A Few Hours To Myself

For the first time since I can't remember, I have a few hours to myself in my own home. There are plenty of times I leave the house without T or W, but rarely do the boys go out and leave me at home. Usually, T is the one who gets a quiet house, at least once a day when I take W out with me somewhere.

T warned me not to "squander" my situation. But I hadn't anticipated getting this break, so I didn't have anything particular to get done that I need a quiet house. Sure, there are the 2009 taxes to do, and I could do laundry in peace or try to straighten up the sewing room, but to me, doing any of those things would be to squander this opportunity.

So I've just been enjoying the quiet. I read yesterday's paper while relaxing on the sofa. I came upstairs and downloaded some files and have started preliminary work on creating a logo and/or a sign for our farm. But, sitting up here, alone, in the quiet, I am really mostly enjoying remembering how things used to be.

I never had to worry about having a few hours of quiet time where I could do whatever I wanted-- I had days and days of free personal time when T was on the road. I could have time to read the paper or a magazine AND do the laundry, AND cook whatever I wanted, and I was never rushed (well, sometimes I would rush to clean up the squalor I'd created before T came home from the airport after one of his trips).

I had time to go shopping, or to the spa, or to meet friends for dinner. It was a very relaxed life, in retrospect. I mean, compared to a lot of my friends now, I have a very relaxed life, even with a husband at home all the time and a baby. But now that I am free of them, if only for a few hours, I realize that I have just adjusted to a new definition of relaxed. What I have now is relaxed-for-having-a-toddler-at-home. It's not really "relaxed". THIS is relaxed, with NO toddler at home.

Although I can't say that I mind this new version of relaxed. I had many years of a truly relaxed lifestyle. Although not every DAY was relaxed, the constant moving around from NY to VA to NJ or wherever we were when T was on one of his multi-week business trips required a lot of planning, and was not what I would call relaxing. Fun, different, interesting, but not generally relaxing until we settled in, if we were in any one place long enough to settle in. But many, many days, here and there, were legitimately relaxing. Way more than most Americans get, I suspect. I am certainly glad to have lived it, because when I get a few hours like this, I can recall what the "real thing" felt like.

If I had never had a truly relaxing lifestyle, I suspect that I would not be able to truly enjoy these few random opportunities I get now. I suspect I'd be tempted to do things like the laundry, or clean the kitchen, or whatever, in peace and quiet, without T or W getting in my way. And if I had never had that opportunity before, I might think it was relaxing. But I know better. A truly relaxing lifestyle will allow time for all that, AND MORE. I'm just starting with the "and more", and when I'm tired of inactivity, I'll get up and do something useful. I'm nearing that point, which is good, because I expect the boys to be home any time now, and I'll be expected to handle W's bedtime routine.

But just an hour of sitting on the couch in a quiet home, reading the paper in peace brought me back to a time when I had days and days to sit at home in peace. I generally wasn't lonely, I like the quiet. I would leave the house twice a week (once for groceries and other shopping, once for church), and that really would be plenty. Sometimes I miss that. Now I spend a LOT more time in my car. I probably average an hour a day. But W likes to go out and see new things, so why not take him? It's a nuisance that we're a 30-minute drive from town, ideally we'd be able to walk to activities, and there's a big difference there. But I'm trying to find more things to do here in Crozet-- now that the beaches are closed for the season (yeah, before Labor Day, due to budget cuts), hopefully our play group will start getting together again.

Oh-- I see the beginning of the sunset. I used to go out on the porch and watch the sunset every night. For the past year, it's pretty much been precluded by W's bedtime routine. Maybe I'll get in one little sunset-break tonight. For old time's sake.

I'm not sure how to classify this emotion. I don't really want to go back to the days of T on the road and me at home, since I like having both T and W around. But I do appreciate those days. I don't want them back, yet I enjoyed them. So I guess it's just nice to get the feeling back for a little bit, as a reminder. Is this nostalgia? No, I just looked it up. Nostalgia is a "bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past," and that's not what I've got. I've got no longing for it, I lived it until I had my fill, and I'm happy to have moved on. Ah, aren't online thesaurus's convenient? I found the definition for "reminiscence", that's all it is. I've been reminiscing. I guess it didn't occur to me, since usually it's in the context of something you do with other people who have known you a long time, and you're thinking about your shared history. But in this case, that doesn't apply, since I'm reminiscing about all the time I got to spend alone, in freedom. The whole point was that I didn't have to share my time with anyone, I was free to do whatever I wanted, and I really did, and enjoyed it.