I have never been afraid of being alone. As long as I can remember, I have been surrounded with people. Five siblings, two parents, cousins, extended family. Classmates, friends, innumerable faceless strangers making up background noise in the two cities, Toronto and Calgary, in which I grew up.
And then Adam. Since I was eighteen, Adam.
There haven’t been many times in my life when I have felt alone, or lonely, and so obviously I crave this foreign state so desperately sometimes that I can taste it. Acerbic and dry, I hunger for it.
Every day Olive has two one hour naps. When she is awake I tell myself, “When O goes down I will do laundry. I’ll take Gus for a walk. I’ll write that blog post and apply for that job and finish writing in her baby book. I’ll mail those letters and make those calls. Shit will get done.“
But when she goes down for her nap, after I put her in her crib and close the door I can taste that silence and that alone time, and these minutes where I am not mom, and all I want to do is just sit here in silence and percolate. Staring out the window and spending time rattling around in my own head -a place I rarely seem to go anymore. Sifting through thoughts and processessing experiences- things I rarely seem to do anymore.
I think the reason time goes by so quickly when you have children (it’s October tomorrow. OCTOBER.) is because you live your life in such short jumps. To a child everything is immediate. I am thinking no further ahead than the next meal or the next load of diapers or the next activity we can do. This sort of repetitive busywork is rewarding and fulfilling – I know just how lucky I am to be sitting here reading books with Olive, or chasing her around the coffee table and hearing her squeal – but then I lift my head and two weeks have passed. Eight weeks. Six months. A year.
So during nap times I sometimes sit down fully intending to one thing, but I find myself half an hour later doing another, or oftentimes doing nothing at all.
I pass these days through my fingertips and I try to distinguish one from the other. I try to remember what I think and what I feel – I had opinions once, didn’t I?
I try and tease out the parts of me that are just me. I dust them off and take them out, watch them begin to work again like rusty gears just to reassure myself that they are still there.
Hello, hello. It’s been a while.