Vacation is over, but we have yet to settle back in to our routine…and it’s killing me. Since my husband and I returned from our trip on Saturday night, he has been battling a kidney stone. Yes, I understand how painful it is. Yes, I feel so bad for him. Yes, I know he doesn’t like having the stone either and wishes he could be at work. Yes, I am taking good care of him.
I am desperate to get back in to our routine. In reality, as you probably know (this is the first huge lesson of parenting: “I can’t wait to get the baby on a routine.” Good luck because the baby has other plans in store for you.), the routine itself never lasts long. But at this point, I would do anything for just a few days of solid bliss—my regular work day/school day routine.
Honestly, the last time I had a good solid run of a regular day (which I would count as few as three in a row as a “solid run” so not asking for much here, people) was two weeks before Christmas break. The week before break, my middle kiddo developed Influenza A and B and was home all week and then my oldest kiddo developed some sort of respiratory virus that kept him home Thursday and Friday before break. Then break. Then a two-hour delay and two days with no school at all. Then I went on vacation and you know that feeling at the end of vacation, while you are preparing yourself for re-entry when you start to think, “it will be good to get back in to my routine”? I was there. I was longing for the routine of our days, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
Here we are, day six of the kidney stone adventure. Here I am, growing irritable by the continued disruptions to my routine. I know, it’s incredibly childish and sounds completely unsympathetic to my husband’s plight. Just give me this moment to stomp my foot and demand life return to what I often call normal, if even only for a few days.
I need space—every day. I am a bit of an introvert at heart. I mean, I can do all the extroverty things and actually enjoy it most of the time, but then, I need time to quietly be me without anyone else interfering. No questions, no conversation, no outside needs…just me. I need silence and periods of uninterrupted focus. I need freedom for a few hours of having to be here, there, everywhere picking up people, prescriptions, groceries, etc. I need D-O-W-N-T-I-M-E away from the people I love so much so that when I see them next, I love them even more! Even on weekends, I typically get up super early so I can drink coffee, read or watch the news alone, absent of other beings that require oxygen to survive.
I need the opportunity to put myself first, if only for a few hours each day. Those hours during most days are so precious to me. They really count. They really make me feel like I am in charge of myself—I am operating by my own choices and desires. They reassure me that I am in fact in control of my own life. They make then putting the needs of other family members first not seem so overwhelming.
Seriously, I want to vomit every time I hear someone say “me time.” This isn’t “me time” people, this is “alone time so I can think straight, focus, go without an interruption for more than 15 minutes at a time and actually accomplish one thing on my to-do list time.”
One of the greatest lessons parenting has taught me is that I really believe I can do anything if it’s temporary. But, I like to know the duration in advance if at all possible. Travel? I know he will be gone for a week. Surgery? Recovery is expected to take four weeks. The flu? Should be feeling well enough to go back to work in a few days. A kidney stone? Who the fuck knows. I am really hoping I can rally over the weekend and shed this frustration.
I will get up early while everyone else sleeps in, enjoy some quiet time reading and drinking coffee. Drop the kids at swim practice and sit in silence for a bit. I am optimistic about next week and hope that we are preparing to soon return to our routine—if even only for a few days before it’s once again disrupted (as it always is).