As the train pulled away from the Saco station I saw the shape of her little blond head in the window but I couldn’t see her face. I kept blowing kisses, blowing kisses, blowing kisses, trying so hard to look excited and happy for her and her adventure.
You see, I’m not worried about her. She’s with her Daddy and she’s a strong girl. But, she’s growing up. As it has meant from the day she was born, growing up means growing away. One of the most important parts of my job as a parent is to make myself dispensable.
Notable this afternoon for me was how completely present I was with my feelings. As I lay nursing the baby hoping she’d nap long enough that I could take a proper bubble bath, the tears just started falling. Not entirely sad tears. Very mixed. So happy and proud of all the growing our little six year old has done. Wretchedly sad to have her not with me — there have only been a handful of nights we have ever been apart. Free to release the tension I’ve been carrying but not tending to because I’ve needed to be present for the girls. And moved at how stunning the baby’s smile is when she so fully greets me with love.
It took a couple hours after my older left before I could start enjoying the freedom of having the house almost entirely to myself. Truly, I had forgotten what it was like to be able to do almost anything I wanted without consulting someone else. The baby has to come along for the ride. And, sure, she made a few reasonable demands (nursing, diaper changing, talking — she’s like her sister… sometimes she’ll start getting whiny and whimpery but will cheer right up if I get next to her and start talking). But generally I was free.
As I enjoyed, sort of, the bubble bath (the tub is just too small) I realized that writing has become my getaway. No more numbing with substances or psychological games. I getaway and also find myself in writing. I wonder if that’s what a writer is. Someone who needs to write.
My quality of life and the amount I write are directly related. The more writing, the better my life. Even if the writing is mindless, or pointless (see: Facebook and memes). If I have words coming out of my head through my fingers onto the keyboard, my world stays clearer. Brighter. Better.
Instead of crawling frantically to the sensation of numbness I had a few treats (smoked salmon, chocolate square with caramel), did a lot of writing, cleaned the bathroom (to take that bath), cleaned the kitchen (getting ready for vacation), and pretty much packed up to leave for two weeks starting tomorrow. I listened to Democracy Now without having to explain all the death and destruction in the world to a six year old. It was productive. It was leisurely. It was everything I wanted it to be, and more.