So, the end of our time in the Midwest fast approaches... I finished my classes today, and tonight will be my last night at my in-laws's house until Christmas. I love spending time with them and being here, and am also very ready to go home to Will... the girls are ready too, I think. These trips are important, though, and here's how we survive through 3+ weeks without Dad.
1. Helping Hands
As I type this post, my MIL is pushing Grace in her little tykes care, complete with noises and peeled clementines. (They're going to the "drive-in" to watch Sesame Street!) Laura is napping, and I was able to teach two classes today without once wondering how she is doing. This was the biggest reason we went home for so long - Will's Trauma schedule makes him less helpful than say, his ER schedule, and since October is a conflict-free month, we headed home for extra help and lots of loving arms.
2. Adjusting nap times
The girls still cannot sleep in the same room together well, even with the dueling sound machines. So, adjustments abound. But the bonus adjustment is ME getting a nap time occasionally (or, at least, sleeping in!!!!!!!!!!), and that alone is worth coming home for these days.
This is probably my sanity savor. If I know Will is off, I can call him to show him the madness/ cuteness. Yesterday, we chatted after my AP class and before his night shift. It was just in time to walk into the nursery where Grace and my MIL were dancing to the Wheels on the Bus. It was the cutest thing, and Will was able to see Grace dance! On the weekend, I called him while we were out to dinner with my family, and he got to see Grace walk outside while we waited for our meals. Watching her lift her right leg higher and have an improved gait was such a treat. When we left, she was walking/crawling about 55:45. Now, she's walking 95 percent of the time.
Same with Laura - she is moving and grooving, pulling herself up and babbling. She turned 8 months yesterday and is the joy of my soul. Who else laughs so hard at my funny faces? Who else smiles when she sees me? And FaceTime allows Laura to have a similar contact with Will - she recognizes her Dad and tries to grab the iPad, as if to grab onto him.
Then, of course, we have FaceTime dates where he studies and I do school work. Long distance dates are such a need to me, and I'm so grateful for this technology! There is something about seeing someone's face when you're talking to them that is much more personal-feeling.
Even though we are around more people (= more help), our schedule is still very, very different, and I need to remind myself that when I'm still stressed out, everything is okay. When I miss phone calls or am disorganized or am still behind on grading, it's okay. I'm keeping my workload at manageable, the girls are happy and it's good to spend time with family and friends.
5. Talk About (and to) Dad
We bring up Dad in conversation every day. Grace likes seeing pictures of Dad (and says "Dada!"), and we take pictures to text him. Grace likes cell phone pictures (and will take 6 zillion of herself if left alone with the iPad!), and when he sends the girls a message, I can give them another connection to their far-away father.
Now, do the girls really know what's going on? Do they understand passage of time and that we're going to be in the car for another 12 or so hours on Sunday? Probably not. But they know who their dad is, and that's a good connection to have.
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