20 October 2011

One


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.

13 comments:

Amber said...

I love that you are having the opportunity for these one-on-one overnights. Such a treat for M&R! And it might sound silly but it makes me smile to read about your contentedness. You've earned it my dear!

Solitary Diner said...

How wonderful to read about you reaching a point of stillness and happiness. It's a great place to be, and, as Amber said, well-deserved. Looking forward to reading more about the good times in the future.

Grace said...

I'm so happy for you!

Kim R said...

Different from your situation but my husband and I have date nights with our boys about once a month or so. We switch off so the kids get a one on one night with each parent every other month. Within reason the boys get to plan the night and on the rare occasion they want to do the same thing we take different cars and sit in different areas if it's a movie or dinner! Our boys are older but you will see that as your twins get older they will tell you amazing secrets during that one on one time that are priceless.

Christie said...

I love your getaway idea. I'm with Hen all the time but I get bogged down in the everyday stuff that is life when we're at home. There's always another load of laundry to be done or a bathroom to be cleaned or a dog to be walked, etc. Getting away from all of that and truly being able to be in the moment with your kid is amazing. Hope you and Maddie have a great time on your outing.

Dr. Smak said...

How lovely to hear that life is allowing you to notice the little things again.

Sincerely, Dr. Smak, new 4S owner

julie said...

thank you for a beautiful and thoughtful post.

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

Such a lovely post. I am glad that your big news is also fun news.

You've inspired me to do more one on one. I wonder at 2.5 if the turtles would get it or just feel lost without the other? Hmmm....

Tiffany said...

No matter how many kids you have one on one time is importatant and I know my girls don't get enough of it. But we enjoy what little time we do and it is so much easier with just one.

Snickollet said...

@MMQC:

I can tell you that at age 2.5, I think M&R would have been pretty baffled and probably disturbed by spending a full overnight apart. At that age, when they weren't together (for a brief hour here and there, dr. appointment, what have you), each spent the whole time asking about the other, expressing concern for the other, etc. The one who was with me fared better, but the one who was "left behind" really had a rough go. That said, you can achieve that one-on-one time via divide and conquer parenting, so maybe the split would be easier since each Turtle would be with a parent. Just thinking out loud here . . .

Anonymous said...

I rarely post and I've said it before, but I LOVE the way you express your thoughts and feelings. Reading it is such a pleasure. It makes me think. Thanks for sharing. Oh and tell Riley I think he's handsome.

Catherine said...

I have twin boys (that are 6), and when they are separated they are super quiet. Together they are loud,chatty, and super rowdy. Separated they are quiet like church mice. I think that boys especially feed off other kids energys, alone they dont know what to do...hard to be silly all by yourself. I hope you enjoyed the peace and quiet, its so fleeting!

jo(e) said...

Ah, one-on-one time is so important. I have a bunch of siblings close in age, and I can still remember the times when my father or mother would take me -- JUST ME BY MYSELF -- on an outing. Rare, but special times.

Lovely to hear the peace and contentment in your life.