Okay. It’s been five full days since I’ve been let loose to venture out into the world again---without kids.
I admit I’m out of practice and have no idea what I’m doing. And, not a clue how to interact with adults without loud, pestering children tugging at my limbs all day long.
In fact, it feels as though I’m operating without my extremities.
I’m chatting aloud all day long to nobody. Listening to talk radio and whatever-the-heck else I want to.
I find myself glancing over my shoulder in fear and panic-stricken. I’m being trailed by the DCF for abandoning my kids at some random store.
But, I did not. They are safe and sound---euphoric at camp. All. Day. Long.
My mundane activities haven't changed much. However, a few routine stops have evolved into novel experiences now "kid-free."
1. The Supermarket
I literally “ran” in for a few things and for the first time, didn’t factor in the additional $4 “I’ll-buy-you-something-to-shut-you-up-love” payoff---($2 per kid.) Yet, after making an involuntary beeline to the bakery to request my free cookie, I suddenly observed no kids were tagging along and thus, declined to ask.
2. The Bank
The teller asked me what flavor lollipops I wanted and before placing my order, the deafening silence reminded me of my solitude.
3. The Gym
“Sorry, but the Kids Club is closed…”the receptionist began, trailing off when she glanced up and realized I was alone (and glowing.)
4. BJs Club
It’s undeniable that the regular shopping cart is much easier to maneuver than the clumsy 18-wheeler I typically push around and inadvertently crash into the heels of unsuspecting strangers. And the Self Check-Out line was a breeze for I hadn't the need to contend with wrestling toddlers back into the 18-wheeler---whilest re-loading the truck-cart.
5. The Dentist
Since my accident, I’ve had lots of dental work done. The two toddlers usually accompany me. Keeping a sharp eye on them works as a great distraction to soldier through a root canal. But not today. Today I closed my eyes and “meditated” through the drilling. It was heavenly.
And this week’s highlight was:
6. Pier One Imports
With a generous gift card in hand, I paraded into the store to select all household items and indulge, once in for all, in making the coveted purchase---one I’ve been waiting for since my birthday back in February.
In short: After consulting with three sales attendants, engaging in considerable analysis, and investing approximately 58 minutes, I strutted over to the cash register and whipped it out like a winning lotto ticket.
“Sorry Ma’am. This is Pier One. Your card is from Pottery Barn," and she points to it as if I don't read. "I cannot accept that here--- you flaky rookie.” (Italics mine.)
Shocked and deflated, I explain,
“Oh, I’m just so over the moon to be here I can’t even think straight. It’s only my second day out without kids,” I grinned apologetically. Wonder what she thinks I did with them? Or where I had been-- (prison?) I didn’t elaborate.
I left the store laughing at my stupidity.
But I did notice something. Something I never knew existed. At least, it hadn't for me for TEN CONSECUTIVE YEARS.
"The not-often-spoken of Secret Society of Relaxed Moms. For me, they had been a myth, like something from a Disney fairytale.
And just because I now have proof of their existence, joining the ranks of this subculture of maternal tranquility---ambling around, browsing, chatting and smiling--- with time on their hands, will be challenging for a manic maven like me.
I’d been living in another stratosphere, a Machiavellian world---one full of pressure to enter and exit from any public establishment as quickly as possible.
In this space I operated and thrived and consumed loads of coffee. My rhythm of speech quickened, hand-eye coordination grew precise, and reaction time honed to that of a boxing champion; I was conditioned for battle. I had to keep up with 5 little Thoroughbreds.
Making the transition into this other state of consciousness for 6.5 hours a day is going to take some re-wiring of the brain. Invariably, the body will go through its own changes.
But I don’t mind.
For the first time, I’ve got the time.