Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brief Respite

The girls unexpectedly spent a couple of nights up north with the grandparents this week, squeezing in one last up-there play session and sleepover with the cousins before the cousins move downstate, so naturally yesterday afternoon found me bleaching rags in the laundry sink and scrubbing the shower tile grout with a toothbrush.

It's strange: when the girls are here with me, everysingleminute-allthetime-always, I occasionally have elaborate fantasies about what I'd do if I suddenly had a day completely free. I'll take the train to Chicago! I'll go to the beach and just sit in a chair with a million magazines! I'll take hours-long naps in the middle of the day! I'll stay in bed until noon with a book!

And then I DO sometimes get a day or two to myself, and I become schizophrenic from the guilt. I decide not to go to the beach (because it really is more fun to go with them) and I remember a million errands that'd be easier without them, and then I get sucked into the Target/grocery/gift-getting vacuum, and then I get out the REAL vacuum, and suddenly it's noon and I eat two hunks of cheese and a handful of almonds.

At this point, I'm annoyed that I've frittered away a whole morning doing mundane things I could very well do while the girls are in town, so I get in bed with a book, read for twenty minutes, sleep for twenty more, and jolt awake when the dryer plays its adorable song because the clothes are dry. I jump up, feel vaguely guilty that I was sleeping at all, and go right to folding laundry, cleaning out drawers, organizing Jemma's closet, and scrubbing things with a toothbrush.

So as to not be totally pathetic, Jason and I did take full advantage of our evenings together. We biked downtown and rode around a bit before heading to Founders for drinks and dinner one night, and another night I picked him up at his office before driving to Salt of the Earth for an awesome dinner and walking along the shore at Pier Cove beach after. I got to see a few friends and log some marathon phone calls with Connie, too. And so while there has been eating, drinking, and general relaxing, it turns out that what I most value on those rare days when the girls are gone is the self-directed solitude - the knowledge that the time is mine to spend in any way that I want, and the confidence that I will be able to finish a project without being interrupted.

In any case, the girls returned this afternoon after a very long car ride and behaved exactly the way I thought they would after a few days of grandparent-style indulgence, which is to say: NOT WELL. There was much crying and circular conversations and nonsense, and I attempted to move the whole operation outside in the hopes that fresh air and sprinklers would cheer us all up, and then I texted Jason: Come Home! And thankfully he did.

Just now they're in their beds, all freshly-showered and jammied and fast asleep. I read them extra books tonight so we could snuggle on the couch a little longer, so I could smell their damp little heads wedged up against my shoulders as I turned the pages. I was grateful for the time alone, but I'm even happier to have them home again.

1 comment:

  1. I so understand this after just a few months of parenting. Even if Will takes a super-long nap, I feel almost paralyzed at not knowing what to do with my precious, precious time. Today I had an hour and ended up trying on some old dresses and going for a five-mile run (stroller-less!). Nothing fancy, but it fit the bill!