Having a household to myself all weekend made for both a busy and an introspective few days. As always, there is an endless to-do list, but even after hoof trims for two horses, stacking the rest of the hay, routine housework and laundry, cleaning the feed room and preparing everyone's rations for the week, grocery shopping and putting a new bed in the guest room, there were still plenty of quiet corners and time to catch on True Blood episodes.
There are times I like being alone and there are times I can't stand it. I miss my kids and my husband when they're not around, but it would be wrong of me to pretend I don't like being the captain of my own ship, pointing the bow in the direction I choose. I can come and go as I please, make plans as I want to, eat breakfast at noon and skip dinner, fiddle around with the horses to my heart's content. I don't have to deliver snacks or break up fights, I don't have to clean up someone else's mess, I don't have to think about things like what we should have for dinner. The chores don't do themselves, but some of the chores are less work when there's only one person to do them for. Feeding the animals becomes not something to get done quickly so I can get back inside for dinner or bathtime, it becomes an event in and of itself, don't consciously and with intent.
Its nice to have the time to think about who I am, where I am, what I am. I still tend to see myself in the context of a much younger time, as someone who is still growing up. I love that there is always something new to learn and to be challenged by; it gives me a sense of anticipation about the future to know that my learning curve is far from flatlined just because I'm no longer a twenty- or thirty-something. I discover as I age that knowing "who I am" is an ever-evolving process. I suspect that's the same for everyone, and if my own life is any barometer, the search for meaning and for a better sense of self becomes more important and much deeper the more years we are alive.
Before I know it, the weekend is mostly spent and it is time to collect my offspring from their father and get them scrubbed and squeaky clean for the school week ahead. There is no time to see the motes of dust sparkle in the sunlight as I wander idly. There is noise and there are things to be done and there are battles to negotiate, and then its time to start a new and different week, one in which my time belongs to everyone but myself. I don't mean to say that this is worse than the alternative, just that it is a completely different kind of existence.
Its a wonderfully taut balance, this life of mine. In the patterns of my days, where the time is split into halves of alone and never alone, I appreciate how each segment holds within it the ability to both be appreciated for what it is and to help me appreciate what it is not. I love that it is possible, within the confines of a single day, to be partner, mother, daughter, and to also find great pleasure in flying solo.
My life may not be a lot of things very glamorous, but so far as lives go it is a pretty damn good one.