Smelly Socks: Hello Paris, bye, bye boys

By Anita Spisak
July 26, 2012 at 2:26 a.m.

City Life


The black tires left marks on my driveway. The backs of my parents' heads slowly became dots as their car became smaller and smaller.

So, I suppose I should explain the picture I just painted. This year for Christmas, my husband, Joe, gave me a red Coach purse (lucky me). However, shortly after opening the gift, I was instructed to look inside. There, I was shocked to find a note inside letting me know that the purse was not my only present.

It included a lifelong dream trip to Paris. (Side note: this was my Christmas, birthday, Mother's Day, anniversary and every holiday you can think of for the rest of the year present). My first thought was Paris - Yes! Then my immediate second thought was, "Ugh, now I have to leave my boys and fly seven hours over a huge ocean with nowhere to land should the plane go down in flames."

But after much debate in my head and with Joe, we decided to go. My parents generously agreed to watch the boys for us while we were gone. They live in Northern Wisconsin and it takes them about six hours to drive south to Chicago. They love the boys so much, they'd pretty much do anything for them and were super excited to be watching them for a longer length of time.

So, on the Saturday before Mother's Day, they drove down and planned on staying two weeks. Our return flight was scheduled to come back to Chicago late on a Thursday evening, and they were going to leave for home that Saturday morning.

While we were in Paris, we would check in daily on the boys and my parents. And every day, the enthusiasm from my parents would slowly wear down. From "oh we're having a wonderful time" at the beginning of our trip to "Wow, two boys really are a handful. We are so looking forward to you guys coming home."

Not only did they have to cook, clean and do laundry for the boys, but they also had to entertain them. Their excitement was slowly giving way to the reality that taking care of two boys, ages 5 and 2, is not easy. They can be exhausting. As much as they wear me down on some days, I can't imagine what my parents felt like.

On the Thursday of our return, after almost about 10 hours of travel time, two airports, countless checks of our passports, and one sort of vacuum-sealed bag of stinky cheese that we carted back with us on the plane (another story), we finally and happily made it home late in the evening.

One of the first things on my mind was "please stay until Saturday, please stay until Saturday." The first thing my mom said as we walked through the front door was, "I'm so glad you all made it home safe." The second thing she said was, "We're leaving tomorrow morning."

What? No, please, I beg her, just wait until Saturday morning, what's one more day? But their minds were set because as much as they love the boys, they love their peace and quiet even more.

So they left on Friday morning, with some tears, hugs and kisses from everyone, knowing that they would see us in a few weeks when we would pay them a visit up north.

In the end, the jetlag wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and I made it through the day just fine, passing out on the couch while watching "The Real Housewives of Somewhere," right after I put Adam and Charlie to bed.

Anita lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two boys and two dogs one of which is a girl. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at



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