Last week my in-laws took the kids to the zoo. And I think it’s the longest I’ve been by myself in at least two years, probably more.
It’s a weird feeling.
I spent days looking forward to it and writing down stuff I hoped to accomplish. My to-do list was longer than it had any right to be. I’d written things like ‘clean out closets, upstairs and down,’ ‘make squash compote’ and ‘clean baseboards’ and, most importantly, ‘write column.’
I’m writing this late at night with a glass of wine after my kids have gone to bed. Does that tell you anything about my day off?
The kids were gone by 9 a.m. By 9:01 I was sitting on the couch watching Good Morning America. And that was it. My motivation left. I guess it was all doomed from the start. I think my list was a bit overwhelming and so my brain and body decided to revolt. I did nothing I wrote down for myself to do. It’s like I had spent so much time with other people, years in fact, that the minute I had an expansive amount of time in front of me alone I collapsed. I didn’t want to do chores. I wanted to do nothing. I didn’t want to listen to anyone complain. I didn’t want anyone to ask me to do anything. And I sure as heck didn’t want to make squash compote.
I wanted to be 25 again with nothing weighing on my shoulders but what to cook for dinner.
You know what I did do? I watched the series finale of Boy Meets World and felt uncomfortable with the smooshy dialogue, but still choked up when Mr. Feeny waited until all of the kids left the kids classroom before he told them he loved them.
I watched Gilmore Girls, the one where Lorelai and Rory eat four Thanksgiving dinners and I realized how much I missed that show, and how much I’d still love to live in a quaint New England town and work at an inn and have a diner where I drank copious amounts of coffee every day. I also paused to hope that my daughter and I have the sort of relationship the main characters of that show have, but realized that since I didn’t have her at 16 that probably wouldn’t happen.
I also imagined how miserable I’d be if I had to eat four Thanksgiving dinners and so I didn’t buy it when the characters asked for rolls as a snack at the end of the day.
Then I made myself get up to go run errands, which mainly entailed me wandering around Target without small hands reaching out to pull random items off the shelves or the almost-4-year-old asking for me to buy him everything he sees.
“Can I get that shirt? It’s so cool! What about a toy? What about those shoes? What about that that book? It’s a really cool book, right Mom? Can we buy it because you think I need it?”
And then I went to another store and wandered around. And then I bought myself a late lunch and took it home to eat and as soon as I was finished my kids were home, exhausted and cranky and generally full of malcontent.
There was screaming and hitting and tossing of selves onto the floor from the children and crying from all of us. There was refusal to eat dinner. There was poop in the bathtub.
There was an early bedtime. And then there was a big glass of wine for me.
And all of the things I needed to do are still there waiting for me. But at least I can cross this one off, right?
I think this is a sign that I need more days off.
*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on June 27, 2012.