someone once told me that when you share time with your small children--and they leave you for a good amount of time (1-2 weeks), it's akin to letting your children go when they are much older, say, to college. It's empty nest syndrome up close and personal, because your little hearts and little faces are suddenly not with you every day, you don't hear their little voices bouncing around the hallway between your bedroom and theirs.
that was the case for me...summer vacation scheduling being what it is, they were gone for 10 days and it was difficult. i filled my days with errands and work and quality time with my significant other, and yet there was a driving, quiet, background anxiety. this was the first time, really, they had been gone that long, so in retrospect, i understand it a little better. little things that are normally swept up in the current of every day normalcy suddenly threw me off orbit, off kilter, and i couldn't understand why. maybe i was trying too hard to be perfect working single mom--i do that a lot--think i can handle everything, and if i don't, there's something wrong with me--and in this case, pretending i was okay without the biggest pieces of my heart away from me. i wasn't. as soon as i laid eyes on their faces and as soon as we were singing johnny appleseed before dinner and as soon as baby sister hollered, 'mommy come!' and as soon as big sister said, 'i *know* mommy,' about something or other, i knew i had been missing them fiercely. and was so glad our lives were back to normal.