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
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.