An hour ago the kitchen was a whirlwind of hats, scarves, tissues, biscuits, bits of apple, discarded toast-with-nutella, tiny walking boots, oversized lunchboxes and piles and piles of nappies. And in the middle of it all a deeply nervy Mama.
Now, a short sixty minutes later, all is silent apart from the distant flick-flack of the washing machine and the crackle of the fire in Mathilda. The children are gone. Their father is gone. And, all being well, gone they will remain.
For a week.
A whole week!
Can you imagine what this might mean to a person who has not been alone for more than three hours in 19 months? Can you imagine what this might mean to a mother who has put her daughter to bed every day of her short life, and who won't be doing it tonight? Can you imagine what this might mean to someone whose life has for three years and four months been a constant round of breastfeeding, nappies, laundry, mad dashes to feed the chickens while the babes are asleep, faddish mealtimes and toddler tantrums, to say nothing of the kindergarten blues, the sick-kid greens and the nappy-rash reds?
You know, I'm so confused in the face of this extravagant freedom, I've no idea what it does mean. Last night my dreams were full of loss, of not being able to reach my crying baby, of being on a bus going nowhere. Today, I don't know whether to jump up and down with exuberance or to let my heart spill over and have a little weep.
And what policy should I take towards this sudden excess of usable time. Should I industriously clean the house? Should I organise the baby clothes? Should I get the electricians in to sort out the wiring and electrify the one-third of the house that's still in the dark ages. Should I study, read and write? Should I have a holiday?
When I first came to Carmine Superiore, I loved it for its spirit of solitude. Not the heavy, bow-your-head-down kind of solitude so common in big cities, but a solitude that brings a lightness of spirit, allows you to see the beauty in tiny things and the tranquility in the turning of the seasons. And one thing I do know is that this week I should enjoy the solitude I have missed for so long.
Milan Kundera wrote that solitude is the "sweet absence of faces". For me it is the absence of the sweet faces of my husband and my little ones. And like any mother and lover, I find such solitude both disturbing and wonderful.
Safe journey my precious ones. Have fun and come back safely.
Do you feel guilty too? I do always. Take the day off, you deserve it.
Yes! I feel horribly, stomach-churningly guilty. I keep thinking I hear B crying to get up from her nap...
This gift is a reminder too of how blessed and full your life is with them. I get a brief break at Mother's Day Out on Mondays for four hours and they always leave me hungry to get back to my charges, despite the absolute luxury of those four hours sans children.
Your hometown looks gloriously romantic and wonderful. Now I have a new place to visit if I ever get to traveling again.
Wow - us Mom's are all alike. I certainly can understand your mix of joy and pain. It's important for us to have our time to ourselves, but why does it have to be so hard? Try to enjoy your week because there probably wont be another like it for a long while.
Louise hi. I'm new to your blog. Agree wholeheartedly with Sherrytex. This time apart will, impossibly, make your heart grow fonder. I think you'll be lost for a day or two. Miss them for the whole week but, soon enough you will find some sort of rhythm and when you do, it will be time to put it away never to bring it out again because no parting nor what goes on during a separation is ever the same. You always have to reinvent.
Your home looks amazing. I loved your description of what makes you love Carmine Superiore. I will look it up in the map. This will be my daily geography lesson. Thank you for bringing it to me. Milena
Thank-you all for your thoughtful comments. I really appreciate them.
ciao Louise. I understand your pain for having your babies far away. But as an over40, full time mother I also know how importand is to have a little bit of time just for us. So enjoy this week, sleep like a ghiro (even if the ghiro doesent), enjoy eating what, when and where you like, watch TV without thinking if the program is OK for children and a have a walk without continous stops. And maybe a little bit of shopping ... something for you and a welcomeback present for your beloved.
Thanks --- that sounds like a really, no I mean a REALLY, good idea! L
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