I am one of those people who is not totally hating life right now.
I appreciate the down time.
I appreciate the extra time with my kids, especially Number 4 who is leaving for boarding school (and no, I’m not shipping her off — she has wanted to go for 2 years and she got a full, 4 year scholarship).
We have focused A LOT on the life skills stuff we aren’t able to spend so much time on when there is school and homework and swimming and wrestling and track and cross country.
I’m a homebody.
I am one of those people who really would be okay living in a cabin in the woods for a year.
But today is day fifty-five.
For fifty-five days I have not been alone.
That’s 1,320 hours in a row of not being alone.
Okay, that’s not true.
I’ve gone grocery shopping on the past six Fridays.
I’ve been alone then.
It’s about 2 hours every time I go grocery shopping.
So I’ve had about 10 hours of alone time there.
And I exercise every day.
On the days I go for a run, I have some alone time then.
But that’s it.
From 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. I am not alone.
There are one or two or three or four or five kids awake.
And close by.
Asking what’s for breakfast.
Asking when lunch will be ready.
Asking for help with school work.
Asking if they can use the iPad a little earlier than normal.
Asking if they have to do their chores.
Asking if I will play a game with them.
Asking if they can have ice cream.
Asking if we can go for a walk.
Asking if we can do a puzzle.
Asking if I will buy them an app.
They have honestly been very well behaved for the most part.
They are lucky there are five of them here.
I’m lucky, too.
There is always someone to play with. They can play hide and seek and tag and badminton and board games and anything, really.
There is lots of noise.
Lots of happy noise.
Lots of laughter.
Lots of memories being made that I believe they will cherish when they are parents.
But there are five of them.
And they are kids.
They do shit to purposely piss each other off.
They push buttons.
They have massive, Level 10, Code RED meltdowns.
And the one who is here for all of those things is me.
It’s not just during the day.
Even though they are 8, 9, 10, 13 and 14 years old, they also wake up in the middle of the night.
When that happens, I’m the one they wake up.
No matter what.
So even once they are in bed, there is no guarantee I’ll be alone for a stretch of 6 or 8 hours.
They still have bad dreams and other stuff that wakes them up on some sort of let’s-fuck-with-mom rotation.
It’s a conspiracy.
Mom must never be alone.
I realize I am lucky for other reasons.
I live in the suburbs where I have a nice yard and we can spend as much time outside as we want to.
We don’t live in a city where we aren’t allowed to go anywhere.
I am never alone.
There is never really a break.
Even if their father is home, it’s like he’s wearing Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak.
He could be literally five inches away from them, but they will still climb a hundred flights of stairs (we have three in our house, but you know they’d climb a hundred) to ask me to get them something to eat or to find whatever it is they are unable to locate.
(But ask them to go pick up that thing they left on the floor that’s three feet away from them and suddenly they are unable to move).
Whether they are attempting to beat the crap out of each other or playing so nicely you have to take a picture of it and post it to Facebook as evidence that they — and you — don’t suck, it doesn’t really matter.
Because never being alone is really hard.
I love my kids.
I love them so much.
I’d slay dragons and jump in front of an oncoming bus and do whatever I had to to protect them.
I mean, I’ve already listened to them “summarize” countless books and I’ve watched them play Minecraft and I’ve sat through every torturous Disney TV show multiple times and watched dozens of stupid YouTubers who are apparently hilarious to people under the age of sixteen.
Clearly my love for them is unmatched.
When life returns to busier times and stores and gyms and pools and friend’s houses open back up, I’ll look back on these times and be grateful for the opportunities they have given us. I’ll probably only remember the good stuff.
The bad stuff will probably fade into nothingness.
And I suppose once the day comes that all the kids are back in school again, and I have a string of consecutive hours all to myself, the house will seem really empty and really quiet and really lonely and really echo-ey and really…
But right now?
Well, right now, sometimes it’s just really, really hard to always not be alone.