Saturday, January 10, 2015

All the Single Ladies

Yesterday afternoon, my husband left for a business trip. A rather extended one at a rather long distance away. For the next two weeks, he'll be in Tel Aviv. My teenage daughter and I will "hold down the fort."

Originally, I had planned to join him for a few days. We had a sizable credit on United and his hotel is already taken care of. I've never been to Israel and our plans included taking day trips to Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and other historic and religious sites. Unfortunately, the current troubles there gave us pause. We agreed (and were reassured by many ) that Tel Aviv would be quite safe. But, I didn't want to go all the way there and back without seeing other places considered dangerous right now. He'll be headed back again in a few months and hopefully the political climate will have improved by then.

So, here we are without him — just the womenfolk. I wanted to make our first dinner together something special, but my daughter had other ideas. She and some friends went to Panera. Or was it Bertucci's? (The trash in the car — of which there was A LOT — indicated that they may have stopped at both of these fine dining establishments.) Either way, they definitely drove through McDonald's for McFlurries afterwards.

I had some leftover Chinese and read The New Yorker.

Long gone are the days when she and I used to delightedly plan "sleepover parties" while her dad was away on business. Our so-called "parties" weren't terribly exciting. They typically entailed pizza and a favorite DVD (depending on the year, it might have been The Little Mermaid 2, Lady and the Tramp 2, Peter Pan 2 — she had a thing for those Disney sequels). We'd stay up late! Then she would sleep in her father's place in my room. We only did this one night each business trip, because I never got enough sleep. My daughter was a kicker and a roller and a thrasher.

Sleep deprivation aside, I loved those times. 

I miss them.

Now, at seventeen, sleeping with mom has very little allure. Oh, let's face it, it has no allure whatsoever! Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be working and trying to stick to my new year's resolutions (the usual: diet and exercise). My daughter will attend school, go to the stable, and prepare for mid-terms. Pretty much what we would do anyway, whether her dad were here or not. 

It used to be a treat when I let her stay up late. These days, she's awake later than I am more often than not. I go to bed to read about 10 or so (and fall asleep soon after), and she's usually only halfway through her homework by then. Since I get up first, I typically find evidence of her nocturnal activity waiting downstairs. Dirty bowl in the sink with remnants of Ben & Jerry's S'mores. Throw pillows that have been ... well ... thrown about. Textbooks on the dining room table. iPad with significantly less charge left than I remembered.

My daughter likes to have our place to herself once in a while. It's tough because my office is in the house so I'm almost always here when she gets home from school. (Very 21st century. Her mother works beyond full-time, but she's the digital age opposite of a latchkey kid.) So, along with all of my regular activity, plus the household chores my husband usually handles (trash and recycling and dry cleaning and watering plants and checking the chemicals in our ancient, but still wonderful, hot tub), I plan to give her as much space and autonomy as I reasonably can.

Unless, that is, she asks to have a "sleepover party."

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