Friday, July 27, 2012

A Little Taste of Freedom

Last week, my grandmother passed away and I went back to Oregon for her funeral. The travel arrangements worked out to where I was able to catch a free ride to Oregon with my dad, who happened to be visiting during that time, then fly home but it meant that I had to leave a few days earlier than I really needed to. Note that I said needed, not wanted.

Therefore, I spent 5.5 days away from the boys. Because "free" trumps all. Now to some moms, it would be a horror to spend that much time away from their children. 

I'm not one of them.

This is where, depending on which camp you're in, I either look like a raging asshole of a mom, or you're thinking, yay, someone who admits that she is a human being with her own needs and personality and life outside of her children!

Either way, for those 5.5 days, I was free. I was my own person. I was responsible for nobody but myself. I got to be spontaneous. I got to relax. I got to sit in one place for longer than 15 minutes. I repeatedly walked barefoot across my mom's floors and didn't step in anything sticky. Not even once.

I got to have uninterrupted, relaxing, adult conversations. Over and over. So many that my voice was hoarse the entire week. I got to listen to people, with 100% of my attention, and respond without once losing my train of thought. Without hearing an errant scream. Without interrupting them to grab a pair of scissors out of a toddler's hand or to tell the boys to be quiet or go play somewhere else or stop hitting or to stop interrupting... oh, the irony. 

I got to visit with some of my best friends. Just us. Just adult women, catching up on life and laughing. Not being moms. Being us. Being Elizabeth, Jenny, Heather, Venessa. I went to a high school friend's birthday dinner, which basically was a mini high school reunion, and it was awesome. I didn't have to try to find a sitter, and then bow out because no one could do it. I didn't have to be back by a certain time. I could just go.


I got to connect with my extended family as me, not as my mothering self.  I got to focus on themI watched my cousin chase after her three kids, and it didn't make me think, "oh, I miss my babies". It made me think that I was happy to not be the one doing that for once. Just this one time, I was able to sit and enjoy my family, and not be primarily chasing after or keeping an eye and half of my attention on my kids.

I went to sleep when I wanted, not when I had to force myself to, to be up and at 'em at the crack of dawn (and I found that I had the energy to be up way later than I usually am... imagine that). The only butt I wiped was my own. I didn't listen to a single butt, poop, or fart conversation. 

I could suddenly decide to stop at the store for something without having to weigh the pros and cons of dragging the three boys in with me, unstrapping and strapping them into their carseats, and dealing with them in the store versus waiting until later and then thinking about when exactly "later" was going to be and how what I needed fit into that time frame. For those 5.5 days, I just did it. Whatever I needed to do, I just did it.


I was free. It was absolutely glorious. I was simply... me. I was reminded of what I instinctively knew when I was in college and made the decision to not have children (that obviously worked out) - children were going to challenge me greatly. I am not the type of person that would prompt anybody to stand up at my funeral and say, "She was born to be a mother" or "She always wanted to be a mother." In college, I learned so much about myself and really developed my personality, and the personality that emerged was of an independent, non-traditional woman who does not have the personality traits that mesh with small children. The list is lengthy, but in short, I don't like having to take care of other people. I am not patient in many areas and I like to be alone just as much as I like to be around people. Adult people. I enjoy independence, greatly.


And I am okay with that. I am fine with who I am. I am fine with the knowledge that while my love for my children is fierce, it's okay to miss them every once in a while. It's okay to be away from them, and not really even think too much about them. I do not want to be - and am not - obsessed  with and all-consumed by my children.

So I enjoyed my time alone and now I am back in the fray. I know I have something that many people beg for, pray for, would kill for: healthy, well-fed children. I know how fortunate I am. I know that so many people have it much, much worse than I do. I know there is a mother somewhere right now holding her child as he dies from hunger or illness. I know there is a mother visiting her child's grave right now, another mother watching her child suffer, and another woman sitting in a fertility clinic, praying her heart out. Right now.

And when I was in Oregon, I didn't get any slobbery kisses from my little boys. I didn't feel their little arms around my neck or hear them scream "mama" and see them run for me when I woke up in the morning and walked into the living room. I didn't hear their giggles. I didn't get to watch their faces as they rode the rides at an amusement park their dad took them to while I was gone (on the flip side, I also didn't have to smell or deal with the vomit that Brandon spewed all over the car on the way home). I didn't get to cup Connor's face in my hand and watch him close his eyes and smile. I didn't get to watch Brandon happily and proudly rock his "Bee-yo" (baby doll) on his rocking horse, like I'm watching him do as I type this.

But it was okay. Because I knew I was going back.

I know that when I was Oregon, I had something that I usually don't have, and want on a regular basis: Freedom. Just a little bit of freedom to be less "mom" and more "Elizabeth" sometimes. But I know that I will get it back in bits and pieces over the years, until eventually, it'll be all I have. And I am looking forward to that. I am looking forward to my boys being more independent. I'm looking forward to being able to relate to them on a deeper level than how bad a fart smells. I'm looking forward to being able to teach them about the deeper things in life, and to watching them turn into independent, capable, strong young men. I'm looking forward to knowing them in their adult lives. I'm looking forward to holding their babies. 

And in the meantime, I will try to grab bits of freedom where ever I can. And try not to be pecked to death.




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10 comments:

  1. yay mommy time. i got some of that in chicago and it was fucking fantastic.

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    1. Yeah I bet it was! I hope your girl is doing great and recovering quickly! And that you aren't going insane.... :-)

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  2. "or you're thinking, yay, someone who admits that she is a human being with her own needs and personality and life outside of her children"

    Yeah - this.

    I love my family. I do. I also love cocktails, watching crappy tv without commentary, weekends away, breakfast at 10am (as opposed to 5am), being able to call my parents and talk for longer than 30 seconds without having to stop and yell at someone....

    This is a great reminder that as parents, we need not be JUST parents. We are individuals.

    I am a better mother when I am given some freedom (even if it is just a quick twirl around the grocery store alone - I take what I can get and fancy it up and call it an outing)

    So, if you're a raging asshole of a mom - then so are the rest of us who read your blog!

    Please never go away. Yours is one of the few blogs I actually bother to comment on (more than a couple of words, that is)

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    1. Thank you, Kylee! I love reading your comments and how much you get it and feel the same way. You always make me smile and laugh. I don't plan on going away! Please don't go away, either!

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  3. Shoshannah Siefken-SmithJuly 27, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    So just yesterday at work as I'm yawning and irritable I said to a co-worker "You know what I really want right now? A day. Just one. Where I can stay on the couch if I want, watch whatever show I want, read if I want. No kids, no dogs, husband optional (as we rarely get time together just us right now)." He adult, married, childless male had NO CLUE what I mean. I'm glad you had a great time. I do have a slight moment of guilt for that feeling simply because my cousin is right now at Doernbecker's with her 3 yr old that started chemo yesterday for Leukemia. Still a day, just one to be free for a moment? Yeah I'd take it. Doesn't mean I don't love my monsters (Joe - 16, Blydd - 15, Alexandra - 14, Pystol - 10mo, and one on the way) Maybe I'm crazy lol... Just means I miss being able to think about something other than work and kids. And next time my husband arranges a surprise date night I'll just take it and say thanks Babe!

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    1. Shoshannah, I totally hear you. Being pregnant, you deserve SEVERAL of those days to relax and enjoy some time alone! And especially after baby arrives!

      Yes, definitely take your husband up on those dates!

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  4. Love it!!! Words well spoken from a well rested Mommy! Glad we had the chance to visit for the night and can't wait for it again!

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  5. So glad I am not the only one who misses being "me" instead of "mommy". I agree and to be honest am jealous!! 5 days must have rocked. Love my kids with all my heart but really miss being someone besides a mom.

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    1. I hear you, Lindsay! Someday, you'll get that back! (We shouldn't think about when!)

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