Let me set the stage of my life for you. I live in a house with a football and BBQ crazed husband; two seven year-old girls that can go from loving each other to hating each other in zero to five seconds; an incredibly happy four month-old baby girl who talks more than I do; two excessively needy pugs who must be touching you at all times; and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. So just looking in on my family life, sure, I get it; how could I possibly ever be alone in a house that full, right?
There are those obvious moments as a mother I think, “THIS is what she meant.” Come on moms, you know what I’m talking about. Moments like when you’re sitting in your bathroom, with the door closed, doing, well “potty things” and then suddenly you hear the little coo from outside, “Mommy, are you in there?” Go ahead...say no. Twenty-bucks says the door will still open and the tiny person will trot in anyway. Entire conversations have taken place for me this way. Important stuff that couldn’t wait! Stuff like, “I just saw on Wizards of Waverly Place where Selena Gomez put her hair up like this...
As a mom, have you ever tried to take a long, hot bath and just relax after a hard day? How’d that work for you? Yeah, I’ve tried that a few times. The tiny party crasher typically appears again claiming a sudden need to take a shower...in my shower...and will proceed to relay every conversation that she was a part of that day to me while taking said shower. Ahhhhh yes, that was truly a relaxing bath.
Ever try and outsmart your household by getting up early? I really thought I was on to a gold mine of an idea here until one morning, about a week ago. I was sitting at my desk, in the dark mind you, drinking my coffee and reading emails. Keep in mind that I make every effort to be so quiet when I get up; I don’t want to disturb anyone. Suddenly, the quiet beauty of that serene moment was broken as I jumped out of my skin and screamed when the darkness whispered, “Hey mommy, what cha doing?”
Those same little voices travel with you on a daily basis. On weekends they are there as you run errands and in the mornings, when you’re trying to get going, there they are...chatting about who knows what, as you try and tune them out just long enough to let the coffee kick in. Oh come on, I can’t be the only one who has ever sat there wondering to themselves, “Just how loud would have I have turn up my Michael Jackson CD to drown out the ramblings of the backseat in order to allow me a moment of peace this morning?” In case you’re wondering, your stereo won’t go loud enough...the backseat will just talk louder and, if you’ve got a helpful child as I do, they’ll just suggest you turn down your music because you might not realize it, but listening to music that loudly can harm your hearing and hearing is something that cannot be fixed. What, she was actually listening when I said that?
Yep, I can no longer sit on my couch without first asking the pugs for a spot. I no longer can walk freely up or down the stairs; I have to be on constant lookout for a Lenny-comet or an Oggy-streak that might whoosh by at any moment, knocking me off center. I no longer have a true claim to “my side of the bed”. No, I now just lay in the area where my husband, the cat, and the occasional driving by of a child can most easily find me to wake me up just as I am dozing off to ask me such Earth shattering questions as, “Did you see that play?” or “Mommy, are you asleep?”
I now understand those great revelations of motherhood. Truths such as the fact that showers and baths are strictly for the purpose of daily cleaning; there will be none of this silly laying around and relaxing in a hot tub nonsense. A bed is a place for family snuggles, where cats feel most comfortable when her right paw kneads into your side all night and where one masters the art of drowning out volume level 22 of televisions as it blares those can’t miss moments of Monday Night Football.
A car is just another opportunity to learn about the latest fashion trends and some kid named Matthew who your daughter thinks is cute but won’t tell him because she’s not interested in getting married or having babies until she’s at least thirty...an explanation issued all in one long breath by the way. And getting up at 5:00 a.m. is not a signal that you want or need a few moments alone. No it’s actually a signal to anyone under four feet tall that you’ve carved out a bit more time to just hang-out with them.
Last weekend, my husband took the kids with him to my Mother-in-law’s for the entire weekend. Yep, the entire weekend! I was able to spend the weekend watching chick flicks, listening to low-volume music, instead of hearing the television booming with some crap I couldn’t even recognize. I ate cheese toast for dinner because, well, that’s all I wanted, and never even worried about what anyone else wanted. I went to the restroom with the door wide-open and no one came in! I spent 40 minutes turning my skin into a wrinkled mess in the tub as I listened to deafening quite of my house.
I walked around with my coffee Sunday morning peering into the rooms of my daughters just smiling. I could almost hear their laughter. I could hear my seven year-old singing as she sat on the floor drawing. I could hear the sounds of my new born snoring as I gazed into her empty crib. Even though they weren’t physically there, my heart was pounding with the flood of memories that years of all of us being together have created. I was the only person in the house, but I wasn’t really alone.
By 2:00 p.m. my house was once again flooded with the beautiful sounds of little girls, playing dogs and preseason football. It was the most melodic sounds I had ever heard!
Later that day I thanked my husband. “Yeah, I knew you needed some time by yourself’” he said. Okay, I’ll let him go on thinking I was thanking him for his noble gesture of giving me some time to myself, but I know the truth. I was actually thanking him for bringing all those wonderful sounds and over crowded moments of non-existent solitude home.