Two Nice Days

Today has been nice, so far. I managed to jettison my children — Cordelia to nursery school and Delphine to a friend's house — and then I went to Doug Miller Books and talked with Doug Miller himself about the sad state of kids' books, then up to Bean Sprout and chatted for a bit with the girl there about our sad little house and our big reno and our big debt. Then I emerged into the sunshine and realized, not for the first time, that the thing which makes this stay-at-home mom thing so hard for me is how lonely it is. I am not one of those solitary people, one of those people who needs time alone to recharge; I need people. I would be happy if I had friends at my house all the time.

If you ask my friend Jeff from work he will tell you I spent half my time at the office hanging out with him talking about movies and TV shows and life. What he doesn't know is that I spent the other half online chatting with my brother and on my favourite message board. (Yeah, I didn't get much work done, although no-one seemed to mind.) One of my favourite times of my life was when I was in university, when there was always someone around to hang out with no matter what time of day, even if it was only some creepy Unix guy with a dirty beard.

But here I am, here I have been for almost five years, with very little company. Sometimes a friend comes over, and that's great, but mostly it's just me and the little ones, and they keep me busy and they're fun to be around (except when they're not) but they're no substitute for grown-up company. And I realized today I think that's one of the reasons I'm such a sucker for these ensemble dramas, like Firefly and Torchwood; because I miss that cameraderie and rapport and just plain companionship.

So today was good, pathetically enough, because the sun was shining in that way that makes you think maybe, one day, spring will come, and because I had a little time to myself, unhurried, to get some jobs done, and because I got to hang out with Doug Miller and the Bean Sprout girl whose name I don't even know and have some company and talk about things I care about with people who know how I feel. And I feel a little bit nourished, a little bit more filled up, a little bit less lonely.

Lest you think I'm one of those horrible mothers who is only happy when she gets away from her children, let me tell you about Family Day. Family Day is the contrived excuse for a February long weekend that the Ontario government has decreed. I am all for a long weekend in winter — I have been saying we need one for years — but I think if you are the kind of person who spends long weekends with your family you will anyway, and if you aren't nothing Dalton McGuinty says is going to make you want to.

But we like to spend our free time together, so this first Family Day, after the girls and I had breakfast we gathered all the saved-up paper towel rolls and cereal boxes and popsicle sticks and packing tape together and built a crazy castle with turrets and towers all akimbo, and then Delphine and Cordelia strapped on their smocks and I got out the poster paint and they decorated the thing, which is now on display on our desk in the living room. I figure we can keep decorating it for years, probably.

That was all done and cleaned-up-after by ten thirty, so I kicked the family into action to help me vacuum (they pick up all the toys and small furniture off the floor and I vacuum). Delphine went off to a friend's house for lunch, and while Cordelia was napping I read pages and pages of my book — chapters and chapters! — while Blake did I don't know what. Something on the computer, I think.

After Delphine came home and Cordelia woke up we all made calzone together, then the girls went to bed and Blake and I watched TV (guess what we watched?) and it was pretty much my perfect day. Playing and reading and cooking and a freshly vacuumed house? Heaven.