Today begins an 11-day stretch of solo parenting. Craig is off to work for Team Canada at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship in Syracuse. Yes, I know, he's an American, but you take work where you can get it, and it's not a bad idea to work for the gold medal favorite if you can pull it off! He knows a lot of guys on Team Canada anyway, so patriotism aside, he'd probably be silently cheering for them regardless.
I've gone through the 10+ days alone thing before, when it was just me and Jacob. Jacob was three and Craig went to Prague. Of course I was super jealous, but I tried to be a good wife and make the best of it. And while it wasn't easy, it had its good points--lots of me time in the evenings, a chance to bond with Jacob, less pressure to cook decent meals, etc. Last year Craig wanted to go to Denver to work the outdoor lacrosse championships, and I ended up losing my cool a bit and basically guilted him into not going. I just could not deal with him being gone for that long and me staying home with two crazy kids. For whatever reason, the mere thought of it destroyed me.
I'm still not particularly excited about all of this, but either I'm in a much better mental state in general, or I've fallen into a state of apathy and have resigned myself to simply surviving. The boys are going to drive me nuts, I have no doubt. Bedtimes and the morning rush are going to be frustrating and exhausting. I will be playing referee, negotiating homework and screen time, and dragging begrudging children to do things they don't want to do. I'll be dealing with two Daddy-obsessed boys who won't have Daddy to call on for everything. I'm already trying to convince myself to go to bed at 10pm each night so I can wake up earlier more easily and because I also keep my cool a little better if I'm not so tired. I was falling asleep at 9:30 last night and I have been yawning all day today. This does not bode well for tonight.
Syracuse isn't that far away, and in an emergency Craig could be here in 90 minutes, but he will be gone for the vast majority of the time. He will be back for one day next week, and we might go to one game near the end, but it's definitely going to be a challenging time. I'm definitely going to have to pray for patience and be as regimented as I can. Bedtimes have to happen on time and I will need to keep everyone on task in the morning. Outings have to be as quick and foolproof as possible. However, I'd like to find an activity to keep us occupied on weekend days so we're not just sitting around the house getting on each others' nerves. I have a couple options, but it's mostly just working up the energy and courage to give anything a shot. We can't even go to the grocery store without the boys driving each other nuts and getting into trouble, but I keep hoping that if they're more engaged in something fun, it might be better. Wishful thinking?
Our house definitely won't be the same for a while. We'll all miss Craig a lot, for various reasons, but I'm hoping this is my chance to bond with my boys and remind them that I can be a fun parent, too. I keep reminding myself that Craig got through five days alone with them, and he can't even cook, so I should be able to manage okay for twice that amount of time. Of course, I let all the little things distract me--the fact that my house desperately needs to be cleaned, the growing stack of dishes in the sink, the fact that the boys eat hardly any veggies--so it's no wonder stuff like this ends up stressing me out. But we'll manage. We have to. Hopefully the boys will understand the importance of being a good team, and while Daddy's going for the gold, we'll score a few victories ourselves.