I used to want more “me time.”
I used to. When I was a young momma with a husband who traveled I would fantasize about the day when my children were a little more grown up, a little more independent and I would have time to read the ever-growing pile of Real Simple magazines (those were supposed to make my life more simple but if you don’t ever read them, well…), paint my toenails or watch a chick flick without someone announcing they just went potty by themselves. Those daydreams usually came about the 3rd day of my husband being out of town while I tried to keep the younger one occupied with a coloring book while I helped the older one with math homework on probability. (I never ever understood why we needed to figure out if you put 3 blue chips, 7 red chips and 4 yellow chips in a bag what the probability of pulling out a yellow chip would be. I still don’t.)
Fast forward 12 or 13 years. And I do mean fast forward, because it feels like it was just yesterday I was breaking up fights in the front yard over which neighborhood boy shoved who first and making what seemed like endless carpool runs to gymnastics lessons in hope my overly tall daughter could find the courage to throw her long, lanky body backwards and do a back handspring for cheerleading tryouts. (She did. I could never.)
Fast forward to today, when I now have a sophomore in college and a sophomore in high school. True, I have one at home that can’t drive yet, but all his friends can so he might as well as have a license. I still have a husband who travels and for the most part I work out of my house, so that “me time” now comes in abundance.
Maybe it’s the amount my husband has travelled recently, maybe it’s the fact that the heavens have opened and poured down enough rain to annoy every soul in sight, maybe it’s the fact that I’ve cleaned out every closet and reorganized my pantry (twice) and even caught up on my son’s sports scrapbook that makes me realize this one simple truth:
I don’t like this much “me time.”
I’m a people person, a social butterfly. I get unnerved by too much quiet in the house.
So the question becomes, what do I do with all that “me time?” I wish I had a good answer today, but I don’t. I realized today that this is a precursor of days to come, when my daughter is out of college living her own life in another city and my son is off at college.
Why didn’t anyone warn us mommas how hard this stage of life is?
Oh there’s plenty of warning to young mommas – if you can survive the first 6 weeks of mixing up days and nights you can survive anything, make sure your baby sleeps on her stomach (or back, or side – depends on when your baby was born as to the “best” sleeping position), and keep your son in his car seat until he can shave.
But oh no, no, no, – no one warns you about this stage. No one tells you the pain you feel when you send your firstborn to college will feel like someone took your heart out of your chest and stomped on it. Or when your last one gets his license and no longer needs his momma to drive him places the sadness you will feel as you realize another string of dependence has now been cut with a rusty, hurtful pair of life scissors.
As I tell my “older mom” friends frequently, being a momma ain’t for sissies. At any stage of the game.
And the question comes again – what will I do with all this “me time?”
So I’m on a quest of sorts, and I’m determined not to look back with sadness over what is no longer but to look ahead to what is to come because I am truly thankful for every memory, the good and the notsomuch. I don’t know exactly what the future will look like for me, but I do know this:
“’I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)
That, my friends is TRUTH. And I’m looking to Jesus to help me figure out the best use of all that “me time” that I so desperately wished for all those years ago.