When I tell people that the boys are at sleep away camp for four weeks this summer their response (in the form of a question, Alec) is inevitably the same:

Wow.  Do you miss them?

And this year my answer is invariably the same:

No.  I don’t.  At all.

It is the God’s honest truth and an emotion (or lack thereof) that I have somewhat wrestled with over the last month.  I don’t think about them every hour upon hour.  I don’t long to fill the giant hole they left when they happily departed at the end of July.  I am not counting the days until the prodigal sons return home to me.

On the contrary, I am basking in my freedom.  I work as long as I need to without the guilt that someone needs something.  I come and go as I please without worrying what takes place in the house while I am away.  I eat where I want, when I want.  I am managing only myself, and to a lesser extent Dave and dog, both who need a little managing or they might make a mess of things.  But overall, my daily horizon which is usually cluttered with parental responsibilities has been spectacularly clear and I have shamelessly enjoyed the view.  Which leads me to ask the question for the ages:

What kind of Jewish mother am I???

You may be able to fake emotions on the outside.  But feelings on the inside never lie.  So I have been wondering whether the fact that I don’t miss my kids after four weeks of separation translates into the unthinkable —  that I don’t love them.

Before I started down the I-should-never-have-become-a parent rabbit hole, I tried to come up with things that I did actually miss about my boys.

The endless bickering?
The daily need to be entertained?
The constant noise and the endless mess?
The beautiful melodies of Modern Warfare floating down from the playroom?
The Nerf darts which permeate every room in our house?

No. Nope. Nah. Nope. No.

Is it possible that I don’t miss my children because they are at the stage of their lives where they really don’t contribute a whole heck of alot to the mother-child relationship?

Roger that.

It’s much easier to miss your kids when they radiate love and appreciation instead of surliness and smart ass comments.  When they will stop and snuggle up to you because they need you that much, instead of whizzing by you so fast they create wind.  When the decisions you make for them matter more than the decisions they make for themselves.

And then it became clear that the last year has largely been a one-way love affair with my sons, which is as it should be at their age.  But I also realized that I needed a break from that.  Which is how it should be at my age.

I have no doubt that when we pick them up on Sunday, I will rush from the van to hug them and smell their heads.  I will keep my eyes upon them as we drive home and relish in hearing their voices.  And as their bodies and souls fill the house that was so peaceful these last few weeks with their unique rhythms and cacophonies, I won’t doubt for a minute that all is right in the world.  Because we do belong together.  And as much as I enjoyed this time to myself, I knew it wasn’t forever – which is probably why it felt so good.  But  it will feel equally as good to have my family back again.

And feelings never lie.

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