I spend so little time alone these days. When Little Smith was a baby, I actually rarely yearned for 'me time'. There was a certain peace to our routine. Obviously he babbled and cried and there were many demands, but there was also enough silence for some daily self reflection... to just hear my own voice inside my head.
Over the years that has shifted, and now I am dazzled by the pleasure of having an actual conversation with my three year old. It's a crazy, unbelievable, amazing thing to sit and talk to a human being that, it seems just yesterday, was a drooling baby. Nothing delights me more than listening to his wild views on the world. It's a true honor, but the thing is... it's never quiet anymore.
He is always talking, or asking me to feed him or watch him do something. Even when he plays by himself (a skill I don't take for granted), he is talking. And if by some miracle he decides to be quiet, the baby will inevitably fill that gap. And so, while I took easily to the 'accompanied aloneness' that comes with staying home to look after a small baby, and I hardly related to the isolation of new parenthood that many of my friends reported, I now do struggle to carve out enough solitude to keep my sanity.
James walks in the door from a long day at work and flips things on; radio, television, lights... and I just want to turn everything off again. I 'unwind' in silence, and I'm only just learning this about myself. And so, on these long days of summer, I am stealing those last moments of evening light for myself. A walk, a trip to the garden, picking peas and radishes and trying to beat the rain. All alone, and without a word.