It’s storming outside tonight. Again.
I’m craving sunshine. Yes. This rain-loving, born-in-San-Diegan wants warmth from the sun and natural, bright light.
But, it is still May. One more day anyhow. And another shower can’t be bad for the rainforest that surrounds us here. So, I’ll just write about last night. When it wasn’t raining. When it was surprisingly cold out and the sun was setting beyond the forest’s edge.
So, last night I tucked all three kids into bed and it was seamless. Light dinner. Three kids in a bath. Big girls putting on their PJs while babe nursed to sleep. One baby down. One chapter read to two tired girls. One asleep five minutes later. Another tired and ready for a sip of water and sleep. Yes, we’re getting the night-shift-thing down again. Thank goodness.
Anyhow, I tucked everyone in and suddenly there was silence. So I slipped on my clogs and quietly snuck out the door. And a perk to living in a state park is that every time we step outside, it’s bliss. And this quiet, joyful place was just waiting for me. And I suppose the thirsty plants, seeds and chicks were waiting too.
As I watered the saplings we’re caretaking for and our cool house of summer veggies, I jumped as the wind rustled the fabric overhead. My goodness, quiet can actually scare someone when they get used to the cacophony of children-noise 24 hours a day.
I closed up the chicken coop and crossed the yard to shut off the water valve again as a crow passed overhead. And when I got to the bushes by our house, I frightened the quail who took to the bush-tops, which in turn scared the dickens out of me again. (And now I’m laughing ’cause my oldest just asked me how to spell “dickens” as we practiced “d” and I thought, huh, where’d she get that? I know I haven’t shared Charles Dickens yet? Nevermind. Question answered.)
And with my second jump of the evening, old memories stirred fresh.
A moment in time a few years ago, we were up in the mountains living down south. We’d just finished picnicing and keeping children out of the lake, and I needed to go to the bathroom. So, I asked all children at the time “Who needs to go to the bathroom?”
“I know someone needs to go.” And then Pops chimed in that he’d already taken the girls when we’d gotten there.
And I suddenly felt lonely. Like I was somehow in the third grade again. With no one to go to the bathroom with. I felt like whining, begging someone to come with. And then the thirty-something-year-old mom in me snapped together and thought, What the hell? You’re scared to be alone? At home you complain of having too much company on the toilet.
So, I took off across the parking lot to the restroom. And as I reached the entrance I couldn’t help but look back at my family. Geez, I felt so incredibly alone in that moment. The bathroom was vacant and dark. The lack of doors made me hurry. And I missed so badly having my child there, even if I’d usually be repeating profusely “DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING” while attempting to pull my pants up under the belt of the baby carrier.
So last night, here I was crossing the yard, no children in tow for a change, and I felt so incredibly alone again. An invigorating solitude that makes me feel electric, like any old mammal out crossing the grassy meadow. But alone nonetheless.
And that’s when I was reminded how close I really am to these dear little ones. I can hear them breathing almost any and every moment throughout every single day. And despite the craziness this often causes, I so depend on it for my sanity too.
As I crossed the darkening yard, the sun setting beyond, I felt like that Mother Deer I saw last week. With quick chews. Pulsing stops. Constantly checking in with her surroundings.
And I forget that this electric buzzing place of the ‘alone’ world exists. Maybe you could call it the ‘single’ world. Where you’re one single individual instead of one with three attachments. And I can remember, this place doesn’t pulse the same way once you get used to it again. I’ve done that before. Went back to work part-time for a brief while after my first was born. I can remember it feeling like I was tearing out an organ at first, but then you find your way again. You learn to trust more than just yourself.
But this special time, when you first begin to let go again, to break away after ceaseless child-rearing, you can feel it. And it feels for me a little like waking from some sort of mini-reality into a bigger picture that’s pulsing at a much higher frequency. The world of life beyond. And it’s alive in such a special way even as it honestly scares me a tad. To be alone again. To walk across the lawn with no one holding my hand. No one fighting over who gets to hold the ring-finger-hand. No one fondling my extra arm skin and warming my back. Oh, I’m going to miss this time when it drifts off into the past. I already do.
OK, enough blabbering on for now. But I can say that this fifteen minute window of watering the yard without kids jostled memories I don’t think about often. And this post became two times longer than this. So, stay tuned later this week for the second installment, where I’ll share my loneliest alone moment in this life…so far.