Tonight my husband had school so it was just the little girls and me. We rushed through dinner, reading, and math and then the neighbor girls came over to play Barbies. As I sat down at my kitchen table to get some work done I started hearing rumblings of discontent from downstairs. Things like “we ALWAYS play at your house!” And “you guys are IGNORING me!” And “this is SO unfair!” Soon they moved outside where I could hear them going from yelling at each other to playing gymnastics to yelling again to showing off dance moves. Eventually my little girls came in and asked if they could go to the other girls’ house. I said yes and they were off.
About an hour later I heard little girls outside. I looked in the backyard and, of the five little girls that were originally playing, I now saw my oldest little girl and one of the neighbor girls sitting at our patio table having what appeared to be a serious conversation. Soon my oldest little girl came in and said “Mommy…do you sometimes need time all alone and by yourself?” “Sometimes, yes. Why do you ask?” “I’m gonna need some of that” she said shaking her head. I asked why and she said there had been fighting and she needed to do some thinking about why the fighting started, her part in the fight, and if it was all worth it. I’m telling you…she is eight going on 27. I told her that it’s really important to know when you need that alone time and to arrange for it. She said that if she says she’s going to be in her room it really means she needs some alone time to collect her thoughts. Her words. Not mine.
As she headed for the shower I smiled. Because that is exactly what I need.
When I was single I lived alone. Most of my friends were married, some had started to have children, so there was plenty of time for me to fill without the company of my friends. I would shop alone, get pedicures every two weeks, see movies, run, clean my condo, run errands, or sit all day on a weekend and watch TV episodes I’d recorded. It. Was. Lovely.
I’m not, in any way, saying I’d prefer to be single. Being with my husband and little girls makes me feel complete. I love being a mom and a wife. But I miss that things I used to do, from time to time, and I hadn’t thought about it in a while until my oldest little girl asked me if I ever needed time alone. Ummm…YES PLEASE. Like…right this second.
It’s been a long weekend. We’ve been so nervous about our little Sully. He was miserable all weekend and we waited with bated breath for every one of his coughs, every small movement, and every heavy sigh (there were a lot of those). I left for work this morning and he was still a very sad puppy.
Add into a mix a rough weekend for my husband and I. I’ve said before that we spent a lot of time in therapy when we were trying to figure out if we could stay married. We haven’t been in a year and a half. It’s become clear, however, that there are some issues about which we have trouble communicating effectively. As I drove to work this morning I left a voicemail for our therapist requesting an appointment. And I felt like a complete and utter failure.
Let me be clear. I believe in therapy. I believe in going back as needed to tune things up, make sure we’re on-track, and to keep communication open and effective. That said…I’m bummed out that we’re in a position that we need to go back. Even though, logically, I understand that it will happen throughout the course of our marriage. I get all of that…but still…waahhh.
We are so good about having honest and frank conversations about how we’re feeling about things, how we’re feeling about each other, and what we need to work on. We find ourselves a bit stuck right now in terms of understanding the other’s point of view. Or, more accurately, what to do with that information. We’re stuck on the “next steps” part. If you feel this way…I should do this. If I feel this way…you should do that. We need an objective and educated opinion. And the thing is…we’ll be so happy we went back…but right now I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself.
So that alone time? It couldn’t come at a better time. After my little girl walked away I started fantasizing about alone time and began to plot out when, in the next few days, I can steal a moment or two. For a pedicure. A trip to the bookstore. To write. To work on some projects. And simply the act of making plans for future alone time felt liberating and eased my stress a bit.
TODAY: What if, when life throws me a bunch of (stress-filled) fast balls I make sure to plan some alone time to decompress? What if I remember that things like therapy and alone time, while tough to get myself out the door for, will make life so much better?
PS – Oh my goodness…I can’t thank all of you enough for your kind words, messages, and suggestions about Sullivan! We got some good news today…the blood work only showed things consistent with pneumonia. We figured out the swollen eye was a bee sting. And he finally, FINALLY, perked-up tonight. He’s still tired, and is out of breath more quickly than usual, but we saw glimpses of our old Sully. Like, for example, when he found a down blanket in our basement, drug it upstairs, and proceeded to rip holes in it so our upstairs is filled with feathers. We go back in four weeks for additional x-rays to see if the spots in his spine have changed. Keeping fingers crossed that the pneumonia will continue to make its hasty retreat and that the spots will either stay the same or disappear. THANK YOU for your well wishes. I was amazed by your response.