Seems that should be a con, not a pro, right? But you know the old saying—absence makes the heart grow fonder. It’s true. Since school snatched my elder daughter away from me, I’m giddy to spend time with her whenever I get the chance. That’s especially helpful right about now.
Because it’s hunting season.
Maybe you’ve heard me gripe before. This time of year, my mighty man heads to the woods and I’m left behind on solo parent duty. However, this isn’t a post about slashing my husband’s tires. It’s a story about growing up—as a mom.
I can measure motherhood in hunting seasons.
Five years ago, on opening bow weekend, I stood at the living room window and waved to my husband’s truck with tears welling in my eyes. While he climbed trees and relished pink sunrises, I scrubbed bottles and rocked a fussy baby. Hours crept. Conversations were one-sided. I was lonely, frazzled, and desperate for a nap.
When little sister blessed our world, I juggled baby food jars and preschool crafts. My then three-year-old missed her Dad almost as much as I did—so we added emotional meltdowns to the physical demands of mommy overtime.
Oh, how I longed for that truck to pull back into the driveway on Sunday afternoons.
And yet. Fast forward to now. My baby is a chatterbox two-and-a-half-year-old. She feeds herself and begs to watch Little Einsteins while I take a shower. For my kindergartener, free time at home is a new luxury, so she colors happily with crayons and reads stories to her sister at nap time. Together my girls dream up games like pony rodeo and doll hospital—and they bless me by inviting me in.
It’s a paradigm shift, see. I’m no longer producing the entertainment. I’m watching the show.
Remember the day-in, day-out drudgery of caring for little ones? Maybe you’re in it right now. Wise women tell us it changes, gets easier—and I’m catching a glimpse. Monday through Friday, my day flies according to schedule. Pack the lunch, drive to school, toddler time, nap time (=me time!), carpool line, dinner, dishes, bath, bedtime prayers, crash and start all over again. By the weekend, we’re ready to let down our ponytails.
Saturday isn’t overtime anymore. It’s a party. We don’t have to go anywhere! We get to play and munch popcorn and wear slippers all day!
Poor Dad. He’s missing all the fun.
“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!” (Psalm 127:3–5a, NLT).
I’ve always known my children are a gift. But on hunting weekends, that gift looked less like a box of diamond earrings and more like the treadmill I never asked for. Insulting and challenging at first, but over time it whipped me into shape. I realize now that while my daughters were busy growing up, so was I—into a better version of myself, thanks to them.
What a fantastic gift.
Of course I still miss my husband when he’s gone, but no longer because I’m miserable. I miss him because I’m not. And I wish he could be here to see it.
Happy hunting season, my love. We’ll text you a picture of our princess popcorn party—just as soon as we’ve finished painting our nails sparkly purple. Oh, yeah.
If this post encouraged you, please pass it on. You might also like Birthday Musings From a Sappy Mom, Don’t Lie to Me, Taste of Candy Land, When You Don’t Feel Like Doing Your Job, and Confessions of a Hunter’s Wife.
* * * * * * * *Linking up with: The Better Mom, Playdates With God, Mommy Moments, Living Well Wednesdays, Grace at Home, Things I Can't Say, and Faithfully Parenting Fridays.