I knew it was too quiet. But it was such a nice change of pace that I didn’t investigate early enough. That was my second mistake. My first? Leaving the foot powder by the front door, in the immediate reach of a particular two-and-a-half-year-old.
When I called down to see what Robbie was up to, he came within my line of vision pretty quickly. But he looked odd. A little ghostlike, actually. I did a double take and then craned my head to see closer to the front door. Everything was covered in a thick, white powder smelling strangely medicated.
Intrigued, I went downstairs. Robbie was grabbing handfuls of powder and rubbing them into our (loaned) entry rug. The powder covered six pairs of shoes, one needlepoint keychain, every hardwood crevice, one entire shelf, and one poor gnome. It. Was. Everywhere.
I asked Robbie to follow me upstairs, and he started to but stopped dead in his tracks. “Hold on!” he exclaimed. We waited a few seconds. Then he ran to one empty spot on the rug and left a last handprint. He said, “There!” and proceeded to come upstairs.
I didn’t realize until, of course, it was too late that he had brought the jar of powder with him. He ran, ecstatic, through the halls, shaking powder as he shrieked with glee. I know I should have been angry. But I couldn’t be. After all, who wouldn’t love to run freely, spraying powder all over the place? Because I bet you’ve never done it.
For longer than I can remember, Justin and I have used the sign for “I love you” whenever we can see but not hear the other. Driving away in a car. Leaving to go through airport security. You know, the really important times that you need for someone to know that you love them. I finally decided to teach Robbie, who has been trying to master our other secret “I love you” sign – winking.
He laughed when I showed him the first time and tried to get his fingers to move in the right way. I figured that was about all I would get. So, you can imagine my surprise when we pulled into the driveway the other day, and I looked back at Robbie. He was looking at his hands and looked up at me with a smile on his face. Then, he showed me his hand and said, “Means ‘love you’, Mom. See?” showing me his hands. And, sure enough, he was doing the sign right.
We went in, and I asked Robbie to show Justin what he had learned. Bless his heart. Robbie tried to make the sign and couldn’t do it. Embarrassed, he burst into tears and threw himself at Justin, crying, “But I love you, Daddy. Can’t do it. QiQi finger broken. QiQi broken. Still love you, Daddy!”
Last weekend, Justin and I were able to get away and be by ourselves for 51 blissful hours. No house. No cats. No Robbie. And it was perfect. It was a little strange, too. What do you do when there are no chores to do? No child to entertain and put to bed?
You go on a bike ride for two hours and see all of historical Nantucket (including – to my pure delight – “The Shoe” where the Gilbreths from Cheaper by the Dozen vacationed). You linger over lunch. You see the movie you’ve been counting down the days for (Hunger Games was fabulous, by the way, even in the tiny, single theatre). You visit a local brewery, ecstatic when your husband brings back the third tasting “sample”, which is actually a full-size beer. You have a late dinner and don’t worry about how much you are going to owe the baby sitter (and enjoy the free desserts you get because your dinner took so long to prepare). You go into shops with breakable things and clothes that you actually want to try on. And, what the hell, you try them on because there’s no one to wail in the dressing room.
It was the perfect weekend, and the first time that Justin and I have been alone for more than a few hours since our anniversary. With everything that’s happened in the past four months, we were in desperate need of some time just for us. Some time to reconnect without work, family, or chores demanding our time. Some time to just be in love with each other.