Jax, Elle and Little Hart have been living the life of 50/50 custody for most of their life. All three of them will tell you they just don't remember anything different and well isn't normal what we know? As with any life style there are the usual plus and minuses. The kids have loved celebrating two of everything; holidays, birthdays, summer vacations. One of the downsides for the kids has been something of a head scratcher to me; them staying with their other family when we were on vacation. For me, it's always been one of the great things about our situation. The kids are at their other home, their bed, routine...... Safe and sound! Sounds like a great thing for all of us. Well, not so fast.
When the kids were younger their friends got to stay with their Grandparents when their parents went on vacation, A.K.A. spoiled rotten for an entire week. Under our scenario, we were having fun and they were in their same old routine. We constantly got the "Why can't we stay at Grandma's?", um, well you other family wants to spend some extra time with you! Kids" "they'll be fine without us!" Eventually, we started building in a couple of days to stay with Grandma and Grandpa. Luckily this was never an source of contention with the other families. I have to say that I always respected and appreciated Greta for making this situation an easy one for Jax and Little Hart. After all her kids would be staying with my parents. In the beginning, Jax stayed with them a couple of times, but over time it ended up just being the girls. And spoiled they were!
So now here we are thirteen years later, Jax is almost 18 and will be living on his own in three short months. Elle is not far behind him and she doesn't have another house to stay at and my parents live just up the street. So Elle started lobbying when she heard about St. George, to stay at home so she could sleep in her own bed, routine..... Little Hart followed suit, and then Jax.
I have always been open to the idea, since my parents started leaving me home alone when they went out of town in High School and I loved it! Raylan and I talked about it. We had never done this with the older kids, mostly because we didn't have a level of trust with them to even consider it. So we came up with some ground rules they all agreed to follow.
To make things easy we bought a mountain of frozen dinners. And to make things extra easy, I bought a ton of paper plates, napkins and plastic silverware. I arranged them on the kitchen counter for easy access. One of the things that I joked about was putting the garbage can under the sink right next to the counter. All three of them tend to "forget" to throw away wrappers, empty soda cans, bottle of water, etc. When I said that , I of course was met with "I know, throw it away!" And as always I wanted to say, I know you know so JUST DO IT!
Three whole days, they were on their "own." I say that because Grandma and Grandpa were a mere 30 seconds away so I felt comforted that they were there for back up. The kids were very good about checking in and taking care of everything they were asked do. When we arrived home, the house didn't look to bad. I had forgotten to put the garbage can in plain site and surprise a number of things were on our other garbage site the Kitchen counter. This happens when were home as well, but Raylan goes around every night before bed cleaning it all up. So I guess they thought miraculously it would happen with Raylan gone! We knew that ahead of time and expected it when we walked in, so no heartburn here!
We had told the kids that this was a trail run. It was a privilege not a right to get this opportunity. How this went would determine if there were any future opportunities. And all three of them rose to the challenge. I'm really proud of all three of them for being such great kids!