Last week we said goodbye to our kids for the next seven weeks. They will have freedom, independence and fun at sleepaway camp. Excitedly, they wait all year to go. They LOVE sleepaway camp.
Their father (my husband of 15 years) and I will be home without them.
I am miserable. And I feel like a horrible wife.
I don't usually feel this way. But that day, I was riding a tidal wave of bitchy. And I wasn't even PMS-ing.
Having our kids away should feel like a vacation from parenting.
It should feel like a honeymoon.
It should be a time of pure marital debauchery.
But instead, I was sad and longing for my kids (who, during the school year, I often wish would go to camp for MANY MANY days!)
I feel completely boring, uptight, naysaying and unappealing.
I should be nicer to my husband.
We dropped the kids off at the bus and then went our separate ways with a plan to meet back at home for lunch, etcetera. ("etcetera" being sex during the day when there are no kids to care for/disrupt the oh-so-sexy middle age sexy mood.)
I got home. My husband was there. We ate lunch. Salad. Yum. And though we had full bellies, my husband said, "Let's go hang at the pool."
I said, "OK."
I meant, "Ugh."
I wanted to rot in my bed instead.
We went to the pool.
And all my husband kept doing was asking me to engage with him.
"Come in the pool baby."
"I can't... My hair will be ruined by the chlorine."
"We will go to dinner later. We'll eat and have fun!"
"Ugh, I am going to feel fat. I don't want to go. Why do you make me go out?"
"Come in the pool."
"No. Still no."
I shuffle to the edge of the pool and put my feet in reluctantly...
"You don't have to get your hair wet. Come in, be with me."
"No. I don't feel like it."
No kids around.
A hot husband who wants to be with me.
I am a horrible wife.
I'm a horrible wife because when there's opportunity to behave like the carefree girlfriend, I'm searching the camp's website for pictures of my kids, or as I see it, "proof of life."
I am a horrible wife because, in my mind, while I'm dreading that kind of intimacy, other wives are on their knees panting when their husbands walk in the door.
Don't get me wrong, I can and do pant for my husband.
But after 16.5 years of being together, two kids, two dogs, one dead mother, one mortgage, job shifts and god knows what else... panting takes work.
Add to that my missing our children -- I feel and behave like I'm emotionally empty.
I am a horrible wife because my husband, their father, is also missing them... and he shouldn't have to suffer through having a cold and unavailable wife.
I'm a horrible wife because I'd rather eat frozen yogurt for dinner alone or with other moms than sit at a table and engage with my devoted and interested husband...
I don't prefer being with my friends because i like them more than I like him. I prefer being with my friends because my husband IS my babies' daddy and alone time with him makes me miss them even more.
The ties that bind us together in a beautiful sense also wreak havoc on our emotions when those ties are away at camp.
I'll get over myself, no doubt. I do every year.
My mood will shift.
I will make sure my lady bits stay groomed and my legs remain hair-free.
Our staring at each other will turn into laughing together.
I will (happily) put my head on my pillow next to my husband's or on his affectionately termed "local pillow" (our made-up hang out spot).
Bursts of passion have already happened, and will continue to happen while our kids are away, just like they happen when they are home.
I will forget (for a bit) my "Debbie downer" mental state and just giggle with my once-boyfriend without worrying that he's going to break up with me... because he's now my husband!
And I will once again (wrongfully) blame him for all of my discomfort.
My husband and I will reconnect like we do every summer and our kids will come home to in love and in-sync parents.
Still, the first hours after they leave, I am all mixed up. And my husband gets the brunt of it.
I will be better because he deserves better.
And I love him.
Follow Jenny Koppelman Hutt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JennyHutt