This year hasn’t been easy for anyone. (That’s probably a gross understatement, of course.) And I think the stress of this year, whether overt or subtle, has gotten to me in ways I didn’t expect. Because today, as I sit at my computer and think about all the things I might want, or need, the only thing that comes to mind is solitude.
Solitude? Aren’t we pretty much isolating ourselves from the rest of the community?
Yes, we are. But that isolation involves six people, my friends. Six. Plus four animals. At any one time, I’m never alone. (Case in point, Benedict is here with me this morning; he’s perched on the end of the table, quietly watching me. But minutes ago, he was trying to get the string I was using, and I will admit to whisper-shouting expletives in his face. And the other morning? I was up against a deadline, and he decided it was time to play with the wrapped tampon I’d forgotten to put back in the bathroom.)
So I’ve been thinking about what I’d like for Christmas (and yes, what I actually might need to keep my mind healthy) and here’s my list:
- A week away from my family (anywhere is fine).
- A long drive, alone.
- A shower without the interruption from any person or animal.
- A toilet break without the interruption from any person or animal (you’d think my kids were still young. Should I remind you they range in age from twelve to nineteen? I’m pretty sure it’s the simple nature of ALL of us being here that we’re back to interrupting my toilet time).
- An hour after dinner where I sit with my book while everyone else does the dishes.
- An afternoon where I sit with my book while everyone else decides on what’s for dinner AND makes the dinner.
- A question from a child such as, “Mom, can I help you?” Or, “Mom, I was thinking that spaghetti [anything really] would be good for dinner. Would you like me to make it?” Or “Mom, I noticed the toilet needs cleaning, so I cleaned it. Would you like me to do anything else while you go sit and write?”
- A run without the interruption from any person or animal (I’ve been running on our treadmill).
- An entire weekend where I am not responsible for anything or anyone else and the confidence to know that my husband and children will get everything accomplished that needs to be accomplished.
- A good night’s sleep. (I thought sleep would be something I’d easily get with everyone at home. After all, there’s no need to worry about anyone getting in trouble. And yet [AND YET!], I find myself awoken by #3 as he speaks loudly about Rocket League or Minecraft or who the hell knows what to his friends over the computer. Or a husband who comes into the room well after I’ve fallen asleep and attacks the sheets, brushing the dirt that the dog tracked in and somehow only managed to get on his side of the bed. [I might have actually uttered the other night, “We need to come up with some resolution to this dirt problem quickly because this is grounds for divorce.” And I’m pretty sure Tim thought I was sleep talking. I wasn’t, friends. I wasn’t.])
While I know most of these items will never be realized, I’m a dreamer through and through. And I believe in the power of making things happen. So starting today, I’m changing my tune for the sake of myself. That solitude I want (and need) so much—I’m coming for you.
May each of you get what you want and need in these last days of 2020. (And remember, there’s no shame in forcing the hand, so to speak.)