So, we made it. I got through 44 hours-ish, just me & the kids. (Which doesn’t sound as impressive now as it felt when I was doing it.) My worries were pretty much for nothing. We had a really nice time and the boys were great — helpful, cooperative and patient with the inherent slowness that comes from having one parent do the work of two. We ate a lot of pizza and leftover spaghetti, read stories in my bed (which is something I think we ought to do more often) and B missed a day of school. Success!
Of course, I didn’t “do” everything. It was only two days, so I let a lot of things slide. Bailey went to the dog-sitter so I wouldn’t have to take him out 4 times per day (no yard here) or worry about what to do if he needed to go out after the boys were sleeping. Because it was only two days, I didn’t have to do a big grocery shopping trip, run any errands, keep any appointments, or even take out the trash or recycling. Really, I had it pretty easy . . . but I’m still grateful that it went well.
In fact, I think the two days before the trip were more stressful than the actual time that Dan was away – that’s when I was worrying about what COULD go wrong. As it turns out, I had only one truly legitimate worry while Dan was away — making sure to not get hurt.
It occurred to me before the trip, and came to mind again and again while Dan was gone — I had to make absolutely sure I took good care of myself, since I was the only one home with the kids. Playing outside on the terrace, when the floor got very slippery, I took great care not to slip. Hurrying to take a shower as quickly as possible, I had to remind myself not to be TOO quick, because I didn’t want to risk falling. Preparing our meals, I was extra careful and cautious to not burn or cut myself. Any of those things, on a normal day, would be bad, but while Dan was gone, it would have been awful. At the least, it could have meant having to drag both kids to the emergency room to tend to an injury of mine, at worst it could have meant being incapacitated, leaving the kids without care or supervision and/or having to take care of me in some way. Not to be overly dramatic, but any of that really could have been horrible.
Needless to say, none of that happened. But that was the big, consistent worry in my mind, and the only real stress I had to handle. And, in that way, Dan being out of town while we’re here, in Austria, so far away from so many family and friends, is vastly different than him being out of town when we were at home in the States. At home, I probably would have had my mom staying with me, or at least stopping by regularly. As it was, she (and Dan) checked in on me regularly by text and email . . . but what would anyone have *done* if I had gone a long time without responding? At home, my family and friends were only a phone call and a short drive away. At home, even if I’d been stuck and posted a desperate “help!” message on Facebook, someone I know would have been able to come to my rescue. Here, I really am much more on my own, which did give the two days without Dan more of a “wilderness survival show” feel than I expected.
Regardless, we made it. In fact, we had fun. I really enjoyed putting aside my to-do list and just focusing on the boys. I proved to be perfectly capable of taking care of everything (everything important, at least) for almost 48 hours on my own. (But I think next time I may ask some neighbors to check in on us or at least put some of my Vienna friends on speed dial before Dan goes. I think it would be more fun if it *didn’t* feel like an episode of a survival show.)