For the first time in I don’t know how long, I was home alone last night. It was just an hour – between my husband’s departure for a meeting and picking up my youngest at soccer practice – but it was a sweet 60 minutes that only other busy mothers can truly understand and appreciate.
Since remarrying five years ago, I haven’t had many of these moments. There’s always someone around – the husband or one of the teenagers – or I there’s the impending threat of their arrival, especially the teenager with the job and wheels who pops in at completely random times.
So, I yearn for moments of quiet, when I can actually play my own music, lounge on the couch with a snack that no one wants a piece of, or curl up with a book without constant demands and questions.
It wasn’t always this way. There was a time when my two children were younger and I was a single parent that just putting them to bed left me feeling alone in the house. I was really strict about them getting to bed early to get enough sleep, and they were pretty compliant. In five or 10 minutes, there’d be silence in the house and I was free to frolic (usually that meant reading uninterrupted).
In that way that we’re never quite satisfied with our current situation, I was often restless and lonely, when their slumber left me alone with worries about finances, my aging car or the future. When they spent weeks in the summer visiting their father, it took me days to actually not dread going home to a silent environment. Only belting out my favorite songs into my hairbrush while the stereo pulsed at top volume seemed to ease the ache.
Now, life with teenagers and a husband is happy but always noisy, always hectic and always co-occupied. Not even a trip to the bathroom is sacred. When they were little, the kids would open the door and just wait for me to finish. Now, they talk to me through the door. Apparently, everything requires immediate attention, even if you’re doing your business.
Sixty minutes was mine last night. I turned on my music briefly, feeling too old to break out the hairbrush karaoke. I picked up my book and put it down again. I didn’t want a snack, having just eaten dinner. I didn’t want to start in on a project because I’d lose track of time. I wandered from room to room, enjoying the silence. And then? Then I picked up my book, drove to the soccer field and read in the car for 30 minutes until my daughter’s practice was over. I need to develop a plan for the next time I’m gifted with time alone at home, and hope it doesn’t take another five years!