It's quiet. Too quiet.
My house has been a very different place for the past seventeen days. That's how long it's been since my daughter left for camp. She's up in Vermont participating in an intensive equestrian eventing program for three weeks. Which, through some simple mathematics, means that I will see her again in just about four days.
Not that I'm counting or anything.
Moms like me complain about having too much on our plate. Career, motherhood, housework, trying to squeak in a fitness routine ... you'd think I might enjoy the privacy, the peace and the absence of all the tween drama.
Ha. How wrong you are!
Camp really snuck up on me this year. My daughter and I enjoyed a fabulous weeklong cruise to celebrate her shiksa mitzvah. Then, we had visitors from London. Then she competed in a big regional show. And, suddenly, we were packing and driving and saying good-bye at the new camp. I give myself "props" (that's tweenspeak, short for "proper respect") for not crying all the way home after we dropped her off. This shows great courage or, at the very least, great restraint on my part. The last two years, when she attended a different riding camp, I was not so tear-free.
So, my husband and I have settled into a temporary DINK ("dual income, no kids") routine. He sleeps in. (How does he do that?!?) I get up early, walk for an hour, work, go to a midday yoga or Zumba class, and work the rest of the afternoon. No need to drop everything to help with homework. Or to drive my daughter to a lesson or the mall or a friend's house. It's remarkable how much I get done! Once we call it a day, we go out for drinks, take walks down by the harbor, or catch up on some of our favorite shows via DVR. We've also managed to see several other childless couples for boating, dinner, a museum opening. And, I made a quick trip to New York where I saw two shows in two days.
'Sounds pretty nice, right? Well ...
I can't wait, can't wait, can't wait for this to end!
Over the past couple of weeks, I've managed to write her every single day. Not long letters mind you, just postcards, notes, silly little gifts. She's written us four times. Multiple pages on the first day, which betrayed some homesickness and a little nervousness about the new camp. However, subsequent notes were much shorter. And, that's okay. If I have to choose between long letters or a happy daughter, I'll take the latter. We can gauge her state of mind by the number of exclamation points and capital letters ...
"I've met SOOOOOOOO many awesome girls!!!!!!!!!! They are SOOOOOOOOOO fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
All right, it may not compete with Jane Austen's famous letters to her sister Cassandra as a literary missive, but I'll take it.
When I haven't been working (working, working out or working on trying to have a good time), I've been feathering my empty nest, making plans for my daughter's imminent return. She's coming home to a new iPhone, for example. The vibration mechanism in her old phone had broken and it sounded like, as she put it, a duck farting. The nice young man at the Apple Store's "Genius Bar" is replacing it for free.
There is a brand new pair of Converse sneakers waiting in her room. And, I'm stocking the kitchen with all her favorites: orange soda, cheese puffs, popcorn, Ben & Jerry's S'mores ice cream (formerly known as Marsha Marsha Marshmallow). I also straightened all her drawers and reorganized her closet. I'm a mom; I can't help it. Somewhere, deep down inside, my daughter will appreciate this. Okay, maybe not. Still, it's helping me kill time.
That's really what this is all about. The shows, the drinks, the work ... I'm killing time because my daughter's away and it's killing me. I'm looking forward to our reunion, and according to the brief notes we've received, she is too. But, I don't kid myself. Once we're back in our routine, I don't pretend to think we won't have our ups and downs, our disagreements, a little war now and then.
But, after thirteen years, I'm still crazy in love. And, I'll take the worst day with my daughter over the best day without her.
At this point, I'll see her in three days, 16 hours and 14 minutes.
Not that I'm counting.