Home again, home again, jiggity jig. . . .
No, I haven't been to market to buy a fat pig, but I am really glad to be home. I was happy to be able to stay on with my grandmother and help her after my grandfather's death, but there is nothing like waking up in my own bed, even if I wasn't quite sure where I was.
Kyle slept in today, as I knew he would after our long travel day, and Terry cleaned house before we came home, so it gave me a little time to do some blog reading. Amanda is at her other grandmother's house for the rest of the week in a previously scheduled visit.
This morning, I came across Katherine's Minus One Theory. You should read it if you haven't already. It is so true, and I can attest that the theory holds up in this family. My husband has long observed that Kyle is a different child without his sister around. He's calmer. Quieter. Did I say calmer? My husband is not a big fan of chaos, so he likes this calmer, gentler Kyle. But what I also have reminded him is that Amanda was different when she was an "only," too. We've been struggling with her lack of immediate obedience lately, and I'm just coming to realize that she's a little distracted by seeing her younger brother as a playmate now. She's having to learn how to have fun with him and entertain him (which she does well), but also when to turn off the switch.
So, because we are Amanda-less, I know that Kyle will probably squeal less, run less and even cry less. It's a good thing, but it's also a sad thing. He likes squealing and running and although he doesn't like to cry, he does like to play with her and takes the occasional injury or annoyance as a risk worth taking. I guess that this will be a trial run for next week, when she will be back to school full time, and it will be just the two of us, until she comes home late afternoon, and then Dad joins us for dinner. So, yes, Minus One is easier, but easier isn't always better.
The Minus One theory makes me think of the Plus One theory. This one you have to really work to make happen, unlike the Minus One theory, which can just happen, when a friend asks a child over to play for the afternoon, or older children are off at work or school, or husbands are traveling for work.
Me, Plus One husband equals a different me than Mom Me. Wife Me can be relaxed, funny, maybe even more self-centered. Our dates are not as often as they once were, due to a busier schedule all around, but we do try to get out alone together at least every few months. The thing that my husband has always been great at scheduling is the alone trip. We have managed to get away for several days at least once a year, if not twice. These extended retreats have done wonders for us as individuals--taking breaks from our jobs as parents and the other roles we fill--and also as a couple, to stay in touch with each other.
Me, Plus One daughter equals a child knowing that she is "Number One" for the hour or afternoon, anyway. Whether it's just a trip to the mall or even the supermarket on our own, that time with her gives me an insight into what she's really thinking. We also like discovering common interests that the men in the family don't share. Because I had a Saturday morning ministry meeting each week, I usually had to meet the family at Amanda's soccer games. When we ended up with two cars, Terry would take Kyle home, and Amanda and I would drive home, stopping at tag sales along the way. This time has to be seized. This summer, I often took Kyle's naptime as a chance for me to catch up on the things I wanted to do, but when I saw that she needed it, we used that as some good Mother Daughter time to play a game, read or watch a movie together or cook and chat.
Grandma, Plus One grandchild, lets Grandma lavish all that grandmotherly love on one child, and indulge her interests without being distracted by parents and other grandchildren. I had those weeks growing up, and I know that I loved them, and Amanda and her grandma have come to enjoy them as well.
So, the return home Minus One will afford me the extra time to do laundry, and catch up on email and blogs and bills, while Amanda enjoys being the Plus One down in Virginia and Kyle blossoms under Mom Plus One here at home.