Day Twenty Nine: Ups and Downs
I woke up today feeling much better. So did the majority of my family. So after three days of being cooped up indoors, we took a little respite outside after lunch. It was amazing. The sun was out. It wasn't too cold, although I insisted on staying in the sun as much as possible and I did have my hood up. My boys and I played tag and hide and seek and we had races . . . It was truly wonderful just to get some crisp, fresh air into our lungs.
No problems when it was time to go in. No arguments. No back talk (which has been a big problem for about the last week with my four year old.) We went upstairs, had a snack and settled down on the couch. Then about 3 p.m. things started going downhill. Nothing major, mind you. The usual chaos of having two young boys running around an apartment. An apartment above my landlords, by the way, so we try and keep the running and jumping to a minimum. But there is this "magic" hour every evening when they get a second wind of sorts and their energy can no longer be contained.
Tonight was no different and it was the noise more than anything that got to me. Sometimes it feels like a constant ringing in my ears where I can't even think straight. And tonight was one of those nights. No matter how many times I asked them to quiet down; No matter how many times I separated them - they just wouldn't settled down. And I got mad. I felt like I wanted to blow, but thankfully did not. All I wanted was a little quiet. Time to think. Time to just listen to the silence.
I've been home from work for about four weeks now and, as happens every winter, I realize that working for me isn't just about the money. (Although financially it is a necessity for us.) It's about getting some time outside of the house. It's about interacting with other adults. It's about doing something that doesn't include my children. It's about the quiet I experience when I drive to and from work. I enjoy working, even though often times I don't. Does that make any sense?
I finally got my older son to bed and my younger son came out on the couch with me and fell asleep on me as he usually does. While I clicked away looking for something to watch on TV, I happened upon a PBS show about families of soldiers who are deployed in Iraq, many of them several times for more than a year at a time. And as I watched these soldiers talk about their families; talk about missing their children; talk about how hard it was to know that whatever they missed while they were away they were never going to get back; talk about the difficult transition when they come home to reintegrate themselves into their family's routine; talk about their fears that their young children will forget who they are and actually be afraid of them when they come home - I stopped feeling so bad.
I'm one of the lucky ones. Not a revelation for me, but a necessary acknowledgement in my life tonight. I'm lucky that I get to spend time with my children. I'm lucky that they can come to me to make boo boos go away and that I can read stories to them before they fall asleep. I'm lucky to be able to see them everyday of my life, something many divorced parents don't get to do, and as much as I crave quiet and time away and solitude - someday I will miss the noise, the chatter, the wrestling, the back talk; someday I will miss my sons because they will no longer live with me and they will no longer need me in their everyday lives. I'm definitely one of the lucky ones.
I'm reminded of something I read some time ago in a parenting magazine, I believe. It was a quote that went something like this: "Some days feel like they will never end, but the years fly by in an instant." I'll try and keep that in mind . . .