I remember how odd it was to hear Isabelle say, “It’s just the original family,” as she, Marc, and I sat around the dinner table back in April when Ari spent a few days at my parents’ house. I never thought of the three of us as “the original family,” but seeing as she was nearly six years old when Ari was born, I suppose she considers us the original three. And as strange as it was to have an empty place at the table for a few nights, it didn’t feel foreign to me. I, too, remembered a time when it was just three of us.
This past week, Isabelle traveled to Bubbe and Zayde’s house for her solo trip. While she’s spent time with at her grandparents’ house before, I’m pretty sure Isabelle hasn’t stayed there alone since the summer of 2015. So, as odd as it is to have her away for a few days, it doesn’t feel foreign to me either.
What did feel foreign to me was having Ari home with just me and Marc. I vaguely recall Isabelle spending a few days with my inlaws when Ari was a baby, but I was so sleep deprived that I don’t remember if it was in the summer of 2017 or 2018! This time, I’m well-rested enough to be present. While Isabelle was away, we’ve done some things together she wouldn’t have enjoyed. Three examples were:
- We took an after-dinner walk in the neighborhood. (Typically, Isabelle is too tired to take a walk at night.)
- We had a movie night. (Isabelle prefers short TV shows as opposed to movies.)
- We enjoyed a picnic and playing in the park. (Isabelle detests bugs.)
While Isabelle had the chance to be the center of her grandparents’ universe for a few days, Ari had the opportunity to be the center of his parents’ world for a few days. I know he misses Isabelle since he insists on calling her every night so he can do a virtual tuck-in. (He has this thing about saying “good night” to Isabelle. If he misses saying good night to her because he’s out watering the garden or riding his bike, he tiptoes into her room to give her a kiss on the cheek before he takes a shower.) And while I know he will be thrilled to have his partner in crime back, I think he’s enjoyed our undivided attention.