I'm not sure there is a word for the opposite of lonely. If there is one, I have certainly never had an occasion to use it. Because (insert party dance here), I am an EXTROVERT. Full on, with no apologies. Or at least I used to be. Or at least I thought I was.
To be honest, I'm not sure what I "am" anymore...
Except that, right now, I AM completely and totally the opposite of lonely.
I write this blog (and shamelessly plug it on my facebook page) with absolute respect for my dear friends who are struggling with loneliness. For the ones who are ready for love and haven't found it yet. For the ones who are desperately trying to have a baby and are struggling with infertility. For the ones (and it hurts just to type this) who have even lost a child or a spouse.
I love you and I hurt for your loneliness. I am full of sympathy, dear one. I assure you.
That said, please allow me the pleasure of sharing a list of things I would do if I could ever get a flipping day to myself.
If I could have 24 hours alone, I would:
1). Sleep. Oh sweet baby Jesus in the manger, I would sleep. And SLEEP IN. Like, past when the sun wakes up. Oh yes. That.
2). Sit outside by a pool, turn my face to the sun and just BASK.
3). Listen to the sound of whatever not listening to the sounds of my children sounds like.
4). Watch a super SUPER girly movie. Or Bridesmaids. And laugh at all the naughty parts that I "shouldn't" laugh at. (Sorry, family. Honesty.)
5). Eat a zero calorie blueberry donut. No, SAVOR a zero calorie blueberry donut. As in, eat tiny little bites one at a time in no rush. (Note: zero calorie blueberry donuts don't exist but this is my fantasy so I'm allowed.)
6). Drink my coffee in that beautiful and perfect window of time where it is neither too hot nor too cold. I haven't experienced that window in AT LEAST 6 months.
7). Take a bath without listening for the sounds mentioned in #3.
8). Eat a meal I don't have to share.
9). Vacuum my floors. Sound strange? Laila HATES the sound of the vacuum and, because I like to be sensitive to her, I don't vacuum nearly as often as I should. Yes, I know. I should not allow my child to dictate when and how I clean my house... blah blah blah.You know what else?? For that glorious 24 hours, I wouldn't have to think for ONE SECOND about what people think of my parenting choices, for goodness sake!!
10). I would write the children's book that has been floating around in my head for 4 months.
If, right now, you're thinking "Chels, you have to time to write this blog... Go do some of what you've just mentioned rather than sit there typing!" Oh, my friend, I'm writing this while Laila pulls on my arms, puts her head in my lap and asks me for more cranberry juice. With Mickey Mouse Clubhouse singing it's happy tune in the background.
I'm telling you, people. I am NEVER. ALONE.
Now, sit tight while I go refill someone's cranberry juice.
And then... (big sigh), I'm driving down I-75 and I see the billboards for the fertility clinic that say things like "Want to change your name to Mom?" or show a positive pregnancy test with text that says "Still waiting?" and I remember how easily Trevor and I were able to get pregnant. Or I hear of a child struggling with cancer and see a picture of her mom and dad, smiling, by her hospital bed and I realize, with joy and utter amazement, that our children are healthy and strong. Or a Dallas fireman dies trying to help stranded and injured motorists in a sudden ice storm Monday evening and I think "God, I would die if anything happened to Trevor..." and, all of a sudden, being alone doesn't sound all that wonderful.
"Perspective" reminds me that these years are short. These years are SO SHORT. I see the way grandmothers look at me in the grocery store; a mix of amusement, nostalgia and maybe even a bit of envy on their faces and I know that there will come a time when I am alone much more often than I am now.
Last night, while the 4 of us were reading bedtime stories, Laila looked at Trevor and I and asked "When I'm all grown up, will ya'll miss the little Laila?" It was such a sweet and poignant question and Trevor answered it so beautifully... while I tried to hide the tears that ran down my cheeks despite my best efforts to hold them back.
Right now, I choose to take the opportunities I have when I have them. I'll catch a bath during naptime. I'll turn my face to the sun and close my eyes for, like, 45 seconds at the playground while Laila plays. I'll drink lukewarm or too hot coffee.
Gratefully, and with a full heart, I'll listen to the sounds of my children.
Because it won't be long now before listening to the sounds of my children is no longer an option.
So, play on, little ones. Mommy is listening.