Better than Breakfast in Bed

It’s Saturday morning, which means I’m at a coffee shop around the corner from our house enjoying a cup of half-decaf/half-hazelnut and getting some work done without interruptions. It has become our standard Saturday morning routine for me to get up and head over here for three or four hours, where I can sit in silence and be Robyn for a little bit instead of Mommy. There is no toddler asking me to read a book or play puppet. There is no baby hanging on my pant leg, whining. There is no husband, no laundry, no sink of dirty dishes and, blissfully, no stinky diapers.

By the end of the week, this simple morning of solitude feels very close to heaven.

We started this routine because I’ve been working on a big editing project that’s due at the end of the month. I’m editing two manuscripts into one cohesive book on the history of the oldest law firm in Harrisburg. It may sound dreadfully boring to most but I’m actually having a blast doing it. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy editing, and it’s been refreshing to spend time polishing someone else’s work instead of creating something from scratch.

And I’ve been amazed by how productive I can be in a room filled with distractions that I can easily tune out. Other people’s conversations, kids, coffee orders … the buzz of life around me gives me a kind of freedom - the freedom for my whole being to become very, very quiet. The freedom to rest. The freedom to not answer when I hear a child say, “Mom?” I fade into the background of other people’s lives for a little bit, and it’s a wonderful breather from being the center of my little ones’ lives.

I love the anonymity of sitting here in much the same way that I love traveling alone. I love sitting in a busy airport being completely anonymous, because in those moments when nobody knows me and nobody notices me I am able to reconnect with who I am by stepping away from all the normal things that define me -- most noticeably, these days, the toddler with the book and the baby drooling all over my knee.

I also think it’s easy to become co-dependent on one’s kids, and this short time away keeps that in check. It’s true that at this stage they are my life, and I am theirs. They need me (or Chris) for just about everything, every hour, every day. And it’s easy to get lost in that, because as much as it drains from you, it also fills you up. I’m on a pedestal at home because to them, I am magic. My arms are always there to hold them, my voice to sing to them, my kisses to wipe away their boo-boos. When I walk into the room and they reach up their arms to me, their eyes wanting, I sigh but I scoop them up and wrap my arms around them, kiss the soft skin just below their cheeks and inhale their sweet scent. In that moment my life defines me in a beautiful way as a life-giver and a caregiver.

But I was other things before God gave me the privilege to live those moments. And I will be other things when they are too old and too big and too busy to realize they need a hug from Mommy as soon as I walk into the room. So I must remember what those other things are, and continue to cultivate them. I was a friend, a good friend to some, and I’ve realized in recent months that I’ve let some of my most beautiful friendships slide. I was a writer and an editor, and I’ve struggled this past year to continue to hone those skills and make a name for myself in the professional world. I was many other things, things I won’t ruin by writing them all down like some trite New Year’s list of resolutions, a ridiculous Things I Need to Work On file that will eventually be shelved in favor of Facebook surfing and just 10 more minutes of sleep, please!

The point is simply for me to have goals, goals that are just for me to know and work on, that have nothing to do with family goals like potty training, and starting Saturday Family Fun Nights, and incorporating Circle Time into our weekday mornings.

In a little while I’ll leave here and meet a friend for lunch, and it will be wonderfully refreshing to spend an hour or so talking face to face with another adult -- a simple luxury I don’t often get. Hell, it’ll just be nice to hear someone use my given name. Of course I’ll probably talk mostly about my kids, and that’s OK. I am a mom, after all -- a happy, proud mom who can somehow be perfectly content to be away from her kids while missing them like crazy.

So it also will be wonderful to get home, to walk in the door and see those little arms sticking straight up in the air, beaming their love and need and wonder straight to my heart. “Mommy!” Kostyn will say. And that simple moment of definition will feel very close to heaven.


Heather said...

I am always amazed at how we seem to be thinking or feeling the same things at the same time. You always write about what is troubling me, at any given moment. Maybe it's that our kiddos are the same age, and so our experience coincide, who knows, I just know I am grateful for your posts because they ALWAYS make me feel better.

I am heading out for lunch and pedicure today, and I am not too ashamed to admit that I am in desperate need for some "Heather" time. I also soemtimes feel like I have lost a bit of myself, and am working on getting that back, because I need to be someone besides "Mommy" and "Babe".

Thanks Robyn!

Dee said...

wOHH Robyn how I missed reading your words, how beautiful and those boys love you soo much....but your gift for writing is so precious, thanks for sharing, love you, aunt dee

Lyn said...

Robyn you have no idea how wonderful it is to have you back to blogging. I know that your absence wasn't that long, but to faithful readers like me, those few short weeks were tough! I checked your blog everyday in your absence, hoping for something new. The day of the first post back after the hiatus, I was like a kind in a candy store, anxious to see what I would find! You are a blessed and talented writer, woman, mother (In no particular order) and those of us who are lucky enough to call you friend are a little bit better because of you.

As always, thanks for your beautiful words, hauting insights, and the tears that usally find there way to my cheeks when I am reading something of yours.

Lis said...

Thanks Robyn. Your words are always wonderful to me. I am slowly working towards finding my way back to myself. I can't wait to start the pottery classes. Enjoy your time.

Robyn said...

Thank you all so much. It's so nice to know other people can relate. It's a big reason why I keep this blog going.

Sheila said...

I applaud you for finding some "me" time and for not feeling guilty about it.