Tell me, when you were growing up, did you and your siblings experience a strange kind of ecstatic joy when your parents would go out and leave all of you at home?
Oh man. We love our parents, but instantly, the minute Mom and Dad would announce that they were going out on a date, or going to a meeting, or doing who-knows-what outside the house and wouldn't be back till much later--we would get really excited.
The very first time my parents left us home alone, it was for 15 minutes or less while they drove up to the main road to put up signs for our upcoming garage sale. I was 11, mature beyond my years, and very responsible. During those 15 minutes, the toddler threw a tantrum and threw a glass bowl full of water on the kitchen floor, which shattered instantly. My younger sister, 9 at the time, was innocently walking across the kitchen during the bowl incident and somehow managed to step right on a piece of broken glass and cut her foot wide open. The kitchen floor instantly filled up with blood (remember the water in the bowl? That water all over the floor mixed with the blood to make it look like someone had been murdered). In a moment, I'd handed the screaming toddler into the care of her big brother, threw a towel for her foot to the sister sitting in the middle of a pool of blood, and grabbed a broom to sweep the glass out of the way so that we could help my poor sister without bleeding to death ourselves along the way. That very second, my parents opened the door.
In the years since then, when they left us home alone, we never faced quite such a medical emergency, but we did execute all manner of glorious plans that would never have been accomplished if our parents had been home. We'd invite our neighbor friends over when we were teens and put the baby sisters to bed for the night, and then play hide and seek in the dark all over our house and yard. We did science experiments like dropping eggs with parachutes off of our 2nd story balcony. We made ourselves grand feasts and had movie marathons. Mom and Dad's only rules (possibly inspired by the first time?) were to call them if anyone was bleeding and that all dishes should be washed and the house should be spotless and all schoolwork should be done by the time they arrived home--oh, and we weren't allowed to leave the house and yard. Mom would often call us to give us a 10 minute warning before their arrival--and let me tell you, when there's 7 of you, there's a whole lot of cleaning and chores you can accomplish in a 10 minute time period. We always had a lot of fun when Mom and Dad were gone, and for that reason, we'd often suggest things like, "Mom, why don't you take Dad on a date?" in order to get them out of the house at regular intervals.
I'm telling you all of this because this week, my parents are gone. They traveled to another part of Malaysia and it's just us kids, home alone. We felt the same sort of evil glee when we heard our parents were going away this time...the wheels in my head were turning over various experiments we could try out in their absence.
Only this time, it's a little different. Because Mom and Dad are gone for 4 days, and Angel and I are the real adults in charge of this crowd of teens and toddlers. And as an adult I do have to be concerned about whether schoolwork and showers are happening (though honestly, my sisters are generally quite self-sufficient)....but as the big sister who revels in the parents' absence, I can assure you that dinners composed of snacks and movie marathons are happening, too.
Also, I'm finding this new role even more awesome, because as an actual adult, my realm of power is more far-reaching. Now we can take the kids to the pool or the park when school is done, no permission needed. We could even go shopping or out to a restaurant when we want to. The world is at our fingertips!