I’ve been a full time mom for a little over 9 years now. During that time, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been alone in my house for more than an hour. There are plenty more times that I’ve been alone – business trips, the gym, grocery shopping – but not alone and in my own house.
I didn’t go into this weekend knowing I’d be alone. On Tuesday, my son was invited to a sleepover at his best friend’s house. On Thursday, my husband decided to go camping with a recently rediscovered friend of his for the weekend. And today, when I dropped my daughter off for a birthday party, she was asked to spend the night.
That leaves….um, me and Chloe – my 3 year old. But at 4:30 – after a long day of shopping and chauffeuring – I pulled up at home and realized that Chloe had fallen asleep. She’s still sleeping 3 hours later. Yes, I did bring her in out of the car.
But, that means that for the past 3 hours I’ve had the rare experience of essentially being home alone. Now this doesn’t intimidate me. I’m not quaking in my boots worried about burglars or other bad things that could happen to a woman alone. I’m simply sitting here and absorbing the quiet.
It is so peaceful. Zen really.
I suppose I could continue where I left off in my house cleaning overhaul, or start on a scrapbook page, workout, or even read a book. But for the most part I’m just absorbing. I relish these moments because they are so few and far between.
But truth be told, it is strange too. I have caught myself with a quizzical furrow because of this nagging “offness” in the background. The feeling that something just isn’t right in the world, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.
I realize what it is – and you probably do too since this post is about it. It’s quiet.
There are no SpongeBob cartoon voices in the background. There is no screaming because so and so was sitting there first, or has so and so’s toy, or is simply looking at someone or breathing in the same space as their brother or sister. There are no giggles as the kids laugh under a fort they’ve built, or “Mom, look at me”s, or can you help me with xyz, or what does A B S O L U T E spell.
As I’m writing this the dog spotted a squirrel and is off barking her head off, Chloe is stirring on the couch and will wake up soon, and I’m sure the phone will ring eventually. But for a few hours today I had the opportunity to realize how empty my life would be without my children.
They fill me up. Not always with good things – screaming, fighting, being all around ornery – but fill me up nonetheless. What happens when they fly the coop? What happens when they have their own lives filling every minute? Their own kids saying “Mom, look at me!”. I imagine it will be quiet and peaceful in my house. I imagine I will get a lot done, my house will stay clean for more than 15 minutes, and I’ll have tons of time for reading. But I also imagine I will feel a niggling “off” feeling in the back of my head. A moment of missing the chaos and wishing for them to be little again.
These moments are always good for me. They help me realize I must live in the moment, identify the positive, and soak up the joy of every day. My children will be grown and gone before I know it. Oh, I’m sure they’ll call me and I’m sure we’ll visit, but I hope they are looking forward and enjoying the joy in each of their days rather than spending time with me. I want them to Fly, Explore, Dream, Discover….and most of all, to love and be loved. But holy cow, I will miss them.