Born into a big family, the one thing I craved more than anything was to be left alone, left in peace, left to do the things I wanted to do, left to daydream, left to read, left to nap, left to fantasize of a life of my very own. If I couldn’t be alone in reality, I could at least be alone within myself. Surrounded by the daily hubbub, I could withdraw into myself and live out an imaginary life. I was consumed by a desire to not be a part of anyone’s life, much less a part of the lives of those I tussled with day in and day out.
Until my late teens, even when in the company of friends, I more often than not was an observer rather than an active participant. Whether due to self-consciousness or some other inner defect, I mimicked rather than did anything on my own. Rather than feel a part of the pack, I felt apart from it. It wasn’t until I was 15 that I found a place I felt at ease. I find that rather ironic now, given what I know of teenage angst and the like. But I found friends whom I adored and with whom I could just have fun.
That golden age lasted only a year or two. By the time I went to college, I found myself adrift again. I think those who knew me then would question that feeling. I was a major force, first in my dorm, then in my department, and then at the newspaper I ran. Asked even if the time if I were happy, I would always respond that I was fine on a daily basis but not in the long term. I realize now that sounds a lot like the line we fed boyfriends we were casting away or that we were fed when they were casting us away: I love you but I’m not in love with you.
The man I was with for a decade made it easy for me to feed my passion for solitude. While we worked together, true, he traveled more than I did, so I could spend days by myself, with Buster the dog as my only company. And when he was home, he was more often than not renovating the house or building “our” dream home.
It was when first Pete and then Eldest came along that my passion took a turn. It was a turn for the better, I’d say. When Daughter followed soon behind, there was never any chance for solitude. And, just when it appeared that some semblance of time alone could be acquired, Youngest made his appearance.
The passing years have only served to fuel my late-in-life appetite for the chaos that is abundant in my life. There is never time to myself, save for the 6.2 minutes each morning that I spend in the bathroom, showering and dressing. And for the unbearably long 2.75 hours that Youngest is in kindergarten and the two older ones are still in school.
I try to avoid transporting myself to next fall and beyond, when I will be alone in a house struck dumb by the absence of children for more than six hours a day. Or further into the future when there are no children here or no husband nearby or no mother on the other end of the telephone. Where I once wanted only to be left alone, I now crave something entirely different. I laugh in wonderment that I did, in fact, turn out to be a people person. [Well, certain people, at least.]
[Sunday Scribblings has many passions. Be sure to check them out.]