Alone?! Alone! Resting! Ooh, watching a film?! Painting my nails? Taking a long leisurely bath! LYING IN!
Since she was born almost three years ago, I have spent just a handful of days not in Ava's company. I've had three weekends away since becoming a mummy - but one of those saw Ruby become possibly the youngest ever member of a hen party, as I was still breastfeeding and had to take her with me.
So, really two weekends away in three years, but never ever more than a few hours in my own house without the babies being there. It was a strange but tantalising prospect.
We spent the afternoon packing the girls' things, Ava hugely excited about taking a trip to see Grandma Angela and Grandad Mike. As I waved them off in the car –-and Ava shouted 'BYE MUMMY!!' beaming delightedly and clearly not even slightly perturbed at being separated from me - I had to bear down on the weird butterflies in my stomach, and the loud and fast beating of my heart as I watched them drive away from me.
Inside the house, well, nothing. Silence! I wandered for a minute and looked into the rooms (which were definitely, definitely empty) and then walked back into the hall. As I stood there trying to decide what decadent thing I might do first, I absent-mindedly closed the stair gate.
And that was the start of a weekend in which I realised quite how big that Ava and Ruby shaped hole was. I had a night out, but my eyes still pinged open at 6am; I mentally planned meals before remembering I had no-one to cook for; I put wipes into my handbag before leaving the house.
Did I miss the crap all over the floor? No I did not. Did I miss wiping yogurt off the kitchen window at breakfast time? Nope. Did I miss the twice daily Terrible Tantrum? No, in fact the absence of it was most refreshing. But did I miss Ava and Ru? Oh my - like I would miss my right arm.
So, you will be pleased to know that normal service has resumed. Ava is currently drawing on herself in felt tip pen; Ruby is sitting in the middle of the living room floor which is no longer visible under the entire contents of the toy cupboard (and some clean washing which I folded up and foolishly left within reach on the kitchen table).
But my well-needed rest has equipped me with a little more patience (keep calm, carry on!). Or perhaps, if it is possible, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
More:Is It Just Me?
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