Can I just tell you, CAN I JUST TELL YOU how utterly wonderful these past three hours have been!? It's so strange, the things I have done, would have never equalled a fabulous late morning-early afternoon before I became a Mom. It's such an odd realization...
Katy came for three hours today because Noah is on spring break. Knowing that I had a full THREE hours, to do what I'd like, to not worry about driving half way across town to get back to nursery school, or strategically leaving where I am 3o minutes early to pick Noah up right on the dot, was just wonderful. I was relaxed, felt productive and free. It makes me such a better parent to have "me" time during the week. It's not time spent in a spa or on a shopping spree, it's just some space. Space to get the grocery shopping done without a screaming toddler throwing cereal out of the cart. It's time for actually feeling like a 29 year old adult, quietly standing in line (INSIDE!!!) the bank like the rest of the world does instead of being forced to do the drive-up ATM with Noah.
We were married, bought a house and had a baby all in 9 months and 2 days. Sometimes I look back, as most of us do, and wonder where the old me went. For Jon and I though, the three huge milestones of growing into true adulthood happened much more quickly than for most people. That abrupt switch, makes me a little sad sometimes and I miss just being me. I miss being "Lauren, the girl who saw herself as a girl", not as "Lauren, slightly haggard looking Mommy." I saw myself before our wedding as "Lauren, the girl with her whole life ahead of her", the world was mine, so many avenues to explore in career and travel, hobbies and friendships and love. Now, I'm just "Lauren, frustrated, struggling Mommy who is a stay-at-home, but kind of wishes she has a part-time career so she could talk to adults and feel a sense of accomplishment and purpose like her husband does, but can't find work that would really cover the cost of good childcare and besides her son would miss her and I'm sure after 4 hours away from him, she would miss him too."
Now I'm tearing up (I'm fine) because I really am so conflicted. You've got to understand, several years ago, we had moved back to Detroit from San Francisco and I was full of excitement and energy. So many exciting things were going on besides our up coming wedding. I was looking at schools where I could possibly continue my interior design minor and sit for licensing, or even start from scratch and get the counseling degree I had always wanted. I was scouting jobs and making crafty little, adorned baby tee's and barrettes to sell, and was in my first craft sale. It was a fun time, but most of all, I felt that amazing feeling of being young and being free, the world as my oyster.
Having a child not only ages you instantly and for me, took me out of the most of my friend's current situation in life, it can also put a giant stop sign on any future aspirations you might have for quite a long time. Five or six years to some might not seem like a lengthy amount of time, but when you are at the starting gate, ready to zoom out, being faced with a five or six year hold on your plans, it can be a little bit of a let down.
Just call me "Tangent Girl". Where was I.... the point is, is that I felt so ALIVE, to be just ME at the bank! Nobody saw me as some poor schlep of a Mommy. I was just an adult in the world, I was just "Lauren". I miss that so much. When you are a mother, especially a stay-at-home-mom, your identity to yourself and the outside world is as a "mom". Sure, that can be fine, but sometimes I want to be seen as just plain old "me".
Katy came over just before 11:00 and I happily went out on errands just as "me". It was great! First I headed over to the house that my parents are going to be moving to shortly. The house was in need of some updating and they ended up renovating the whole place. At one point the original kitchen's counter tops were taking out. Those counter tops are made of Corian and much nicer than our simple laminate counters. We are due to replace them because of scratches and stains, so my mother is letting me have the Corian tops installed at my house! I went over to make sure that they were something I wanted and to check out the length. My mother introduced me to her contracted as "Lauren, my daughter" and it struck me that this was the first time in a while that I was introduced to someone new without Noah. I thought about it as I left that for all he knows, I'm just a 29 year anything! I could be a 29 year old interior designer or an accountant or mail woman. He didn't automatically see me as just a mom. Odd to think so deeply on such things, but so be it, those were my thoughts.
After giving the counter tops a "go", I went over to the bank. As I pulled into a space, I heard some honking, looked up and saw my mother speeding down the street, on her way to meet a tile guy. I thought it must be nice to have so much "me" time, to have the freedom to get her new house done or to paint beautiful paintings and rescue dogs like she does. As my mother has reminded me on more than one occasion though, and this does make sense, she too, as do most people, spent many years as a mother and in a full time career. She works hard to this day and loves what she does, which may be the ultimate point in life.
I went into the bank, no toddler in tow, and took out some money to pay Katy with. Our balance was right where I expected to be, no panic, so in my book, a great trip to the bank all around.
After the bank I made the drive across town to Home Depot to buy some sand for Noah's sand table. On the way I listened to the Dian Rhem show, one of my favorites on NPR. Most any day is a good day with NPR playing in the background. It was nice, I don't always get to listen to NPR in the car, I have to be fair to Noah and play his music for him, at least most of the time.
Home Depot had the sand. I got a great parking space. The 50lb. bag of sand felt so heavy. It seems much more difficult to carry a 50lb. bag of sand than a 50lb. kid around. At least, I think. The guy who checked me out made a slightly anti-Semitic remark to me about ladies bitching him out for not having propane today because they needed to cook their passover chicken. So i had a lot of fun making him put his foot in his mouth as I told him I was Jewish and said that we are all crabby (Jewish or not) somedays. (By the way, I am half Jewish but frankly, for the record, I'm fundamentally a mix between a secular humanist and a Hindu. Just so you know..)
After Home Depot, I got to listen to NPR again! This time, it was "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross, another favorite. She had on the three comedians that make up "The Axis of Evil", very funny. This is serious, I have been carrying around in my trunk for FOUR months, some clothes to return and I have never, until today, gotten to return them. I knew that I would be given an in-store due bill, so I wasn't in a big rush, but come on...four months? I never had time during the week to get out there, but today I did! Found some nice things that fit Noah this time around and even got a baby gift for a friend.
After that I was left with just over an hour before I needed to get home. It was about 1:00, so I decided to grab some lunch. I can't say enough about how great it is to eat a sandwich in your car, on a warm, sunny day, while listening to NPR. Wait, I must be obsessed with NPR. The deli I got my sandwich from was packed, there really weren't tables, so I got it to go and munched while listening to a book review about "The Mistress's Daughter". It actually sounded interesting, I might check it out.
With less than an hour left and no other quick errands that needed to be completed, I went for a coffee a.......................