Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Guest Post From Jennifer

Jennifer's boys went away to a farm camp last week. Here's what she had to say about it.

July 13, 2008

We've arrived safely at our hotel. Got a little lost which added 1 hour to the drive, unfortunately. You see, I realized that I forgot my Marriott ID at home. This is needed to get the associate rate, of course. So, I called Angie at the Courtyard and she was able to save my life by faxing an authorization form to the Fairfield Inn. However, while I was on the phone we passed our exit and I didn't realize it. Then, after turning around, I got off the highway at the wrong street. I called the Fairfield and Doug knew exactly where I was when I mentioned a Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Chinatown restaurant! He guided us in. So, now we're going to breakfast, er, dinner at Denny's. Talk to you tomorrow.

July 15, 2008
It's Tuesday night, my second evening without my boys. I think about them constantly. I hope they're enjoying what they're doing and busy enough to not be feeling homesick. Bedtime is hard, I mean for me! I slept with the blankets that they've been sleeping with since they were born.

The dropoff went so smoothly. Although we missed 2 turns on the way there, we had a cushion of time and made it with plenty to spare. We had to wait 5th in a line of cars at the end of the driveway. As one car came up, another was sent down. While we waited we talked about meeting kids from other states, finding a new friend and perhaps becoming penpals. I mentioned that I went all the way to France to meet my friend Odile. We joked about killing the chicken that was going to be dinner. And, I reminded them that they are guests and to be kind and respectful. When it was our turn, we pulled up in front of the house, took out all the bags (3 each), shared kisses, hugs, I love yous, and I was back in the car driving off. No tears from anyone. No last minute cold feet. If they were nervous it really didn't show. Except that Elliott was calling me Mommy. He only does that when he's feeling clingy. I felt good about the whole thing my entire drive home. It wasn't until bedtime that I began to miss them. It's a good thing Paul is driving us there on Friday. I'm afraid I would be speeding the whole way... I can't wait to see them again.

July 18, 2008
Friday, after a 5am stop at Starbucks for morning human fuel, Paul and I were on our way to Ohio to pick up our boys. It’s nearly a 7 hour drive and we planned to stop in a town 20 minutes from the farm to give ourselves a break before proceeding. We made it in record time! Maybe Paul was speeding. I wouldn’t know because I was fully immersed in the book I was reading. So, we rested for about 2 hours and then left to retrieve our Pride, and Joy.

If I may interject for a moment… Most of you know I am not an early riser, hitting snooze 4 times before forcing myself out of bed. However, even after going to bed at 1am, I practically jumped up when the alarm sounded at 4:20.

Paul napped during our 2 hour intermission, but I couldn’t. I read some more despite my burning eyes. Anticipation got the better of me. Once again, we missed 2 turns. The road signs are not prominent. While I wanted to be 15 minutes early, we arrived with less than 10 minutes and took our place as the 9th car in line. Fortunately, pick up moved along at a much quicker pace than drop off. We were soon pulling up in front of the house. Luggage piles were scattered across the lawn, but no kids were in sight save 2. We stepped out of the car and told a young man the names of our children.

The eagerness I felt during the delay in their appearance was like waiting to hold your newborn while he’s being cleaned and weighed. A boy came into view from around the side of the house, not ours. Then another boy, still not ours. Where are they?! Finally my two sons emerged, grinning from ear to ear. Paul and I had expressed to each other a concern that Elliott might actually be mad at us. Our fear was unwarranted after a hug and even more so as he shared tales of his previous days. I let Christian sit in the front seat, partly so that he and Elliott each had a parent to focus on and could more easily take turns talking, but mostly so that I could comfortably behold them both. They had a lot to say and were enthusiastic in their telling. They confessed to feeling homesick, but it had subsided by the third day. I told my boys how proud I was of them for successfully surviving this past week.

Leaving my boys in the care of strangers for 5 whole days and 4 entire nights really helped me realize how much I cherish them. Raising children may be challenging and trying with most of my time spent doing everything for them and little for myself, yet I do not want it any other way. Home was a void, lonely and uncomfortable. Christian and Elliott are my life and when I do things for them, I am automatically doing for me. There is no doubt that their experience on the farm was priceless, but it was invaluable for me as well. Would I send them again? I would. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.


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