Remember how about a month ago I wrote about how weird it was to be completely alone in the house for an entire weekend--no dogs, no child, no husband? Well, today I have done a total flip and am yearning for some complete, 100% alone time.
I woke up early this morning, even though my body was still aching for sleep. But, when the sun rises, the thoughts in my brain start stirring, at least to some extent. Unwilling to completely engage with the day, and still feeling a little disconnected, I decided to spend a quiet morning reading before I wrote in my Morning Pages and started the day for real. Nathan left to get breakfast, and I chose to stay back and be anti-social. The dogs started to hassle me as soon as he left.
A short time later, after Nathan had left breakfast for Sarah and made the 20 second trek to work, Sarah stumbled out of bed and immediately starting whining at me because she had misplaced blankie. Have I ever described blankie to you? Once upon a time it was a gray flannel shirt of Nathan’s that somehow ended up in Sarah’s hands at some point when she was just a baby. It became the attachment that could never be left behind, and now is a ripped and torn, but well-loved piece of extra soft fabric that dimly reflects its past as a shirt.
Anyway, as any “good” Mom would do this morning, I told Sarah to look all around her room for blankie, including picking things up. When that failed, and the moans and groans of agony started, I solved the mystery after recalling a bizarre experience from the middle of the night last night–one that could have been a dream, except for the evidence from blankie. See, I came out at some point to go to the bathroom only to be startled by the silent and spectral image of Sarah who nearly freaked me out by appearing in the darkness.
“What are you doing Sarah?”
“I’m going to the park.”
“What? You can’t go to the park now.”
“I’m catching fireflies.”
“Go back to bed, Sarah.”
She walked over to the table holding Nathan’s computer and sat down, placing her hand on the mouse.
“Have you been playing computer games?” (The lights of the computer were blinking, but the screen wasn’t on, I was just really tired.)
“It’s too late to play computer games. Go to bed Sarah.”
“Will you help me?”
“Go to bed!”
She wandered into her room and crawled into bed.
Complete silence in a moment, as I stumbled back to my bed.
I would have forgotten about it, except that I discovered the missing blankie on the chair. She even brought her music player and headphones out. She doesn’t remember a thing.
That mystery solved, I started reading again, only to be interrupted every line or so by a random question about sleepwalking from Sarah, or a random thought about something from Sarah.
“Sarah, I’m trying to read!”
A few moment passes, and another thought bursts out.
“Sarah, your breakfast is in the refrigerator. Please eat while I read.”
“I’m not hungry. But I’ll read, too.” New questions a few minutes later, about words. Questions that I always want to answer with “look it up” as her dictionary was 3 feet away.
“Sarah, I’m heading back to the bedroom so I can read undisturbed.”
A few minutes pass. Perhaps a page or so. The dogs follow me back there and start their loud staring, hoping to get something if I could only read their minds. Then Sarah comes back, with a new thing she just has to tell me at that moment.
This happened several times.
“Sarah, I came back here to read in peace. Please do something!” She finally started eating and playing a computer game.
I did manage to finish the book and was finally ready to write in my Morning Pages, but the chance of me accomplishing that while being tracked by 10 legs, 6 eyes, 2 tails, and one chattering mouth was pretty low.
“Sarah, I am going to go somewhere and I am not going to tell you where. I will have my phone, but you cannot follow me.”
“My guess is a coffee shop.”
“No, I am staying on the lot, but you cannot follow me. I need to be completely alone.”
“Okay, I’m going to the green room. Are we going swimming this morning?”
“Yes, but first I need to be completely alone.”
I found a place underneath the gazebo at the arts center next door, and I wrote in my Morning Pages. My phone buzzed, a text from the people who were supposed to swim with us. ”We’ll be ready in 15 minutes.”
“I’m not ready. Give me 1/2 hour.”
Finding a place to be alone at this bustling theatre is a challenge. Even when you hide away in your cabin, the worlds seems full of eyes and ears and voices. The 30 minutes or so this morning made me realize how valuable alone time really is.
It is, actually, priceless.