For the first time since I can’t remember when, I am alone.
It’s not like the alone when I’ve kicked the dog out of the bathroom while I take a shower; not even the alone like when the husband and kid are at the grocery store. Craig is on a weeklong bachelor party ski trip, which gave my mother the perfect excuse to come to Telluride and kidnap my daughter. And… I happened to receive the much-anticipated news that there’s a spot in daycare for Elle, who has been loving her two days a week there. So, this week, I’m actually staring down long periods of time (dare I say free time?) to do what I please.
My initial reaction is pure bliss. What shall I do – or more appropriately, not do – first?
1. I will not watch ESPN.
I feel giddy to think that I will spend the next seven days without knowing who choked on their putt in the Sony Open. I actually have no idea who’s going to the Super Bowl. I’m not a sports hater. I would just rather sew buttons, shuck peas or oil my cutting boards than settle in for a long evening of watching professional sports on television.
I moved this to number one on my list because it is such a rare and extraordinary occasion when there are not two to five sport-coated ESPN anchors sitting in my living room, bleating loudly about… (Fill in the blank, just be sure to include the term “one-two punch,” “showdown” or “force to reckon with.”)
In fact, I may not turn the television on at all. Maybe just for The Office. OK, and perhaps a Discovery special on weird diseases like the one where your entire face is covered in hair. (I would literally rather watch that than college football… and no, I don’t feel guilty about it.)
2. I will not cringe when the dog barks, or the phone rings, or someone knocks on the door.
I will continue to remind myself: I do not have a sleeping baby in the house. I will not have to run sopping wet and bare naked from the shower, across the room and past the large un-curtained windows to rip the phone cord from its socket – thus averting the dreaded phone call that wakes the baby, which would ruin my plans for Elodie’s naptime (not to mention my much-anticipated shower).
And on that note…
3. I will not take a five-minute shower.
Perhaps it is not environmentally sound to commit to taking as long a shower as I can stand. Or a few. But I rationalize it like this: In the last 11 months, I have cumulatively spent about as much time in the shower as most people spend picking their nose. Which isn’t that much time. For the majority of the population, that is. So, I feel entitled to an extra-long shower or two this week. Because after Grandma leaves and Craig is back, there will be diapers to change and dinners to make. Sadly, shaving my legs does not take precedence over these things.
My list goes on. It includes little things like listening to Bjork at full volume, eating cereal for dinner and making dates to go skate skiing with girlfriends. I admit, I wondered if my days would feel barren, without a baby glued to my hip all day long, or a husband to wake up to and fall asleep with. Au contraire! We’ll see how I feel at the end of the week, but for now, I am perfectly content in my aloneness. That’s not to say that I don’t miss my husband while he’s away, or that a chunk of my heart doesn’t stay with Elle while she’s at daycare or Grandma’s house. Yet the vacation from wife-dome and motherhood is welcome, necessary even. It’s refreshing to see yourself as nothing other than yourself: a Bjork-listening, cereal-eating, long shower-taking, skate-skiing ESPN-hater. A grateful wife and mother, who’s just on vacation.