The Necessity of Solitude
Last Thursday, after picking up my daughter, I took her to spend some long-awaited time with my mom--just the two of them. My mom would drop Trinity off later that evening. My husband was at work. That arrangement meant that I would have the pleasure of spending time alone.
I was able to cook dinner, wash two loads of clothes, pray for an extended amount of time and talk to my friend on the phone for more than an hour. All without the tapping on the thigh, high pitched screams, the sudden sound of something dropping and/or breaking, call waiting from husband or an incessantly repeated question from the kids which I previously answered the first five times.
My husband often declares, "I need my alone time," to which I almost always take offense. Such a comment is normally followed by one or both of the following questions:
"Are we not good enough?"
"Why do you want to spend time away from us?"
But, now, I get it. Those two or so hours was refreshing--rejuvenating. No interruptions. Time by myself to do me. To do whatever I wanted to do on my own time--how fast or slow I chose to do it. Growing up, I was very much an introvert. Perhaps, I learned to keep to myself because I was the only girl growing up between three boys. I found solace in books and writing; places where I could delve into the past through history; or imagination through fiction...I would get lost for hours. Now, it is hard for me to finish a book--a fact that I am sad to admit. I am drained from work, commuting 25+ minutes, mother and wife "duties," that I am not quite sure anymore what I like to do in my spare time...I DON'T GET ANY!
Those few hours taught me the necessity of solitude. It is rejuvenating, cleansing and pertinent. As a new wife, I often reach for this imaginative goal of perfection placed in my mind by some fake illusion that is not even relevant to my life. Chasing someone else's standard only to realize it is all futile energy. Solitude is not shutting people out. It is letting yourself in. The nurturing nature of a mother is selflessness. This coupled with the emotional makeup of women and the companionship of being a wife adds up to sometimes no room for yourself. But I learned that life should not be all about pouring out. It is also about taking in. No matter how long of a relationship you have been in, you need your solitude. Request it, carve out time for it. Demand it if you have to!
Once my daughter came home that evening, I was prepared mentally for her. I wasn't super anxious that she had gotten home later than intended or that she hadn't eaten. I wasn't yelling or impatient at her tiredness masked by her grouchiness. I was consoling and understanding. Had I not had that time to myself, I'm sure the opposite would have occurred. Remember, to be alone is not to be lonely. I'm no longer afraid of my alone time...or my husband's :-)
Originally published on 5/13/14