Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Gift of Quiet

My mom gives me all kinds of stuff.  She gives me extra avocados when she's bought too many, she gives me sweet sheets for the kids' beds, she gives me flag pillows to make my lawn chairs cuter for the 4th of July.  She's been known to buy a pair of shoes for me when I dither too long about 'spending on myself', and I always leave her house with a shopping bag or two full of little prizes collected from her basement.

Last night she gave me the best, most meaningful gift of all.

Last night, she gave me the Gift of Quiet.

She and the kids cooked up a scheme for a sleepover - just an overnight, and we'd all be back together in time for a 9.30 swim team practice.  Nothing momentous, no major adventures planned.  Just time away. I watched the back of the car drive off at dinnertime.

Packed & ready for Grandma's

The beautiful gradually-cooling evening stretched ahead of me.  I didn't feel the typical exhaustion that cripples me when faced with concocting a summer supper for hot and grumpy eaters.   I faced the prospect of sixteen hours without a single demand, without a single complaint, without distraction.

It was magical.

I would argue that the profound shock of Never. Being. Alone! is right up there in the Top Five Completely Sucky Things About Parenting That No One Mentions When You Get Pregnant.   For an introvert like me, it is - on occasion - physically painful to answer yet another question about the Lego Jr FanClub whilst helping a Polly Pocket out of her rubber gown and supervising the creation of one's own canopy bed using curtains and scotch tape.

I love what I do.  Love it, and love that I'm fortunate enough to be doing it.  But my current 24/7 career makes the stolen hours of solitude (yes, it absolutely is illicit in nature) feel that much more delicious.

I got my sixteen hours to escape.  Sixteen hours to think, to imagine, to create.  A gift of sixteen hours.

[Thanks, Mom.]


Cheryl said...

I love you, I do, but right now? I hate you! It's the jealousy. I know it is. I can't even imagine. Sigh. Anyway, I know you enjoyed it. And? You deserve it. You really do.

Missy said...

Yeah for grandparents! Especially those who live close enough for impromptu sleepovers!

Keda said...

I know what you mean. On Sunday afternoon's my husband takes my daughter to visit his father. It gives me a few hours to study, although I have to admit that in those hours I hardly ever study. I simply relish the wonder of not having to meet demands, being able to read without wondering about the next nappy change...

I love my daughter to eternity and back, but I use to be a very alone person, craving and packing in solitude.

Like you said: No one told us, and even when they tell you, you are not in any way capable of understanding.

Jennifer said...

What a wonderful gift!

Anonymous said...

You have such a wonderful mother which is why you are probably such a great mother yourself.

Aging Mommy said...

Kirsten I could not have said it better myself - only that for me I think the realization that I would never be alone has to be in the number one position on the things not to like about parenting. I too am an introvert, anti-social all too often and perfectly happy to keep my own company and thoughts and as you say the never ending dialogue and demands to play are at times heavenly but when you never catch a break can also be so very wearing.

Our biggest issue is not having family here so neither my husband or I ever get a decent break. Something as our daughter gets a little older we have to try and fix.

So I am glad you got your break, everyone needs one and I bet your children had a wonderful time with Grandma.

Varda said...

I envy you your wonderful mother who can and will jump in and help out, take care of you. With me it's the other way around. See, that's the problem with being older parents who are also the children of older parents. When friends would suggest we leave our kids with the grandparents if we needed a break, my husband and I would have this running joke about taking bets on who would survive the encounter (because it would be impossible for everyone to come out of it alive). You see, my mother is 87, my mother in law 93 and my father recently passed away at 92. Probably the age of most of you all's grandparents. Not only that but we both have much older siblings (1/2 sibs in my case) so we've got weird generations going on - our 8 year old kids' first cousins range in age from 28 to 35, and one of them is about to have twin boys, too.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love Grandmas!!! DB mom did that for us last Monday when we took our son (2 1/2) to the water park in a hotel nearby. She decided to take DS home with her that night since she was babysitting the next morning anyway. It was so nice to be able to sleep in at the hotel (no dishes to clean up either!), get ready for work and head off whenever I wanted.

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