22 hours (Day 297)

Tomorrow, I am leaving the state on an airplane and planning on being gone for 22 hours. 

Mike is coming, too. This means our children will be with my mother (and a variety of coaches, religious volunteers and paid employees and theater teachers) for 22 hours. 

This requires 110 hours of preparation and several spreadsheets and lots of time in prayer. 

(Is there a Saint for parents who are going away for less than a day? If so, intercede SAINT WHOMEVER YOU ARE! INTERCEDE!)

Do you know the things that can happen in 22 hours when we are not present? Well, let me tell you:

1. Someone will arrive someplace 45 minutes early and because no one else is there yet (because no one has to be there for 45 minutes), the adult in charge (i.e. my mother) will turn back, assuming the event was mysteriously cancelled, but it was not, obviously. 

The adult in charge will not make use of their cell phone to check if event was mysteriously cancelled. This early arrival and abrupt departure will set in motion a series of events that will include you considering to make a missing persons report, a neighbor knocking on our door to do a welfare check and you being labeled "the crazy overreactor, 'what's the big?' lady," as you scream and panic from your hotel room when you should be poolside! 

2. Someone will have a small medical issue. 

There are several small medical issues that could pop up in 22 hours. Buckle fractures (via diving over the couch onto a solid wood table while your caregiver cheers you on and touts your bravery), cracked fillings (via Gobbstoppers or stale old lady candy), mysterious scratches (via sibling in-fighting that is not stopped) and exhaustion (via staying up all night to "just watch one more show.")

3. There will be mysterious messes. 

You will walk in and wonder, "what's that smell?" and then wonder, "why is there is a trail of sugar leading to the toilet?" and then you'll ponder, "Did I draw with my eyeshadow all over the white couch?" and of course, you will ask yourself, "Well, how did I get here?" And then, you will turn around screaming, "THIS IS NOT MY BEAUTIFUL HOUSE."

But it is. That is your toilet at the end of the sugar trail. All yours. 

4. No one will listen. And everyone will call you and force you to listen to the complaining about no listening. 

Your phone will ring off the hook. (I know, phones don't have hooks anymore, but you get it!). The caregiver will call. The middle child will call. The big child will call. The little one will call. The dog will call. The cat won't call because she went into hiding the moment you left. Hopefully, the police won't call. But ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, because no one listens, ever. 

5. You will miss them so much. 

At some point, you will realize that you cannot ever leave the house or the state or be on an airplane without your large family in tow, because they cannot be left alone and need you desperately, at all times, even when they pretend (aka yell things like, "GET AWAY" or "I HATE YOU SO MUCH" or "YOU ARE MEAN MOMMY.") otherwise. In 22 hours, you will miss them more than you've ever missed anyone, even when you are slamming your cell phone down like it is 1990 in your parent's kitchen on the corded phone when they make you listen about the complaining about non-listening. 

Note: all of this is just as likely to happen if you leave then for 22 minutes.