My days are child-free. For six hours a day, every weekday, for the first time since I had children, I am at home alone, regularly.
It’s … odd. And quiet.
I’m able to work uninterrupted, forming complete thoughts without the incessant tone of whatever ridiculous television program the kids are watching. I actually can generate an entire sentence without stopping to play another game of Candyland or another game of “where did my daughter run off to, now?”
My house stays clean for longer than 15 minutes and I can keep up with dirty dishes.
I don’t find random half-eaten snacks under the couch or rotten cups of milk. I don’t spend all of my days explaining that sure, fighting is completely normal, but let’s try not to draw blood, OK?
I work. I have made some time to sew. I make jewelry to sell. I knit. I work some more. I perform household chores. I wait for the kids to get off the bus. I drink my coffee. I clean the house. I work even more.
I’m incredibly, wonderfully lucky to have the opportunities I have. I can work and contribute and learn and grow and use my mad word skills.
But it’s quiet. I can form complete sentences without interruption. I’m not playing Candyland or refereeing or pitching the baseball endlessly to the two batters who never let me hit. I’m not riding bikes in the driveway or looking at fossils with a magnifying glass.
And I miss all of it.
I’m not working to the endless background noises of annoying kid shows. I’m not cleaning up food or one more drink spill in the living room, even though drinks aren’t actually allowed there.
It’s so, so quiet. Peaceful, yes. But also a bit too peaceful. I’m a bit too alone and goodness I do love to be alone.
I know I will need to become used to this, just like everything else. It’s a new situation, one I haven’t experienced before. I am a homebody, most definitely. And yet I also need to make sure I interact with people, adults, at least sporadically.
In a way I feel like being here, being alone, is somehow not natural. I am not supposed to have this much time to myself, because, for the past seven years I haven’t. Since I became Mama, almost every thought, every day, every hour has been spent on my kids.
OK, maybe that’s not entirely accurate and a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s still partly true. This is the first time in a long time I’ve been able to be at home alone for this amount of time. I need to learn how to be me, without them.
It’s pretty cool, yes. But, oh, do I miss my babies. My smart, wild, annoying, funny, time-consuming, not-really-babies-anymore babies.
*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on August 26, 2015.
(This is my 500th post. I probably should have something a bit more special than this column, but this is what I got. Hopefully I'll be more motivated to come back to this space soon. I miss it, and I have so much stuff to show you - lots of sewing and knitting and whatnot - heavy on the whatnot.)