I know people who lament their babies growing up.
I am not one of those people. My life is so much easier now that my kids are adults and I am unashamed to admit it.
I actually took a holiday recently, a solid week that wasn’t work. It’s been 20 years since I did that and it took me about 10 seconds to decide that I like it. And it would have been far harder to do if it weren’t for the fact that I was leaving young adults behind instead of ankle-biters.
Sarah moved in to watch the cats. She is old enough to live in my home, and responsible enough for me to think about my cats exactly zero times during my entire trip. Except for the absence of cat hair on my clothing, I forgot about them. One of my now grown up babies made that possible.
Pammy supplied airport rides. She was on time, and the rides both ways were seamless. I flipped her the itinerary a few weeks in advance — weeks — and didn’t really have to remind her. It is not lost on me that so far, my examples have been about young people who I didn’t actually give birth to. But still.
I used to have to sort out car schedules before I went away. I used to fill the fridge, find everybody’s health cards, leave a list of emergency numbers pinned up and remind them not to spend the money on the counter all on beer. I used to hide extra house keys so when they texted me about being locked out, I could direct them to a new key. I did none of those things this time.
In previous years, they knew my travel schedule was tight, heading to places often out of reach. It could be hard to contact me but I would still stress about finding ways to touch base and put out fires like some kind of remote emotional fire truck.
This time, I lugged along a laptop I never turned on and had a phone that sat uncharged for days at a time. I took a holiday and my kids barely noticed.
I hate shopping but felt I should bring something back. I’ve heard that’s a thing people do, and I recall my own mother taking empty suitcases with her so she could return laden with trinkets from England and, of course, chocolate.
I’m the queen of carry-on so, instead, I spent all my time driving incredible Italian roads and eating my weight in cheese. I kept thinking I should buy the boys something but in the end, I brought earrings for the girls because they were easier to carry and I knew my sons — those adults — wouldn’t care.
There are four excellent bottles of wine in the suitcase which reminded me once more of our new dynamic.
They’re old enough to want to share, and smart enough to appreciate it.