon on Sunday. Since this would be the longest period of time that CJ had been away from the girls in recent memory, and the first time that I would be spending nearly the entire weekend with them by myself, my in-laws took pity on me.
They came Friday morning and picked up Lucy so she could spend most of the day with them. That meant Katherine and I would have most of Friday as just father and daughter. Our morning was spent working on the balloon project. We went out to lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, and then the afternoon was spent playing one of our favorite games. That evening the two of us drove out to meet the grandparents and Lucy for dinner, and then we traded girls – Lucy would come home with me and Katherine would spend the night.
On Saturday, Lucy and I headed out to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum – one of our favorite stops, and one that we had not visited in a while. As soon as I suggested it, Lucy immediately asked to play with the cars on the track (they have a slot-car track where you build your own slot car out of an electric motor and several K’Nex pieces, and then race them). We spent a good half an hour with the slot cars, and then hit a half dozen other things in the museum. All told, we spent nearly three hours there. We walked back and stopped to have lunch at a restaurant on Michigan Ave, and as luck would have it, they were having a St. Patrick’s day parade down the street. We had a front-row, and more importantly, WARM seat for the show. At noon, the restaurant was invaded by many people dressed up for St. Patrick’s day, including several that would look right at home at a renaissance festival. In fact, one lady who was dressed as a queen actually curtsied to Lucy as we were walking out, and greeted her with a simple “Poppet”. Lucy didn’t really know how to respond to that; I just laughed.
After lunch and some quiet time at home, we headed out to the grandparents house to spend some more time with them, and to have dinner. That afternoon, I tried to get the girls interested in making a “Welcome home Mom!” sign, but they declined. They opted to make paper-plate faces and horses with rainbow flatulence. What can I say? These ARE my daughters, after all.
Sunday morning was spent pretty much in our routine – a few PBS Kids cartoons, church, then home for lunch. We relaxed in the afternoon, and eagerly anticipated Mom’s arrival, which was heralded with a 110 decibel scream of excitement.
On Monday, both girls went to school, and CJ and I spent most of the day together. We can easily count on one hand the number of times when the two of us can go out somewhere without any kids in tow, so this was a real treat for us. We didn’t really do anything terribly extravagant – a morning appointment with our financial advisor, lunch at a nice steakhouse, and then a quiet afternoon together – it was just nice to be able to interact with my wife. It reminded me fondly of our college days where we would hang out together for hours, and even the act of simply studying near each other was nice.
So, why am I relaying all of this? Because the thought occurred to me mid-week that what I got was an incredible blessing. I got a weekend with all of my girls. More precisely, I got a weekend where I could spend large amounts of time with EACH of my girls. We could do whatever sounded fun, and didn’t feel any real pressure to be anywhere.
And it was awesome.