A Brief Interlude

The Five Stages of a Night by Myself:
1. Bewilderment
2. Flood of Nostalgia
3. Depressed Need to Overhaul Entire Life
4. Exhaustion
5. Renewed Energy and World Domination

Spouse and I have been sitting on a gift certificate for a one-night stay at a fancy local hotel; waiting until the youngest sleeps through the night so we can have someone care for both boys while we enjoy a night away. We’ve waited for two years.

And now that he’s Two, he’s only waking twice a night. So we’re getting closer. But twice is night is too much for us to feel right foisting him on leaving him with someone else.

So I took the precious promise of a night away for myself, and walked the two miles away from our house to luxurious solitude.

Oooooh was it nice.

The walk lead me through my alma mater and my old neighborhood. I walked past the hotel to finish the old route home, oscillating between the familiarity and distance of a life I haven’t felt in eighteen years. I saw new and old, jarring and comforting. And I was overwhelmed with nostalgia and a sense of loss. I’m never going to be an incredibly-hard-working undergrad with my whole life ahead of me ever again. That’s gone forever.

So for a short while I was depressed. Then I decided to make some changes to find more joy and forward motion in the life I have now. That cheered me up a bit. Lost opportunities became a Need to Conquer the World. I hurried to my room to write out a plan.

I checked in just in time for the wine hour.

The wine made writing plans for world domination an unreasonable task, so I watched terrible movies on cable. We don’t have paid t.v. at home. I like it very muchly, the badness of bad television.

A few hours after the time I *swore* I’d sleep, I turned off the bad movies and the light.

The guilt of a silent room grabbed me by the ankles and threw me around. A lot.

“How could you leave them?” guilt smashed me against a wall.
“What could possibly make you think you wanted this?” guilt threw me back on the bed.
“What a terrible mother,” guilt shoved me onto the floor.
“What a terrible wife,” guilt folded me into a small package and shoved me in the nightstand drawer.
“What a horrible person,” guilt pulled me back out and threw me out the window.

About an hour of this nonsense and I finally fell asleep.

And woke six hours later, at the same time the boys are normally leaping from stillness to unabashed firecracker-ism.

I fought the urge to go for a run and forced myself to stay in bed. There’s a whole lifetime of “run before they wake up” starting again tomorrow. This morning was my one morning without “before they wake up.” So I dozed for a while and fought the urge to get up and dozed and woke and forced myself back down again. I got up at the unbearably late hour of 8:00 a.m.

I hiked, I ran, I gazed out over the bay.

view from the knee-unfriendly stretch of Stonewall-Claremont

I showered. I snacked. And I completed two lists of simple ways to improve my life, a list of goals for this year, and a list of manageable tasks to complete before school starts in September.

By checkout time, I wanted another day alone. But I was lucky enough to get to go home to three adorable humans, take them organic-strawberry picking with lovely friends, and come home overtired, filthy, and full of vitamins C and D.

An awfully good weekend prelude to a solemn day of remembrance and honor, I think.

Hope you and yours are safe and sound, that our soldiers are soon home safe and sound, and that we appreciate deeply the sacrifice of those who did not come home safe or sound.

Happy Memorial Day.

12 thoughts on “A Brief Interlude

  1. My tense neck muscles relaxed just reading about YOUR night and day off. It sounds absolutely lovely. See? Mother’s Day is when you make it happen.

    P.S. I also love terrible TV (well, some–things like “Teen Mom” just make me sad and angry) and am really glad we don’t have it at home either. Talk about a time suck.

  2. Beautifully written..as always. So glad you took the time. I so can relate. Much like my time on mother’s day away from the family. We long for time to regroup and then the silence is so unfamiliar, its scary. Isn’t it strange that with the million things we say we will do once we are gifted with this rare “me” time, we become a bit paralyzed when we actually have it? I dabbled in all of the “luxuries” my quiet time afforded, but found it hard to fully engage in any of them. Scensory overload. Maybe its because when last we had this abundance of time for the self, we were not Mothers. We cannot go back to that time and to those women we once knew. And I’m glad for that.

  3. Beautifully written…as always. So glad you had this time. I so can relate. Its much like my time on Mother’s Day weekend away from the family. The silence is so unfamiliar, its scary. Isn’t isn’t strange that with all of the millions of things we say we will do when gifted with the rarity of “me” time, we find ourselves a bit paralized once we actually have it? I dabbled in all of the “luxuries” on my trip, but found I couldn’t fully engage in any of them. Maybe its because when last we had an abundance of time for just ourselves, we were not Mothers. We cannot go back to that time or to those women. And I’m glad for that.

  4. annoying. in the car, on the way to a memorial day event, I posted this comment in my blackberry. I got an error message so wrote it again. Now I see two. Hiding in the bathroom at my friend’s Im explaining my insanity. feel free to delete two of these. Or leave them. Happy Memorial Day!

  5. Sometimes I love that I have learned to cope without a lot of time to myself. And sometimes, I’d like to recapture that lovely leisureliness. Glad you had a chance to.

  6. So glad you had this experience (excluding the guilt part in the wee hours). I will be applauding through all phases of your world conquering, my friend.

    ps: strawberry picking? squee!

  7. I can’t believe none of you mocked me for having an internal critic that uses the word “defenestrated.” That alone should knock me off your reading list.

    @Karen, me, too!
    @kristin, when I say bad tv I mean movies from the 80s and reruns of sitcoms. Not creepy ’00s reality tv.
    @Emily I’m leaving them because I do that all the time. I loved the comment, don’t mind your phone’s insistence on leaving it twice, and adore the hiding and explaining. We’re soul mates.
    @Heather it’s nice to be good at reality, but dang I like me some purchased unreality once ever couple of years.
    @Cyn aw, heck yeah to the conquering and the picking. I’m all about world domination AND getting some warm strawberries off the vine. I got my crackers on and I mean to own all of the chee (so I can give it to the deserving, of course.)

  8. Oh come on, “defenestrated” just proves to me once again why I like your blog so much :)
    Thanks for sharing your day off. I’m betting you didn’t hear anyone snore, either. Pretty picture.

  9. Nobody snored, Chickadee. Or hogged the covers. Or slept diagonally kicking me. Or whined. Or asked me for anything. Or threw food. Or interrupted my shower. Or screamed, “stop looking at me!” Or “That’s miiiiiiine!”
    The list is quite long. ;-)

    • Cyn, that made me laugh. And now when I get my crackers on I will think about the lovely people of Crackersonia. Crackersonistan. Crackersonland. No, clearly, your atlas has it right. Crackersonia. My loyal subjects the Crackersonians. A delightful bunch enjoying the best education system and most sunshine of any festive nation in the world.

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