So the Coach has been gone . . . well. . . something like 8 days. Depends on whether you start counting from the first time we took him to the airport or the actual time that he ended up leaving (he was home a few hours in the middle of the night at some point). Anyway. . . it's been a while.
He's been away once before for 9 days. I'm so not going there. It was difficult. Little Man was one. And school was still in. And I'm not going there.
I've been gone for 8 days, once. Last Spring for Daughter's (#2) 6th grade trip (was that really just one year ago?). Really for the most part, the Coach doesn't travel. He's a teacher, forheavenssake. He has to be HERE to do his job.
There have been the occasional ACSI accreditation teams. The football camps (but he takes the boys), the camping trips (but he takes most of the kids). Once we actually left our kids (seven then) for 8 days to go to Boston TOGETHER. That was awesome.
This 16 day thing is so rare it's never happened. Before now.
My original strategy was to stay really busy. Keep the kids occupied. Keep myself occupied. Go hard and sleep hard and hopefully get it over with as quickly as possible.
I won't tell you all that we've done so far. I have the list with things crossed off to prove it. It makes me even more tired just thinking about it.
I hit a wall. The "haven't slept more than a few hours a night for a week straight" wall. The "late night projects and organizing" wall. The "I'm tired of being a single parent and settling every dispute, wiping every bottom, answering every question" wall.
One more week to go.
The good news, I suppose, is that I have successfully survived half of this ordeal. The house is still intact (and actually better for all of the work we've done), the kids are still healthy (praise the Lord for that!) and happy. We've had lots of sweet friends call and check on us, offer to help, invite us to swim.
I've learned some things, too, I suppose. ANYTHING with seven kids and one parent is a lot of work. Even if it's "fun". Kids still expect meals three times a day. Even when their dad is out of town. The Coach and Son (#1) are not the significant contributors to the laundry in this house. I'm just sayin'. Adult conversation is vital to one's existence (I'm just warning you if you decide to call and I actually get to the phone before the answering machine does). And last but not least, it's easier (and more fun) to GO than to STAY.
And now my eyes are crossing and I'm thinking I may actually be able to sleep, tonight. I even got out the "sleep spray" (as we call it) for the kids. Even when I have fallen asleep this week without the Coach, the kids seem to come in a steady stream and keep me from sleeping all night. So maybe tonight everyone will cooperate!
Of course these times make me realize how hard it would be to be a single parent. Or have a spouse overseas. Wait! My spouse IS overseas! No, seriously. Those who parent alone are unbelievable. And if you are raising kids by yourself? I'm so sorry. And I hope you don't have seven!