Friday, April 24, 2015


These days I have approximately 1 hour and 42 minutes 4 days per week when both children are in school, barring Spring Breaks, volunteering in the classroom, and illness. But who’s counting?

It’s been awhile (6 years, 9 months, and 24 days) since I’ve had any daily(sorta), routine(ish) time to myself, alone, in my house, during the day, without a child napping nearby. That’s a lot of caveats. I am grateful to have had blocks of time to myself in those years given to me by family and friends caring for my kids. But there’s something about the dailiness of this time that feels different.

If we’re having a rough morning, I know I’ve got some peace coming in a few hours and it gives me a bit more tolerance. If my head is about to implode due to the sound of my child chewing breakfast (this is a thing, trust me), I know there will be space for quiet later. If I’m too tired in the evening to grade papers or check work email, I can put it off because I know I’ll have some time the next afternoon.

At first I was a bit paralyzed by my unrealistic expectations of these few hours. I would make lists like:
-clean house
-go to gym
-read book club book
-prep tomorrow’s class
and try to figure out how to multimultimultitask. Listen to audio book while running at the gym while letting subconscious mull over a previously chosen writing topic? And I would spend 15 minutes doing 6 things and not get anything done satisfactorily and feel like I wasted the time.

Not anymore. One day last week I came home from dropping Isaac off, took my shoes off, and laid down on the living room floor a la corpse pose, and breathed, and listened to nothing.

My mind feels like it’s loosening up, regaining some lost humor, adopting some perspective on issues that it has not had for awhile. I’m simmering some creative ideas and giving myself permission to let them come in time. And I’m enjoying talking to myself, either audibly or not, and paying attention to my inner dialogue.

When I do come into contact with people during my wonderhours, it’s jarring. Here I am in my wonderful silent world, entertaining myself, and then someone is staring at me, expecting a response.

I dropped off a utility bill and stood in line behind a huffing older gentleman and a quietly annoyed lady, who had apparently been waiting for some time. A second window opened (for those dropping off CHECKS ONLY, the dude clearly said) and Mr. Huffer couldn’t get there fast enough. But he was paying in cash and was sent back to the line, where he became Mr. Grumbler and Hisser. I brought my check to the window where Mr. Utility Bill Collector glanced at me with a look asking for commiseration. All I could think to say was, “Well, aren’t we pissy today?” which I did NOT say because I have an overactive filter. But the moment passed and I didn’t give him the sympathetic look. I looked like Mrs. Stoic lady who doesn’t give a damn enough to tsk tsk along with him.

I picked up Isaac from school wearing a new lip gloss I had leisurely purchased during wonderhour. His teachers complimented me on it, and my internal dialogue went something like, “Yeah, well it’s called “Movie Star” red but let me tell you, it reminds me of another profession and I’m not too keen on it.” Then I found myself trying to figure out how to spell whore so I could communicate this important thought to them without the 3-4 year olds learning a new word. “Hoar? No, that’s the frost. Hore? No, that doesn’t seem right. Oh yeah, the silent w! Whore!”  

All this time I’m looking at them silently with who knows what expression on my face. I mumbled something about how I wasn’t sure about it and my lips didn’t match the color on the tube and then extricated myself from the situation as gracefully as possible.

Hopefully some day in the near future I’ll be better able to maneuver between the circus between my ears and normal social interaction during these wonderhours. But either way, they’re pretty entertaining.