I was driving around in my car alone this week when I had a sudden rush of self-awareness.
What is this odd sensation? I thought. Why, I think it's contentment.
Despite my tearful posting in August (I literally cried on my keyboard) over my youngest child going off to kindergarten, I dropped her off on the first day dry eyed (see photo at left). And then, I found myself on about Day 7 of Both Kids in School to be almost entirely adjusted to this new reality, and pretty much loving life. True, I am only alone for three hours and 20 minutes while Livie is in school. But it's five days a week! If I don't get all my errands done by myself on Monday, and I do them on Tuesday. Or Wednesday! If I don't work out today, there is tomorrow. You see my point.
The sensation of knowing that I will have this time to myself on a consistent basis for the next, say, 13 years is like a physical presence in my body. Or more like a physical lightening. For the first time in eight and a half years, I feel that what I have to manage on a given day is actually manageable. I wasn't even aware how unmanageable life felt before (at least not all the time). I never even let myself imagine this era: Mom with Kids in School.
And yet. You may notice that I have blogged only once in the month since school began. What have I been doing? Here's the answer:
*Having coffee with friends who also have kids in school, or who have adult kids.
*Taking showers and going out in public in clothes that all match, and some that have "dry clean only" labels.
* Speaking at MOPS groups (four in the last three weeks)
* Reading ( I had a cold and I lay on the couch two days in a row and FINISHED A NOVEL)
*Frivolous sewing (my god-daughter is turning one and her big day would not have been complete without a custom party hat)
*Gardening. My pots are filled with cheap seasonal mums.
* Counting my blessings.
And yet again. My favorite day in the last four weeks was spent with my friend and her three children ages 11 months to four years. I gave the two eldest horsey rides and put the baby to sleep using my mad infant skills. I thought about that sleeping dumpling on my chest for the rest of the day, and probably also into the night.
Meanwhile, I said "Goodnight, baby" to my Kindergartner a week into her public school career, and she said, "I'm not a baby! You don't have any babies, anymore, Mom. We are both big girls now." Gulp. Sniff. And then I spent the next three weeks having dreams about having babies, adopting babies, being given other people's babies.
So don't let my put-together appearance and contented air fool you. I'm not made of steel. I am mourning the end of the early childhood in my own way. But I am available for coffee dates while I mourn. And if you have a baby you need held, bring her with you.