My mom's recent visit went just about the way I imagined it would, and it was lovely. It felt like vacation with its slow pace, good food, good company, long walks, board games, and frequent laughter. One problem with vacations is the letdown that often follows, and this weekend was no exception. When Mom left Thursday night, she was accompanied by our kids who had made plans to visit their Pennsylvania cousins. Somehow, I hadn't really anticipated the emptiness I would feel--I thought I'd finally gotten used to my kids' coming and going and the quiet house, but for some reason, the sudden absence of both kids at once hit my husband and me hard. It was as if we'd both lost our footing and neither was able to steady the other. Friday was an exasperating day--nothing went right from morning to night. Saturday was stormy outside and in--we muddled through the day, but by evening our tempers were short, and we ended up having a stupid argument that at first appeared to be about other things but once we had cooled off and calmed down, we realized what was underneath it all: we both missed our kids and I missed my mom, and we didn't quite know what to do with ourselves. Then Sunday dawned bright and clear, and we regained our equilibrium. We slept late, watched a bit of Olympic tennis and the end of the women's road race, went to church, and then spent the afternoon cooking and relaxing and reading on the porch. We had a layered Cobb salad for dinner (a dish that none of our kids would have liked but we loved), followed by a peach pie made with the local peaches I got at yesterday's farmers' market. After supper we drove to the lake to watch the sunset. The peace and contentment that were missing Friday and Saturday are back. And although I'll be happy to see our kids when they roll in around midnight, I'm grateful for this long weekend and for what it's taught me: to be thankful for the blessings we've had and for those that remain.