May 12, 2014 by Julia
Well, I got back from my solo beach getaway eight days ago, and I AM A NEW WOMAN! Not really; don’t worry. It took less than a day for me to get back to normal. Although Dennis did say upon my return that Sunday afternoon, “You look different. You got rest. Your face is like – ” and he did an impression of a big-eyed Disney princess:
Also, the house was clean. (I bow down to my husband.) And the children were bathed. (I tip my hat to him.) And they had been outside and done quality things over the weekend. (I raise my glass.) Impressive!
So, fellow stay-at-home mothers of young children, you might be wondering what it feels like to be free for 48 freaking hours.
It was great.
There is a but…coming. I’m just telling you now, so you don’t get too bored. Inner conflict/turmoil ahead! First, some of the highlights:
Margaritas, tamales and honey-drenched sopapillas on a balcony, while reading my nerdy book Ethical Wisdom: The Search for a Moral Life by Mark Matousek.
My comprehension level dropped once I’d started my second margarita, obviously, and I had to re-read those pages the next morning. (It’s a fascinating book if you’re into cultural studies, and I want to write more about it later.)
I walked around for hours upon hours, looking in shops, which is probably one of the best things ever to do by yourself because you don’t have to worry about whether the person you’re with is bored out of their mind, and the minute you get bored, snap! You’re done.
I think I got around nine hours of sleep both nights? Don’t hate. Or do; it’s okay. On Saturday morning I read in bed a little, and then went to a homey place close enough to the ocean to catch a breeze on the porch, where I ordered all of the breakfast foods. Breakfast might be my favorite meal of the day. I mean, it’s dessert you’re allowed to eat in the morning, grains grain grains and BACON. A little salty, a little sweet. I drank about six cups of coffee and read design magazines.
On Sunday morning I watched a movie in bed that was basically made for moi, starring my love, Felicity, aka Keri Russell, as a dork too obsessed with Jane Austen novels to have a life, and she goes to the British countryside for a “romantic Jane Austen experience” at a themed resort. It was embarassing and uneven and corny but actually funny sometimes and romantic, too – my kind of fluff. I actually quite enjoyed it. Quite, yes. (See, the Brit-speak has rubbed off!)
It even made me feel like writing about my girl crush on Felicity, aka Keri Russell. Also, I could totally look like her if I lost about 92 lbs and got a little prettier and was about three inches shorter and had better hair. But for real, there is something about her that reminds me of myself. And now you know just how narcissistic I am. Or maybe she is my soul mate. (Sorry, Dennis.) Waitress is like, the best movie ever. Okay, maybe there’s not much more to write about Ms. Russell than that. Except that I love her and the show Felicity was one of those pure pleasures in college that was a lot better than people gave it credit for. At least until the season where they tried to jump on the “everything is filmed with a handheld camera by a show character, how immediate and authentic-feeling!” bandwagon. I mean, that’s fine for an episode, I guess. But half a season? Grow some artistic integrity. Still, I’m SURE that Keri Russell/Felicity had nothing to do with that decision. She is pure and blameless.
Oh, on the subject of narcissism, I totally took some selfies for you guys.
For the record, I don’t normally do this. It’s just too icky, standing by yourself on a beach, staring into your own camera, trying to smile naturally. (Is that what my real smile looks like? Is that it? Did I get it yet?)
It was painful, especially when I am kind of against individual selfies (ones with friends or family are okay and I am the first to attempt those) and even recently posted this meme on Facebook:
How To Take Selfies:
I just know that I DO like to see pictures of other bloggers, so I figured I would sacrifice my pride in this case, especially since I didn’t have my usual adorable props, ahem, children, to stand in for me. Again, I did this for you. You’re welcome.
The other main highlight was having a bathroom/room to myself. After doing my best on the chilly, windy beach Saturday afternoon, I decided the most awesome next step would be to take a warm bath in my motel room. I basically set up my own spa. I even played my Enya channel on Pandora. Yes, I have an Enya channel. Everyone would do well to create one, without shame. Anyway – to perform basic grooming such as moisturizing and brushing my hair, without rushing, was the height of luxury.
So, the inner conflict.
It hardly felt real. I almost felt as though the wonderful, relaxing, me-time experience never really sunk in. Don’t get me wrong – I am so glad I went, and am very grateful to my husband for taking care of the kids for the weekend without me. And I would totally do it again.
I just felt confused about whether I wanted a friend there with me, or not. In the end, I was a little bit lonely, being on my own for 48 hours. I still treasured my solitude. It’s not like I wanted to chat with anyone on the phone for hours (not really my bag, anyway.) But I think needed to have the contrast of conversation and solitude in order for the situation to be fully appreciated and absorbed. You know what I mean? I also probably needed to vent about the usual life stuff – the wildness of my toddler, the busyness that never goes away, confusing social dilemmas, the loose ends that fly around – in order to release all that and totally relax on a deeper level. My friend Sarah remarked that instead I was just holding it, alone.
Funny how much people need each other. Even introverts like me – even mothers like me who don’t get much personal space on a daily basis. For some reason, I was very aware of this fact, as I walked the boardwalk by myself, watching the other families and teens and listening in on funny conversations in restaurants. (It’s so obvious when people are starting to get drunk, and you’re on the outside.)
The good news is, I came back to my family with a renewed sense of patience and peace – and a renewed energy for my relationships. Which may be why it’s been a little longer since I posted here. I felt like I needed to catch up to my actual, living life last week – which is in the people I love, the people I need, and want to give back to. I didn’t manage to see everyone I’d like to, or even keep up with all of my emails, but I am trying to believe that every little bit of care counts, and not to give up…because this is life. This reaching and trying to show love and ask for it when we need it. One of my favorite sayings is “we’re all in this thing together.”
…And I haven’t posted for a while because Jack has been more crazy than ever. But that’s another post for another time. (As if I haven’t already written it several times over.)
Many thanks to Dennis, who also came through like a superhero on Mother’s Day, which I had hardly any expectations for, given that I’d just gone away the weekend before as a kind of Mother’s Day gift. But he made me a waffle and bacon and coffee, and he did so many extra little things, like cleaning and taking the kids outside of the restaurant where we met my family when they got too restless, and none of those little things went unnoticed. Bravo, dear husband.
I leave you with photos signifying my deep introspective epiphanies while staring at tiny seashells in the sand!