Well, actually, it was a planned get-away for myself so don't worry.
Motherhood. I knew, going into this, that it was a tough gig. I was aware that it would be hard. I wasn't overly romantic about it, nor was I surprised when having a newborn was stressful and challenging. I wasn't surprised when having two kids 17 months apart was hard. I am not surprised that having three kids under the age of four is exhausting.
But MAN. It's one thing to not be surprised. It's one thing to expect and know the Hard. It's such a different thing to live it, breathe it, sleep it, be woken by it several times a night, cry it, be interrupted by it every four minutes when I am just trying to get this one last thing finished.
Sacrifice, unconditional love, service. Exhaustion. Brokenness - becoming more aware of my brokenness, impatience, selfishness, as it manifests in new ways. Learning ways to confess my sin to a three year old and ask forgiveness - that's Hard. But it's also the only way to teach grace. By living it.
Every once in a while it really helps me to get away alone. I recognize that it's a luxury and that many moms, especially single moms don't get that chance very often unless someone offers to take their kids. But it's not just a luxury; at this stage of my life, a couple hours alone a month is practically a necessity.
This is what happens when I leave with just a purse instead of a diaper bag:
- I put my wallet, phone, keys, and knitting in a purse, do my makeup, put on my shoes and just walk out the door. I don't have anyone else to get dressed, there is no fussing about the clothes picked out or the seasonally appropriate shoes or the hair accessories selected.
- I decide my own agenda without having to consider anyone else. I don't have to think about diaper changes, where and when to nurse, how many diapers to pack, whether I need to bring snacks, whether to keep the toddler in underpants or use a pull-up, and if the former, how many extra outfits to pack along.
- I can get in and out of the car in under thirty seconds. I just turn off the car, grab my purse, unclick my seatbelt, open and then lock the doors and go. No carseat straps to buckle or unbuckle, no shoes to put back on little feet, no faces to wipe snack from, no infant carseat to lug to a cart. In fact, in a store, I can even walk around without a cart.
- I have conversations with other adults with no interruptions. This is one I really used to take for granted and probably one day will again. I can count at least five conversations I had with adults this morning that didn't once include a whispered "Stop that!" or "Just a minute honey!" I wandered through the Farmer's Market, learned more information about a garden pest from the Master Gardener booth and tasted honey without having to share and then wipe sticky faces. I talked with a woman in Joann's about a pattern and about sewing and about my kids.
- About two hours after I leave, I start to miss my kids and remember how fun they are to be around and even though I am having fun away from them, I am looking forward to seeing them again soon.
- About another hour after that, I'm about ready to head home. Three hours of quiet with myself, my journal, a cup of coffee, a couple errands that are way more fun to do without kids... and I am eager to see their faces.
- When I walk in the door, they actually smile to see me. They got a chance to miss me too! The baby wants to cuddle, the preschooler wants to hug me and play with me and tell me about the fun things they did while I was away. I am so tempted to pick up the sleeping toddler in her bed and kiss her long eyelashes but restrain myself.
I really love being a mother. I fiercely love children, especially the three who sleep under my roof. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places (Ps. 16). It is good to be away and it is good to come home.
A Gypsy Heart
She'd a Gypsy heart, and home-staying feet;
She loved camp-fires- and an ingle seat.
When summer rain shook its tambourine,
She snapped her fingers - but locked the screen.
She caught up her hair with a high jeweled comb
Then whisked egg whites to angel foam.
If stars inveigled her into the night,
She returned, like a moth, to the candle-light.
For the Romany call in the south wind's throat,
A kettle's hum was antidote.
She'd a Gyspy heart, but it couldn't pull
Her home-staying feet from their chimney stool.
---Ethel Romig Fuller