They come and they go, you know. They seem to come a lot more than they go, but when they go, it's awfully noticeable.
I could probably pretty easily nominate myself for an international award for Most Complaints About Children Placed, and I am fairly confident that I would win. I don't generally make it a big secret that kids can be, stated indelicately: a pain in the rear. It probably feels like something more of a secret, especially to my kids, that I actually love them fiercely, and in spite of the Vociferous Protests and Strong Objections, I have put the time and energy into them that they have needed to stay alive and know better than to cuss out a teacher or spray paint a church wall. Which is why it is concerning to me when one of them does something like that. Not that any of them actually would... But much more apparent than their delinquent behavior or the scream for attention that is what teenage angst is really about, is the lack of presence when they are not here. This has been clear in a very tangible way this year, with Halle in Bend, and our family quickly reduced to a 3 child consortium that feels imbalanced. We still haven't quite figured out how to cover all of the household chores with only three kids, especially when two of them are perpetually at practices for whatever athletic undertaking has swept them along in it's undertow. Any given night, we are reduced to a family of four, at best, and all of the flack I have heard for years about Aspen being spoiled and not doing enough chores has been answered nightly as she is our only remaining captive slave and ends up with the short end of the chores stick a lot lately. She can't wait to be old enough for sports, so that Josh and I will have to ro-sham-bo for who does dishes and who mops the floors.
It is this absence that I hold responsible for the momentary lapse in judgement that led to ringworm infested kitties who poop in the corner of the house behind the pile of wood that I think was supposed to be our new floors someday, but nobody can quite remember. It is also this empty nest syndrome that is perhaps responsible for the fact that we have signed up to take on an exchange student for the next school year. We have been assigned a young (15?) Vietnamese girl named Uyen, and I can't wait to meet her. Already she emails and calls and is perhaps foolishly eager to come here and play American for a little while. I think having another daughter will be good for us. To give us someone else to take care of and worry about. It's so easy to get caught up in our own pettiness. But to experience life through a whole new set of eyes should be interesting. And you can never have too many teenage girls under one roof, right??? Glutton for punishment. I also blame this lack of children underfoot for the total void of productivity this weekend, as I sleep until 11 am and then spend the rest of the day thinking of reasons to not fold laundry. Or mop floors. Or even get dressed. Since it was obviously the kids' fault that I never got anything done when they were little, why should it changed now?
But seriously, in all fairness, I haven't been completely useless, moping around the house in my pajamas and feeling sorry for myself. I have listed junk on eBay and designed my next tattoo and even washed the crock pot. Since I don't have money to go GET my next tattoo today, or a pedicure, both of which feel like compelling needs, I will probably read a book that my brother gave me for Christmas and keeps waiting for me to finish so we can compare notes. And then maybe I will fold all of those clean clothes that are stacked sadly in the laundry room, wondering if they will collect enough dust to be washed again before they are ever folded or worn. Then I could burn through the rest of House Of Cards, which would embitter me against humans for another week. To make up for that, I would have to watch some episodes of Arrow, to remember who the good guys are, and then eat a pan of brownies and then go to bed and have really weird dreams about Stephen Amell killing Kevin Spacey to save me... Sounds like a winning plan.