Sunday, October 5, 2008

Time Away

I will be the first to admit that I’ve really got it made. I get to stay at home every day, I don’t have to wake up in a rush every morning and fight traffic just to go and spend my whole day at work. I can do what I want whenever I want and I pretty much love this.

However, two kids may not always want to do what I want, like when what I want is to go to Target and wander the aisles aimlessly for a couple of hours in silence. The children probably clap their little chubby hands with glee at the thought of making a shopping trip turn into their opportunity to shriek and scream and reach for breakable objects and pull hair and push each other and so the mere thought of doing something like that becomes a big, neon, flashing NO sign in my brain. So I don’t go out too often is what I’m saying.

Then I began to fantasize about small things. Reading a book in peace, or going out for a warm pumpkin spiced coffee and sitting at a table staring off into space, or sitting in a bookstore for an hour browsing novels and getting inspired. To take a walk, or go to a random store, or anywhere for that matter all alone. Let me say that again. ALL ALONE.

The story is always the same, though. Jeff works long hours and is exhausted when he gets home. We live out in the middle of nowhere so even if I wanted to escape for an hour, it would be another two hours to get somewhere and back. We don’t have the money to drop on expensive coffee or shopping. We don’t have the money for gas even. So my fantasies often stayed that way and never became reality and one day would end and another would begin and slowly I began to go a little bit crazy and maybe get a little depressed.

I mentioned it to Jeff awhile ago and instead of him saying something like “you know what honey, you always stay here with the kids and never go out and do something you would like to do so go ahead and enjoy yourself and I’ll stay with the kids” he said something like this “that’s not going to happen” and then I fumed and it turned into a stupid argument (because I don’t know how serious he was in the first place and I was in a bad mood already) and then it grew and I did the idiotic martyr move of “well fine I’ll just stay at home every day and never leave the house”. Well that sure showed HIM! I’ll just stay at home every day and never get time to myself! Oh. Wait.

Last week my husband said the words I needed so badly to hear. “You go ahead and take the car and spend the day doing what you want and I’ll stay here with the kids. Have fun,” and I grabbed the keys and sprinted towards the car and listened to my music and drove a little crazier than usual and suddenly I felt a million times better.

Once upon a time, before I became a wife and a mother, I was just Jenny. I had my own hobbies and interests. I liked to have time alone even before I was married. I liked my privacy and the occasional solitude. Now if anyone were to ask me to tell them about myself I would first say that I am a wife and mother, and truthfully those are the things that I am most proud to be. Once in a while though, it’s nice to be just Jenny again. A day alone here and there to just be me, and not everything else, is a salve to wounds that I don’t often realize that I have, and an opportunity to feel refreshed and relaxed. A chance to just BE without having to always DO. It’s also a chance to drive eagerly home to see the faces of the people I love most who are happy to see me return.


Jen said...

Wow, that sounds amazing. Sometimes husbands aren't so bad after all. My favorite part about going somewhere alone is not dealing with all the buckling and unbuckling and stray sippy cups and cheerios... I am so jealous!

Swistle said...

Hee! I love this. My favorite part was "Well that sure showed HIM! I’ll just stay at home every day and never get time to myself! Oh. Wait." I do that too.