Editor’s Note: Our Creative Voices series includes essays on parenting by our amazingly eloquent contributors. In this beautifully written, raw and honest essay, Heather expresses what we all feel: solitude is forever changed. I think this is something every woman can relate to, as she feels the tug of her little one on her shirt, and heart, when she reads this.
lately, i lust for alone. i see people living it everywhere and i’m hungry for it.
i don’t just mean when people are alone whilst walking from the car to the office, or from the grocery store to the bank, or doing what they do as they live their lives (though i definitely notice them as well). i mean true alone time- completely solitary in a wonderous way that the individuals i’m observing (read: staring at wistfully) may not appreciate as such. i’m sure all of them have some kind of external commitments they’re accountable to, we all do, but they occupy space in such a way that they communicate alone. not lonely, but yummy, juicy and indulgent alone. without the waking-and-immediately-being-obligated-to-others kind of never-being-alone that came along with being born a mother.
yup, i see alone all around me lately, or it stands out amongst all the other images of those who are not alone i should say. the woman enjoying a coffee whilst reading the paper… she looks peaceful, enjoying a moment at her pace. i look harassed and frazzled, rushing by while juggling moo, groceries, car keys, the shoe that fell off, the diaper bag, and his finickity eat and sleep needs. the woman running in the park… she looks self possessed and driven. i, however, look scattered and subordinate. the young woman riding by on her bike… she looks fast, carefree, and there is a hint of excitement there, like she is anticipating something grand. i watch her fly by from where i stand: heavy feet, heavier lids, and cloudy mind all just waking up like the fog, slowly and tentatively lifting to make room for more of a view. when i see them doing what they do, whatever that is, i can’t help but feel a sort of nostalgia for my former self/life, when i knew what alone felt like.
in the story i’m now leading, the idea of being alone is forever changed. i am unlikely to ever have the kind of alone time i see those others enjoying, no matter how much i crave it or even try to create it. i may have time apart from my moo, and though i’ve only had this opportunity a handful of times since we were born, i definitely noticed it. i was apart from him and there was a sense of liberation that occupied the space he might have otherwise (there was also a tidal wave of anxiety attached to our separation that took up loads of space and made the ‘liberation’ difficult to enjoy but, that’s another story). i felt quite aware of my person, my surroundings, and my thoughts and it was lovely and exciting but, i was not alone. i was apart from him but not without him (and please god, i don’t ever want to be without him) and this is the thing. the fact is, you know, he exists and therefore so do i as his mother and that’s what makes it impossible to now be alone.
i am no longer just me in this world, he is almost always with me now. and, when apart, the space i might have to use both hands instead of one or the space i might have to do something with a fragment of focus is not nearly as big as the space he occupies in my consciousness (nevermind the space he occupies in my heart- like all of it and more).
so, farewell alone. i’ll miss you. i already do but, i choose my life. he’s worth the trade.
this was originally published on Mother Your Business.
Photo Copyright: ababaka / 123RF Stock Photo
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