When you write a blog there is this behind the scenes section called the Dashboard. At the Dashboard you can see how many people viewed the blog each day and what posts they checked out. On this blog BY FAR the most-viewed post is this one about being alone, or not being alone depending on your perspective. Apparently many people each and every day google the word "alone" and follow the search results to this blog. I like that in some ways. I like it that there is a place like this, even if it's digital, where folks can come and read and share and not feel so solitary in the world.
I've been thinking about this this morning because I had a smidgen of time alone. Today is a busy day and I wasn't sure I would have time to practice yoga. So I set my alarm for 630 and slipped silently out of bed. My motivation was to squeeze something in that felt good but as I inhaled and exhaled I realized how long it's been since I did this practice alone. My mind started to think beyond yoga. I might even go to the bathroom alone today, I mused.
Bella was awake, purple bathrobe and all. She couldn't sleep because she was too excited about Grammie's arrival today.
I had been alone for twelve minutes.
But here's the thing. (And I know this goes against the tide of what is expected of mothers. We are supposed to want alone time, we are supposed to seek out "me-time", to get our husbands to hone their putting-to-bed skills so we can go out with the girls, to earn enough money to get a gym membership that has a nursery, to do whatever it takes to extricate ourselves long enough to find ourselves alone enough to simply find ourselves.) I don't like being alone.
I suppose I am like the thousands of others googling "alone" at all hours of the day. I like being with people, my people.
As fall nears and all of Echo's little friends ready themselves for kindergarten I find myself thanking my lucky stars that Echo, at this point, prefers to be home-schooled. I love it that I get to spend more days with her, that she won't be gone for seven hours each day. And yes I have done my fair share of worrying that I have sunk myself so far into my children that I don't know how to do something else with my time. And sure, of course I have gotten use to their presence and the amount of presence and time it takes to raise them. We all get used to our circumstances and find transitions difficult, there's nothing wrong or unusual about that. But I'm not talking about that. This isn't a moment of reflection where I give myself a hard time for mothering too hard or too intently. This isn't "I don't want to be alone" with a pout, this is "I don't want to be alone" with a grin! This is a moment where I recognize what feels good to me.
It feels good to be around my people.
And to be honest I've always been this way. Ask my mother. I never played alone in my bedroom, I always dragged my project to where another member of my family was already working. To the rose bushes where my father was pruning. To the studio where my mother was painting. To the living room where my sister was pretending. That's where I wanted to be. Every time.
That's who I am and that's okay. It's okay to like being a mom. It's okay to prefer to be around people you love.
Ain't no shame.
And Echo will eventually want to go away to school. Eventually the girls will move out. I told Nathan the other night that we'd better plan to tour Europe, or something equally distracting, when that moment comes. Not because I don't know who to be if I'm not a mom, but because I like to be around people I love. I count myself extraordinarily lucky that the people I love also happen to be my family.
These thoughts, far from making me feel sad or vulnerable, make me feel comfy. Recognizing this preference for company actually empowers me. When my world shifts from every-second-filled-with-small-children I will stretch my arms wider and reach for all the others I love too. I'll make long-distance phone calls and lunch dates. I'll take road trips and long hikes with friends. I'll always have a dog. And I'll always remember who I am, what I like. In that way I'll set myself up to make more family - friends I haven't even met yet, and give myself what feels good.
It feels good to feel good.