I just got back from a whirlwind vacation in Southern California. We celebrated Hannukah, Christmas and my in-laws' 50th anniversary with a Disneyland vacation and a surprise party. It was non-stop excitement for ten of the twelve days we were there.
We flew in on a Friday and Sunday night was the surprise party. There were about 30 people in my sister-in-law's house waiting to surprise my shocked and underdressed in-laws who thought we were heading over to decorate cookies.
When we first walked in my boys clung to me. They were overwhelmed by the number of people at the party who were strangers. They have always been friendly with new people but only with a daddy by their side. After a few minutes, though, they started to explore the house with their cousins. They went down to the play room and that was the last I saw of them for a while.
I actually got to have adult conversations at a party! It was thrilling.
Even six months ago I don't think I could have done that. I love that my boys are able to socialize and be on their own. I have no idea what their older cousins were teaching them, but I didn't care for most of the night because I was having adult conversations at a party!
We had several other get-togethers while we were in California. We had a big party on Xmas eve and on Xmas Day we had new family members come over with a 4 year old and my boys played with him very nicely too. The "I-must-watch-my-child-every-second-of-the-day" phase seems to be fading away. I'm feeling like there is more time for me to be me again. I'm enjoying watching my kids grow up. I had flashbacks to all the parties my parents hosted or went to when I was a kid and the hours of fun I spent in the basement playing with the neighborhood kids. It's so wonderful to enter this new phase. I've heard that the ages from about 4-10 are called The Golden Years because the kids are still cute, loving, affectionate, not having tons of tantrums and not old enough to want to distance themselves from their parents. I can see how parenting is rewarding.
We are hosting a New Year's Day party for some friends with kids. While I fully expect some tears and fights over toys I also am looking forward to sitting back with my mimosa and talking about adult things instead of spending a party playing with trains and eating with one hand while holding a child in the other.