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.