Yesterday, my husband sent me to Lüneburg to shop for the afternoon.
No, really. I must have made his ears bleed with my question, on repeat, all morning.
“Are you really sure you’re okay with this honey?”
“Yeah. Don’t worry about it.”
“…I mean, I don’t HAVE to go today, and you had such a hard week…”
“We’ll be fine. We’ll have fun, right kiddo?”
“Just tell me if you’re too tired. I really would be okay with that.”
“GO AWAY FROM ME, WOMAN. GO NOW.”
It’s not that I didn’t want to go, or even that it was frivolous. It’s cold, and my winter coat no longer buttons all the way down the front. I also have two long-sleeved shirts that still fit. Also, I wear contacts and rarely have any problems with them – but I broke my “just in case” glasses… oh, let’s say about two years back. There were things I sort of needed.
I was glad Martin sent me away. I had a fabulous time, walking at my own pace. I went into every boutique that caught my fancy and then some. I ate alone, people watching, at my favorite Indian restaurant. My favorite waitress in the whole universe was even there. I went home with everything I had on my list in rustling, multi-colored bags. Everything in them was for me.
I got home at suppertime to find my guys happily eating their evening bread together, at the tail end of what they told me had been a totally fabulous afternoon together. Martin had taken Joshua to the dump (“YEAH!! THE DUMP, MAMA! There was a big truck, and it was so big, and geil, and really, really cool! And then, it tipped the back part, and BRRRRANKRRRRAAAAAAHHHHKKRRR! everything fell O-U-U-T, Mama!”). He had a trailer full of junk from some renovation work they’ve been doing at his family practice, and he wanted to get rid of it. Joshua helped throw everything into the big bins. Martin had an awed, fatherly glow about him, telling me about it.
“It actually took me less time to get it done because Joshua came along, Emily. I think that was the first time that a task was easier because he was there!”
They had also: watched a live soccer game with some friends of ours, baked cookies with Nonna (Joshua’s paternal grandmama), made a fire in the fireplace. I felt only glad. The day had been a round, satisfying sphere of OMMM, full and warm and glowing.
That was yesterday’s game. Today… could be more of the same. No, it should be more of the same yoga mantra chant as yesterday - but today there is a jag that won’t leave me in peace. It keeps catching on this and that… not just today – for weeks, this awareness has been growing, and it’s a hangnail I masochistically can’t bear to cut off quite yet.
Today, I got up with Joshua at his current wake-up call: six thirty in the (potty-mouthed) morning. We had Nonna over for breakfast, puttered around the house: a day of rest just as it should be. At noon, two-thirds of us were still in our pyjamas and I had already napped. I took a quick shower and put on my new red-and-white-striped top. I look like an oddly shaped candy cane in it, but I love it. I get to count as ‘adorably pregnant’ for at least another four weeks, I think – at which point it will be all over between me and adorable for a while – so I’m enjoying it while I can. I read Joshua some Disney comics for a while, and then we made the first Christmas cookies of the season. Well, alright – they’re just ginger molasses cookies, but we got the christmas tree cookie cutter out of the baking drawer as per Joshua’s request, and now we have pre-seasonal Christmas cookies.
Then we called Joshua’s friend Timmy, and asked if he would like to come over, to which he replied,
“No thank you. Joshua should come over here and play in the forest.”(*)
(*) This is my kindhearted translation of a four-year-old’s telephone conversation. It lasted at least five minutes, and my synopsis up there is the only real communication that took place in that whole span of time. Otherwise, they just interrupted each other with partial tidbits of stories and talked about things as if their conversational partner could SEE what they held in their hands. It was entertaining.
So what is the jag in that buttery goodness, you ask? What’s not to OMM?
I guess the crux is this: I don’t mind Joshua growing up and away from me so much. Or, even more aptly: I feel like it should bother me more to let my kid go, to spend time without him – but today, exhausted from running about Lüneburg for four hours yesterday, I felt fairly relieved that Joshua got shimmied into going over to play with his buddy instead of vice-versa, even though our intention was for Timmy to come over here. Sometimes – lately more often - I am aware that I enjoy this mothering thing less than some of you. Pretend pirates is Joshua’s adorable favorite game du jour, but after just a few days of being alternatingly Cap’tn Hook or Svea the pirate girl (who’s not afraid of anything!), I was mildly bored of it. Now, after about two months of it, my brain wants OUT of Pretend Pirates. My ‘ARRRRR, ahoy matey!’ just ain’t what it used to be. And four-year-old board games? Go fuck yourself. I do not heart four-year-old board games.
I don’t think it’s necessary to insert a messy, convoluted disclaimer here about how much I love my kid. I love my kid. I enjoy the way he is. The older he gets, the more fun he gets. No question/cut and dried/y basta. I am however arriving at the conclusion that I am a mildly impatient, grown-up oriented, hermit-ish, space-needing person. That’s not to say that I am never patient (O LORD, do you remember this recent post where I DID NOT RANT though under extreme duress??), or that I never have fun with kids. But if you held a gun up to my head and demanded that I honestly answer the question, the answer would be
“YES! YES, Damn it! I choose the long walk in the woods by myself with my MP3 player! I choose the exclusive weekend getaway for recluses and serial killers in the cabin by the lake where loons do that lonely wailing I’ve heard so much about, and I could just sit and write, or go into town in my red pickup for a cup of joe and a piece of blueberry pie with the truckers, or, as a literary alternative, dive naked into the Cold, Shocking Embrace of the Inky Waters! I choose it over Funworld ™! I choose it over a day at the zoo!”
Hey, listen. Listen. I don’t have a problem with the fact that I’m not the most “Mommy” mommy on the block. I’m glad that I’ve learned to be natural with Joshua. We do well together. We have fun together almost every day. There is no need for guilt on anyone’s behalf. I see Joshua going out and doing things on his own without me – playing with friends, going to pre-school, spending time with his grandparents – and am glad for him; glad he feels confident enough in himself and in us to wander off.
But sometimes it jags a little. I get some time to myself, and the extent of my being okay with that pinches my heart in the oddest way. It’s like I wish it hurt me more. I play the four-year-old games. I just wish I enjoyed them a weensy, eensy bit more than I do. It’s a little hangnail I’m ridiculously keeping on purpose, instead of just being at peace with who I am in this family. I’m a good mom, and I love my boy.
I’m a good mom, and I love my boy.
(Drawer where the nail scissors are kept slides open.)
(Snip snip, nothing to see here, moving right along)