Today has been such a nice day, leisurely in a way only possible when the boys aren't here with me. Truth be told, I mean that in both an opinionless, factual way and also with some sense of wistfulness. When they are here, I am rarely without them for more than six hours, a span of time which always sounds much longer than its passing feels. Unless I'm at jury duty. Or on an airplane with them. In that space, minus the caveats, I must make time to accomplish very real to-dos but also to sit and think and write and recharge, all of which I do best when alone. I think the fact that I crave solitude often surprises those who know or have met me. I'm gregarious, social, extroverted, involved. I've got a lot of energy, and I truly enjoy being around other people. But to really feel restored, I require quiet time by myself.
It doesn't take a genius to recognize that solitude and motherhood don't usually overlap much, and this is the source of my mixed emotions today. The boys have had a marvelous time with my parents and my parents with them. There is a real and mutual love affair among them all, and I feel so, so grateful for that. Weeks like this one negate much of the toll distance could take, and I think it's tremendous that the boys are as close to my parents (1,200 miles away) as they are to Tom's (6 miles away). We are all fortunate and the better for these relationships.
Yet, in the way many folks start to feel some re-entry anxiety on Sunday evenings, the work-week quickly approaching, I too feel a tinge of "oh god, it's almost over" as the twenty-four hour mark approaches. I cannot wait to hug the boys' warm, sweet little bodies, to have their hands in mine, to hear Ol whisper about which princess he loves most at that moment, to be astounded by something clever Jack says; but I would be lying if I said I didn't feel preemptively nostalgic for the slower, quieter pace I've been able to enjoy this past week.
I've tried everything I can think of, have asked for advice six ways to Sunday, but we simply seem to be a family whose tenor is louder and faster and more insistent than I wish. Perhaps this is a function of the boys' youthful ages (all parents of boys hear that the early years are the most difficult because of their activity level and rambunctiousness); perhaps I've set the bar too high for what they can expect of me; perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. It's likely all that and more.
I'm acknowledging my sense of flux in the hopes of now putting it aside and enjoying this beautiful, calm afternoon with no further consideration or sighs. Nutmeg jumped from Ol's bed up to the little windowsill on which sat his potted shamrock and now there's dirt all over the comforter and pillow. I'm going to clean that, read the paper, and start in on dinner for my T: King salmon with dandelion-walnut pesto; roast broccoli; a grain TBD. Buona sera!