So we have been at my parents’ house for almost a month now. It has been awesome. No cooking dinner while listening to a screaming Pipes in the background, trying to keep the Hoo from harming herself, the dogs or just basically destroying the house. Cable TV. Mom’s cooking. Male figures for the Hoo. Two (and sometimes 3, 4, 5) extra sets of hands. Just awesome.
Within two days I got to be by myself. Yes, I was just upstairs unpacking while my dad was watching the girls in the family room, but I WAS BY MYSELF. There was no Hoo hopping around, unfolding clothes or putting things where she thought they should be. There was no baby strapped to my body or within 2 feet of me. I wasn’t responsible for either one of them. For 45 glorious minutes, I was ALONE. This was the first time I had been alone in such a long time. The Hoo and I were apart in November for eight days, but since I was on bed rest, I don’t really think that counts as being alone. Neither does the time in the hospital for the preterm labor with nurses, doctors, stat checks, meds & tests every hour or less. I was still very responsible for a life, and Pipes has never let me forget she is around from oh about 13-14 weeks pregnant. Seriously. In fact, I don’t think I have been alone since I graduated last May.
A couple days later I got to take a walk with the Hoo sans Pipes. Looking through all the pictures I have been taking, almost every single one with me & the Hoo I am wearing Pipes. If she is not attached to me, she is somewhere within arms reach. I left Pipes with my dad, gave into the shrieking “WALK” and banging on the door from the Hoo, and took her out for a walk around the neighborhood. It was wonderful, just the two of us for once. The loop that my parents’ live on is 1/3 a mile, which took us about 20 minutes. We held hands, she played in the dirt numerous times, looked at birds & flowers, laughed at doggies & chased each other up the road. I got to enjoy her and she got to enjoy her mommy all to herself. I think she needed some mommy time.
I got to go to the grocery store alone. I haven’t been in a grocery store alone in over 2.5 years. I know some of you are probably thinking, well, wait didn’t the Hoo just turn 2? Once the belly started demanding shrimp cocktail, 7 layer Mexican dip, 3 pound bags of gummi bears & took the opportunity to periodically knock entire cartons of eggs all over the shopping belt, I no longer considered myself to be alone. It was awesome. Admittedly, I did miss the Hoo mooing in the dairy section, but to not have to explain to a 2 year old why we can’t eat apples through produce bags or why we can’t have the live lobsters in the tank was great. So was not having to call a store employee for a broom over a bag of chips the Hoo dumped out or projectile vomit from Pipes that would put the girl in the Exorcist to shame. And the selection of organics up here was much nicer too.
Just last week I had to go to the pharmacy after the Hoo got on the counter & opened the ‘child-proof’ cap on Pipes’s reflux meds, spilling it everywhere. When I pulled out of the driveway, I realized that I didn’t even have a carseat in my car. Just Pipes’s base. I drove somewhere without my children. There was no LeapFrog annoying toy music, no screaming, and no shouts of “Gee-gee” or “Milk!” My car was my car again. I had the local college radio station on, the windows down, and the WV spring air blowing the scents of damp grass & mountains in my hair. For a minute I could almost pretend it was ten years ago, when I had no responsibilities but school.
Then I reached into my cup holder for my water and found a binkie, a medicine dropper & some practically smashed plain crackers. Everything was sticky. Reality.
And I wouldn’t trade it for all the college fun in the world.