I can safely say–with the highest authority–that when 24 hours of free time is yanked away from a mother, from any parent, she feels a stupid angry, foot stomping, utterly heart-broken kind of a disappointment.
But, before I go on, let me share a disclaimer. These are, indeed, first world problems. And not even real problems in the very grand scheme of things. I’m well aware. Thanks for noticing. Anyway…
Disappointment. Yup. It builds in the back of your throat, leaving a bitter taste and a very heavy, heavy heart. The festival and 24 hours planned with my friend this weekend have been canceled due to weather. No friend, no music, no 24 hours of kid-free me, no fun.
Why so dramatic?
Oh. Well. Don’t you know?
This is about time, you see. Free time. Time to be yourself and find yourself. Time most parents just don’t ever get.
Let me be clear, however. I don’t really care or think about “getting out” much during the normal routine of my week. I’m not home stewing and pouting about some “grass is greener” bullshit. Things are good, you know? The kids are doing great in school, work is trucking along, we have busy days, and baseball evenings, and chores to get done and trips to the pool. Bills get paid, everyone is healthy, things are moving along nicely.
I’m lucky and grateful for it. And while I grumble about losing so much time at our local baseball fields and never getting a moment alone with my husband, that is just parenting. It’s cool.
I GET IT.
But then, when you allow yourself the possibility of freedom, you kind of start to get… excited. REALLY excited. Because it’s not an easy thing to finagle. It’s coordinating my schedule, my children’s schedules, my husband’s schedule, and then the same for any friend involved. It’s making sure every mother’s child is accounted for during that time away. And, as I’ve mentioned before, my really great friends don’t live around here. So if it (gasp, what a lucky thing) involves them (!!), it means airline tickets and money and planning this whole thing out way, way in advance.
And when ALL of that actually happens and those stars somehow, just barely, align — you look around and think… I’m free.
You let yourself get psyched. The gerbil wheel of everyday responsibilities suddenly becomes more obvious but something you can now actually imagine having a break from. 5 more days. 4 more days. 3 more days. I can get all of this done so I can make it happen.
Freedom is just about here!
A. WHOLE. TWENTY. FOUR. HOURS.
If your time is your own, stuff like this, stuff like canceled concerts and friends having to change plane tickets, is a bummer. But not the kind of thing that almost makes you weep at work. That would be silly, right? No grown woman would actually weep over a missed concert.
Thanks to some horrid weather, the 24 hours is gone. And I *almost* did weep. Almost. But I didn’t.
Because the gerbil kept right on turning. Deadlines, baseball, groceries, dinner, dishes, more baseball tomorrow morning.
And how can I really complain? I mean, HOW DARE I. I am so sweetly blessed with this family of mine. Nothing can suck that bad when I have THIS, right?
Very right. Yes. It doesn’t suck, not one bit.
So, that’s why this kind of disappointment triggers that pouty, angry little girl deep, deep down. The Veruca Salt buried somewhere inside me RISES up and has herself a fine hissy fit right there in my brain.
I want *MY* way. For ONCE.
Silly. Bratty, really. But I want it. I want my time away.
So I’m pissed. I love my family and love that we will have a weekend together after all. But if you were to look at me right now, I’m afraid you would see right through my exterior and find my bouncing ringlets, and bright red, tear-streaked cheeks. My patten leather shoes stomping in a rage with clenched fits punching at my crinoline all around me.
Mommy time away is that big of a deal, people. It just is.
“I want the world. I want the whole world. I want to lock it all up in my pocket. It’s my bar of chocolate. Give it to me now.”