Last night I went to the grocery store–completely alone–and it was absolutely blissful. I listened to my iPod! I jaywalked! I wasn’t dressed properly for the weather, but it didn’t matter because it was just me and not a defenseless baby who lacks the ability to say, “Mom, I can no longer feel my limbs!”
I remember hearing friends with babies tell similar stories–back before I became a mother myself–and admittedly thought it a little on the pathetic side, like, really? Walking to the end of the driveway to get the mail by yourself is a luxury to you now? Your husband taking the baby for a stroll around the block so you can read a magazine article is how you get your kicks these days?
It’s true, though, and I’m learning it’s only pathetic from the perspective of the babyless. In fact, a lot of things are only pathetic from the perspective of the babyless. I recall a conversation awhile back with a certain family member of mine–we’ll call her my sister, since that’s who she is–in which it was advised that I not become one of Those Parents. You know, one of THOSE.
And somehow even at the time–this was while I was still pregnant–it had already occurred to me that the thing about Those Parents–which is what prevents them from NOT being Those Parents–is that they (a) don’t realize what they’re like, and (b) don’t care what you think of them. So I told her I’d try, but on the off chance that I did become one of Those, it would be too late to change back and she’d just have to deal with it.
Maybe I’ve become one, maybe I haven’t–I’m too tired most of the time to think about it, quite frankly. All of my extra brainpower is reserved for maniacally refreshing my Google Reader feed and then forgetting everything I’ve read three and a half seconds later.
But yes, I will say that walking around by yourself–not having to worry about the welfare of a baby–for ten minutes is pure bliss, and it isn’t pathetic to me–I don’t have time for it to be because I then walk in the door from my little grocery store escapade to a ridiculously supportive husband, bouncing a ridiculously perfect baby on his knee and singing–in his own personal variation of Mariah Carey’s Christmas hit–”I don’t want a lot of babies / Just the one we’ve got’s oh-kayyyyyy . . .”
And they’re both mine–all mine–and the sudden, still-kind-of-unexpected-each-time jolt of THAT bliss rides so quickly on the coattails of the other, the combination should be illegal.
When I walk in the door, my senses are so quickly flooded with family stuff–being collaborative, practicing togetherness, which are pretty new things for me–I don’t have time–or the desire–to think about whether or not I’m one of Those Parents . . . until my next five-minute walk, at which point I’m usually a little too busy reveling in not having to be responsible to care.
A friend of mine recently wondered if anyone else was ever suddenly so all-around happy with where they are in their lives at a particular moment that it downright freaked them out.
My solo excursions to and from the grocery store are full of those moments.
In fact, it almost makes me want to be a little more careful about the jaywalking so I’ll be alive to experience more of them.