When you have more than two kids I've found that the parenting strategy is basically damage control. When it's two it's a legal battle and you are always judging behavior and handing out mandates of equality. When there is only one it's like you're talking to yourself all the time.
I normally keep my kids together. It's the "Three Musketeers" approach- all for one and one for all! They all stay or no one stays; they all go or no one goes. I never knew why I exercised this control other than the fact that they are all still relatively small. Maybe because mentally, it's easier to process a package rather than parts. Either way they are rarely split up.
My younger two got to spend the night with grandma and although I love my oldest daughter I experienced an odd feeling of emptiness. It was painful. I was enjoying my older child's company and adult like exchanges (she's 5 but really 16). It was a relief for her because she could be "free". But it was still odd fixing food for two people and drawing a bath for one kid- that was weird because it felt like I was wasting water.
The whole time both of us relished in our collective loneliness and the silence of our home. The younger two definitely bring the controversy and the fire and the drama. I took my daughter to school in the morning... We were on time because no one fell out in tears because they could not color their boots in another color. We weren't late because no one chose to mix their breakfast together and make a facial. We were early because we didn't have people fighting over the order of who was getting in the car second. It was a smooth and boring morning.
My daughter looked at me and said, "See mom, this was so easy this morning. It's better to be the only one."
I said, "yeh that's true, but wasn't it really boring?".
She says, "yeh it was...". We were both silent as we crunched on the leaves on the stairs leading to her school.
"I miss them" I say.
She says,"yeh, me too".
I kept thinking why do I feel like this? It wasn't that I missed the individuals... I missed the package.
I'm a former teacher and former college athlete, currently working in edtech. My mission is to get parents to partner with their child's teacher.