My last day of school was June 16th. I had to go back Friday, the 17th, and then again Monday the 20th through Wednesday the 22nd. I could not wait for Thursday the 23rd and Friday the 24th, and I especially could not wait for the following week Monday through Friday. Why? Because I was going to be almost alone for 7 whole days.
Monkey was going to be at childcare. I’d already paid for the month of June, and all you mamas out there know that if there’s an opportunity to have a mental break, you take it while the takin’ is good!
And Girlfriend is usually pretty easy. She’s 8. She can entertain herself for short periods of time so I can have “my time” to do what I need or want to do without being in high demand. When we’re together, we’re doing things that are far easier than when Monkey is there. We can do errands, have a nice lunch, swim in our pool, take a day trip, go to the library to book browse in peace, play a game uninterrupted, bake, things like that. My pants aren’t being pulled down by a handsome little man much younger than myself, “Mommy!!” isn’t being screamed every two minutes, every toy we own isn’t being used as a projectile, my hair isn’t being
ripped out of my head pulled, and food isn’t flying in every direction throughout the kitchen. When Monkey is here, I can’t even have a cup of coffee sitting down. If you have a busy child you know what I’m talking about!
So I had all these plans for these glorious 7 days of “almost-alone-time-freedom.” I was going to embrace the calm and the quiet, and I was going to read and write and clean and purge/organize some spaces and plan out our summer, update my classroom website, drink lavender tea with my feet up, try a few recipes, listen to music, take my walks, and … and … and … .
This is not what happened.
What did happen was the craziest thing.
Yes, I did some of those things. I got my first grade website all set, for the most part. I completed a rough sketch of this whole-school book club initiative I want to implement at school. I did a couple loads of laundry and I cleaned the kitchen (every day – what the heck happens in there?!). But I barely picked up a book and I barely wrote a word of my own personal thoughts as I am doing right now, and I did not think about the upcoming year in first grade, and I didn’t listen to much music. I didn’t do a whole lot, really. Nothing I can’t do anytime.
There was so much I wanted to do in this rare almost-alone-time that I ended up doing almost none of it. There was too much time and I’m not used to that anymore. This always happened when Girlfriend was really little and it was hard to do anything by myself without being so needed by her. There was so much I wanted to do in such a short period of time, things that I took for granted before as having the time to do whenever I wanted to, that I ended up doing nothing because I wasn’t sure where to start. The time was almost paralyzing.
So anyway, these 7 days off. 4:30 would arrive and we’d go pick up Monkey and then suddenly my energy came back. We went to the library, and we went to Target, and we went to the grocery store, and I was inspired to read (after the kids were in bed, like I usually do) and write (while Husband was holding down the fort – for about 20 minutes) and fold laundry while Girlfriend watched a show and Monkey played (or threw things). I loved watching Girlfriend, Monkey, and Husband out the back window in our pool while I washed dishes and prepared lunch for the next day. Family dinner was the usual mayhem that I’ve come to love, and bath time was its usual cuteness, despite every bath toy being chucked over the edge, and when the last toy had been thrown, it was time for the sopping wet face cloth before I had a chance to wrangle it myself.
Bedtime was its usual nightmare. Monkey doesn’t like going to bed. But when those moments of sleep arrive, and he just relaxes in my arms and sighs with content, I am then reminded of how much I love my family and our life together.
Next week, I will be almost a full-time mom again for the summer. Monkey will go to childcare twice a week to maintain his routine and connection with others and Girlfriend and I will be Big Girl Things and I will do some “me things.” But for the most part, it will be the 3 of us. I am sure I am going to crave that almost-alone-time again and create mental lists of the all the things I would like to do. But I will remember this:
It’s nice to have time “off.” I love it and I will always love it. I will always crave it.