am i a bad person? wait, don't answer that. it was a question of the rhetorical sort.
here's the thing: my parents live about 3 and half hours away, and don't get to see our kids all that much, so each summer they graciously (and enthusiastically) volunteer to take our kids to their place for a week, a week in which they spoil them so thoroughly that they require several weeks of treatment at the milinovich detox center following the visit each year. this last week was the week that mom and dad took the boys. all three of them.
which means that shannon and i have had the house to ourselves since sunday afternoon. during our anniversary week.
now, some parents that we have told about this have gasped or stared at us wide-eyed, indicating that they would never be able to be apart from their kids for a whole week. they raise their eyebrows and mentally make a note to call child protective services on us for being the most unsentimental, unattached parents they've ever met.
at least that's how it feels.
and i'd like to say that it's been really hard for me to be away from those yahoos for this week, but that'd be a lie.
on the contrary, it has been a fantastic week. everytime i walked into the living room, i went to pick up the 12 pillows from the couches, as is my routine everytime i walk through the living room, but they were never on the floor. i never found toothpaste spread all over the inside of the sink, or drops of pee on the toilet seat. we didn't go through our regular 3.78 rolls of toilet paper. i wasn't serenaded with the sound of smacking flesh, followed by horrific screaming, tattling, whining, followed by the sound of my own voice distributing time outs. in fact, i barely yelled at all. i never heard a laurie berkner song. oh, and i got to talk to my wife again, about something other than how quin's poop got all over the fake turd the boys use to play with (seriously...that's a whole 'nother story). it was awesome.
i read the newspaper. we played trivial pursuit. we went out 4 of the 5 nights, and the fifth night we ordered in. it wasn't just date night, squeezed in where we could fit it, feeling guilty about the money we are spending while we pay a babysitter at home. nope. it was dateweek, in which we used giftcards that we have been accumulating. we tried new restaurants, went to some old faves, and even got dressed up and went out somewhere nice for our anniversary. i ate lobster bisque, gnocchi, reuben pizza, ordered appetizers and deserts! then, every night - all five nights - we watched a movie. it was unbelievable. we watched lincoln, snow white and the huntsman, couples retreat, life of pi, and iron man. it was like a died and went to parent heaven.
now, don't get me wrong. i'm not ready to ship my children off to boarding school or anything. i miss their hilarity, their laughter, their ridiculous comments, their energy, even the spread of bodily fluids all over our living space. but i was happy to have a little recess from the ruckus. i enjoyed rediscovering my wife, ahem, celebrating our 14 years together, and remembering what peace and quiet sounds like.
am i a bad parent? i don't know the answer to that, but i can tell you this much: i am a refreshed parent. that is a blessing of the strongest sort.