First of all, I need to start off this post by stating that I love my husband and children very, very much. And yet, and yet...I spent most of the weekend completely free of them and it was absolutely divine.
It all started a few weeks ago when we decided to head up to Mt. Desert Island Columbus Day weekend to hang out with two other families and attend some of the Alumni Weekend festivities at C's and my alma mater.
A weekend with good friends, hiking and going out on a boat, visiting old haunts––sounded like so much fun. So why, every time I thought about it, did I feel like a thick leather belt was tightening around my chest?
Perhaps because, due to a summer of fun and busyness, visitors and travel, I was SO FAR BEHIND on my graduate school work, with October the busiest month of the semester, I felt if I went away for a weekend I would never, ever catch up.
So I asked my husband if he would very sweetly take the children and go away for the weekend of fun, leaving me behind to catch up on my work, and to have a bit of that solitude and quiet and just general head space required for generating ideas and inventing characters and carrying narrative lines through to a conclusion. I have been missing that space, craving it, and as the weekend approached, I felt like a giddiness rise in me, like a shaken-up bottle of soda-pop, every time I thought about it. And that giddiness stayed with me throughout the weekend, every time it occurred to me, "I am here, all by myself!"
After they had all left the house Saturday afternoon, after soccer games and packing flurries, it occurred to me that I have never once spent a night alone in this house (where we've lived for ten years now), and that possibly the last time I spent more than a few hours home alone was way back when I was pregnant with M (we were living in an apartment then) and C went to Florida for a week. I have been lucky enough to go away and stay with friends, in hotel rooms and even dorm rooms, but I've never actually been home alone (I have spent at least one full school-day at home completely alone, within blog memory).
It was every bit as wonderful as I expected. I got tons of writing done (finally got this month's packet done and in the mail today, only four days late, and revised a piece from first semester for one of my workshops, due at the end of the month), went for quiet walks in the woods (tons of mushrooms poking up from the earth), ate yummy food whenever I felt like it, read quite a bit of a book for my next packet. I even watched TV (which I hardly ever do) and slept in late Sunday morning (which I didn't even think I was capable of doing). I was so refreshed and rejuvenated and grateful to my brood that I cooked them up a big feast of chiles rellenos, beans, rice and tomato-jalapeno sauce for dinner upon their return last night. And they all survived just fine without me. Now if I can only convince them to go away on that big week-long fishing expedition I've been imagining for seven years...