I’m alone more now than I’ve been in years. Two evenings a week, my boys head off to their father’s home, and I receive silence not known to me prior to my separation and solidified by my divorce. Generally, I like it. Some of the evenings fill with a meeting a church, dinner with a friend, book club, or the like, but I’m somewhat stingy with these peaceful spots in my otherwise child-filled life.
Initially, the time overwhelmed me with its openness. I carefully planned how to spend the time and often critiqued my use of these hours during and after the fact. I had certain expectations, varying from week to week. Read particular books, clean or sort part of the house, organize paperwork, meditate, complete CME credits, run errands, and so on. I was constantly disappointed in my time use, chiding myself for wasting this precious time alone.
For more than half of the last two years, I’ve felt quite ambiguous about that time, hoping (wishing, praying) for a time when that quiet didn’t exist. Not because I didn’t appreciate the solitude, but because I wanted my marriage to succeed. Married with children, the time alone may be rare, but at least I’d, well, be married. And, oh, I wanted to remain married.
But I’m not. And that’s for the best, given the circumstances. I’ve grown to accept my single status and, in the process, luxuriate in every minute of those evenings (and part of a day) that I set the agenda for me. As much as I love homeschooling and parenting my boys, 24/7 with no other parent in the house wears me out. Those breaks give me a chance to regroup and center.
And the longer I’ve had these times to myself, the more I’ve loosened the reigns on my time. I still walk into each free time with expectations of myself, but the critical voice judging my use of time is quieting, albeit slowly. Blogging’s helped. I still set goals for these times, and I still fall short of those. But blogging is always one of those goals of my alone time, and it’s one of my favorite parts of those quiet hours. Sometimes writing helps me sort my thoughts or see progress I’ve made as an individual and as a mom. It’s a creative process demanding truth and thought. It’s pleasure, and it works better without an interruption every two minutes.
So I’m alone, writing away, and content. The file cabinet remains a disaster, dust piles up on the lamp to my right, and I’m fairly certain something in the dryer needs folding. Ah well. I’m alone, writing, and loving it.