Alone at last
“Well, why don’t you just leave the other two here…”
I must have looked like a deer in the headlights, because the dad continued, “…and go have some time…to yourself?”
The idea grew on me quickly. “Okay…are you sure you don’t mind?”
“No, they’ll keep each other entertained – they won’t bother me at all.”
I had showed up at our friends’ house to pick up my oldest with my younger two in tow. These friends have two sons: their older son is my oldest’s age and their younger son is in between my younger two. Earlier, I had dropped my oldest off to do his tour of duty with the boy scouts selling Christmas trees (with my friend’s older son) before taking my younger two shopping. He was planning to walk home (since it was about four blocks) because I didn’t think we’d be back before his shift was over, but it wouldn’t be so much later that he’d be alone at home for very long.
As I was in the checkout line, he called me from his friend’s mom’s phone.
“Hi So-and-so,” I answered, thinking it was her.
“Hi Mom, it’s Oldest. Mrs. So-and-so says I can go home with them.
“Okay, great. We’re just finishing up here. I’ll be there in a little while.”
We stopped at home to put the frozen food away. My middle son snagged his basketball, since these friends have “thee-most-AWEsome!” basketball net at the end of their driveway, which is on a private road (unlike our street, which is actually a portion of a numbered route on which there’s a good deal of traffic).
But when I got to the house, the dad was surprised to see me. “Uhm…how are you?” My oldest and his friend were both sitting at the breakfast bar with their shirts off. I quickly realized they were having “man time.”
“Well, I think I’m just a little shell shocked after taking these Middle and Youngest shopping….” I’d said, probably staring at him vacuously. While the kids had all been reverent at church, it seemed that every moment in the last three hours since then had included potty words, raucous songs (replete with potty words), poking, hitting, mocking, producing body noises, getting in each other’s space, and looking at each other “the wrong way.” There was the “let’s regurgitate water in the car” game followed by a hefty dose of “let’s trash the living room.”
“Oh, I just came to pick up Oldest.”
“I thought So-and-so was going to bring him home?”
“Oh, really… uhm…when?”
The older two quickly disappeared, so even if I had wanted to bring anyone home it would have been difficult, which it so often is when picking one of my boys up from “hanging out” (we’re not allowed to say “playdate” anymore after Diary of a Wimpy Kid).
“After she comes back from the market.”
How I wish that I could have shopped solo. I had even thought to myself when we were at the specialty grocers, Next time I come here I’m coming by myself.
“Well, alright then!” And I slipped my shoes back on as we walked out.
My youngest was thrilled with the impromptu idea of hanging out with his friend. My middle son only wanted to know how to adjust the height of the basketball net. “Bye mom!”
So, I went home, calling a friend on the way to share the news of my good fortune and heated up a cup of coffee. I lounged on the couch in the quiet living room with my toy-blinders on (since there were still Hot Wheels and Bakugan cards strewn on the floor, which I vowed to put in the good will bin if they weren’t cleaned up by bedtime, and this time I’d really do it!), and I read a book. Not a business book or a how to book, but a novel: The Nanny Diaries, which underscored both my need for alone time and my gratitude and appreciation for my children.
And I wound up having a whole hour and a half to myself before I took the kids back to church for the tree lighting on the nearby common, the arrival of Santa Claus, and cookie decorating. Boy to the world!