“I’m having some alone ti…(door SLAMS)!” This from my younger daughter, coming from the upstairs bedroom she shares with her sister. Both of them do this occasionally, reserve some solo time in their room. Something I enjoy about my kids, and have probably cultivated through nature or nurture is their need and respect for some time to just chill out by themselves.
My older daughter has a built in system for this, losing herself in books for hours each day if she has time. She’s fortunate in that she becomes so absorbed in whatever she’s reading (and I can’t keep up, let’s just say I am very, VERY thankful for my local library system), she can really be anywhere in the house and still be having alone time. It seems to me this is truly necessary for her each day, especially after a busy day at a very busy (some might say mildly chaotic) school.
My younger daughter, on the other hand, simply loves to play. She creates alternate universes with her stuffed animals and Japanese erasers…a lot of the time she loves to have a partner in these endeavors, imploring (often successfully) her sister to join in a game of “Sparkle” or, a personal favorite of mine involving rocks, paint and intricately designed shoebox homes and businesses mirroring our neighborhood called, matter-of-factly, “Rock People”.
But every once in awhile this younger girl of mine, the one who loves to play and is generally in high demand for playdates for this very reason, needs a little time to herself. And I find it sweet to overhear her when she takes this time, playing all the characters in her game, making all the sound effects, creating new characters and scenarios on the fly.
I definitely need my own alone time. At the end of the day, after the kids have gone to sleep, I stubbornly stay awake despite being tired (I’m actually doing it right now). I do this because I need to be awake for awhile, not running around, not chatting with anyone, just being…
The three of us are preparing for a Thanksgiving trip to a city two days away, visiting relatives we adore. I can’t wait and neither can the girls. We’ll drive for two days, we’ll be together and with extended family constantly for almost a week. It will be welcome time with people we love and enjoy.
But there will be no alone time for anyone. Hopefully our reserves will pay off and nourish us through these concentrated moments of family togetherness.
During the drive we’ll chat and listen to audio books for the first few hours. Then the older one will probably get lost in a Nancy Drew, the younger one will look out the window and murmur to herself…and I’ll steal a few delicious moments to myself in a way, just driving, looking for birds and deer, trees and sunsets. I’ll be thinking about nothing and everything, having some alone time. And you better believe, I will savor it.