Day 42: Home Alone

The year I dropped out of college, I spent a great deal of time alone.  My friends were all at their respective universities, my brother was in love, and my parents spent a lot of time at their cottage.   It was unnerving to me at the time, being alone.  Yet, I had actively chosen this reclusiveness. When I craved social contact, I had to remind myself that I chose to exorcise myself from a place that had the potential of offering me ultimate social contact.  Of course, I found ways to occupy myself, but when I was really feeling secluded,  I dreamt about what I wanted my life to be.  Someday, I wanted a family.  I would welcome the busyness and noise that went along with it.  Solitude seemed deafening to me, and I loathed being alone.

Here I am twenty odd years later and I am fortunate that I was able to relinquish loneliness.  I do have the family that I wanted.  And as predicted, having a family does come with effort and industry, with pandemonium and commotion.  It has gotten so chaotic as the girls have gotten older, I recently realized that I am rarely alone.  Of course, you know this is an exaggeration.  I am alone every day in my car on my way to work.  In my defense, traveling to work is almost an extension of the day.  I think about the lessons I have planned, the tests or assignments I need to write, the copies I need to make, the students I need to talk with, the papers I need to finish grading.  Some mornings, I get so deep in thought that I literally cannot remember driving.  I remember getting on I-480, but how am I already at Grayton Road?  On the way home, it is really not that different.  Instead of planning my day, I am replaying its triumphs and disasters.

Thus, my life is somewhat of a paradox.  At twenty years old, I told myself I never wanted to be alone again, yet as a 42-year-old mother of three, all I crave is being alone.    It is rare for me to indulge in what has now become my greatest decadent pleasure: being in my house by myself.

Today, I am home alone.  When I woke up this morning, I put my hands to my face and, like Macauley Culkin, I thought, “They have all gone.  I am alone!”  At this juncture, however, our stories veer.  I have not been left behind or forgotten; I had the day off of school today and my daughters’ school did not.

When the alarm went off at 6:30 to wake Tom to start his day, he leaned over, kissed me, and said, “Don’t get up.  Enjoy your day.  Sleep in.”

So I stayed in bed.  Linus, our dog, realized something good was happening, and he moved up on the bed and rested his head on Tom’s pillow.  Petting Linus, I listened to Tom get the girls ready for school: breakfast plates clanking, water splashing, Lizzie yelling about the brush pulling on her tangled hair.  No one came into our bedroom to ask for my help.  It was like I didn’t exist.  I was well aware, as I was in and out of consciousness, dozing and dreaming, that when the door opened and shut at 8:00 AM, I would be alone.

So what have I done today?  If I were industrious I could have cleaned the house, washed a few loads of laundry, paid some bills.  But I didn’t.  Tom said, “Enjoy your day.”  I took that to heart.  I slept until 9:00. I made coffee and Linus and I sat in bed and watched Kelly Ripa and Josh Groban.  I had a second cup of coffee and played some Words with Friends.  I went on Facebook, played Tetris, read some news.  I have two hours before I have to get the girls.  I may just plop on the couch with Linus and watch TV.

Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t give yourself a break from the stress and the toil, you might just miss it  (because stress kills)!

I have given myself the day off.  I am relishing in the pleasure of solitude.

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3 thoughts on “Day 42: Home Alone

  1. Im glad you’re relaxing because you have a rough night ahead of you. By the way, the new password is SCORPION. Announce it after 4 fast knocks, then 2 slow knocks, a whistle (like you saw a pretty girl whistle, not like you’re performing an Axle Rose tune) and finally an “whoot whoot” in a high pitch as you clench a fist and pump it into the air as if to tug a trains whistle chain. See you at 7!

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