20 October 2011
Last weekend, I took Riley to the beach. Just Riley.
I think perhaps I had mentioned that I was planning to do this, to take just one child at a time on an overnight trip. This is the first time I've done this. I've long wanted—and still want—to regularly spend one-on-one time with each of the twins, and as they have gotten older, I've started to grab hours here and there during playdates and such. But this was the longest stretch of Mama-Riley time I've ever had, and the longest stretch of hours the two of them have ever spent apart.
It all went swimmingly. Maddie stayed with my mom and stepdad, and by all reports, she was fine and thrived on the attention she got. The same is true of Riley. Both M&R had been a little nervous about the idea, and both felt like the one who was with me was getting the better end of the deal. Riley was more nervous than his sister about it all, and she generously offered for him to be the first one to go to the beach when we initially discussed the idea. I think, in the end, she now sees that she hardly drew the short straw (although she's very excited about her overnight with me this coming Saturday).
A few things about the trip surprised me:
1. Riley was so quiet! He is normally a really loud, talkative kid, but on this trip he was fairly reserved and quiet. Maybe he actually has a deep appreciation of silence but never gets a chance to experience it since he's always competing with a sibling for a turn to talk and have my attention? Dunno. It sure caught me off guard, though.
2. I am a much more relaxed parent when I'm only caring for one child.
3. That said, the things that Riley does that annoy me are still annoying even when there's not another child around.
In other, unrelated, news, I'm still going on dates with the same guy and it's still slowly and steadily great. I still love my house. My job is still chipping away at me, but I'm not completely and totally overwhelmed as I was for a couple of months there. I'm getting an iPhone 4S! Woo! Now that's news.
What's really news, actually, is that I've become a person for whom it is in fact big news to be getting an iPhone 4S. Big news is no longer that my spouse is going on hospice or that I haven't slept in weeks because my babies wake up every 45 minutes. Big news is no longer a cross-country move or a job change months after my spouse died or a six-figure loss on selling a condo.
No, no, no. Big news is getting a smartphone, going out with someone kind and smart and thoughtful, planning our au pair's birthday party, making the decision to let Maddie and Riley watch Star Wars. There is a deep contentment in big news being the stuff of everyday life. I was out to lunch with a colleague yesterday, and in the course of our conversation, it dawned on me that I've never stayed in one place or done much of anything longer than a couple of years for my entire adult life. Sure, I lived in Boston for 10 years, but in 5 different apartments. I did have one job for seven years. Eight? Something like that. But that's the longest I've stuck with anything: a job, a home, a partner. John and I were together almost exactly four years from our first date to his death, my longest relationship by quite a bit, but in sheer time a blip on the radar. Even Maddie and Riley have only been a part of my life for five years (six if you count the pregnancy).
I've been an emotional late bloomer my whole life. I'll be 40 in January. It's just now, after a whole hell of a lot of change and lightning-quick living, that I feel thrilled by the idea of being here, where I am, for the long haul. I know that change will come, and I don't wish to stagnate. But I wish to be rooted and grounded, and I wish to know the contentment that can come from being still.