Freedom is Not Much Fun

This week I did something I havent been able to do in eleven years. As the only parent in the house I took a shower. And I washed my hair. And I shaved my legs. All in just one shower!

For eleven years this has been a three-part process broken up by moments of answering the door dripping wet in my bathrobe while Jehovah’s Witnesses return my runaway preschool-aged son, of having to stop and referee fights over who controls the television, of answering a phone thrust at me while I have soap running in my eyes.

But now, all the little urchins are in school. I can lather rinse and repeat! My legs once again know what lotion is! My mouth zings from mouthwash not just a quick brush and spit while I fly down the hall to save a child from toppling off the makeshift ladder designed to ferret out my hiding places for cookies and other sweets.

I can now sit down and eat my breakfast and lunch.

For kicks, I mopped the floor. Mopped it! No little ones tromped through my hard work making little muddy shoe prints. I made my bed and picked up my own room because I knew that there was no little busy body dragging a shovel through the house on the way to dig up my roses looking for buried treasure while I was out of site.

I planned a month of meals and the corresponding grocery lists. I dusted. I vacuumed. I caught up on the laundry.

I started ripping up the old carpet in the boys room so I could lay down vinyl tile. I started making plans to repaint the hall and touch up the common rooms. Did the bathroom really look good painted pale green or should I liven it up? And what about those bushes I planted? Maybe theyd look better on the other side of the yard.

Finally the kids came home!

How was your day?

Uh.

Did you have fun?

Uh.

Want a snack?

Uh-yeah.

I was dying to ask them if they missed me. I hung on their every word. Suddenly uh meant a million things, but nothing I could decipher unless it was: Mom, you need to get a life.

My sister said this would happen. The first few days would be absolute bliss and then what? All that time for myself was starting to feel suffocating. Now Im inviting the neighbor kids over for cupcakes when my kids get home just so I can make up for the deficit of chaos and noise while theyre gone during the day.

Man, I cant wait for grandkids.

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  • Warren Jewell

    GRANDKIDS! Crown jewels in an old soul’s at-home diadem.

    The sort-of controlled mayhem of one’s own child at home is a delight when considered next to shaving.

    Such ‘freedom’ (to shave?) only makes for the truth of how much you love to have them close.

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