I love my family. I also seriously love being home alone. These things are not at all compatible.
Dave and the boys were only supposed to be gone for a bit while I christened our new Instant Pot. Except (true story!) I hadn't noticed that the pot roast recipe continued on the next page, and that it didn't take 30 minutes to make...it took nine hours. When I let Dave know, Ben was already hungry and he decided to just take them out to dinner. Squee!
I didn't dance around naked or take a bath or do anything particularly great while they were gone: I caught up on paperwork, organized a cupboard, ordered contact lenses online, sat at the kitchen table with an iced tea as I read the newspaper—including the magazine section.. And it was h-e-a-v-e-n. This was partly because I could do exactly what I wanted—nobody needed me to sign a form, retrieve the toy part that rolled under the sofa, get a snack, clean up the crumbs (well, technically, nobody ever cares if I do that but me), give them a ride, dash over to Staples for some essential item for a school project, get a glass of water, wipe a butt, whatever.
But most delicious of all was the the silence. Pure, unadulterated, blissful quiet, not one bit shattered by the sound of someone wailing because they bumped their head or butt or shrieking because someone else whomped their head or butt or whining that they were bored or shouting "Don't jump off the couch!!!" or screeching from the top of that he stairs: "MOMMY I ONLY HAVE ONE BASKETBALL SNEAKER DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE OTHER ONE IS?"
Ben wasn't running his vibrating toothbrush over furniture (a favorite activity!) or yelling cheerfully at the top of his lungs as he did laps around the first floor. Sabrina wasn't chatting with a friend on Facetime. Max wasn't watching YouTube videos of fire trucks. Dave wasn't obsessively listening to Jim Cramer rant and rave on Mad Money.
I never fully understood the phrase "I can barely hear myself think!" until I had a family. The volume of life at our home is always on high. When I'm in the thick of it, I never consider it. Then I get the house to myself every so often and I realize that what's missing from my existence is peace and quiet. Yes, it happens when all the kids are asleep at night, except by that point I'm too wiped out to appreciate it. I miss the kind that happens when it's morning or afternoon and you're sitting on the sofa with sunlight pouring in through the windows and the sound of silence envelops you and suddenly, you're calm.
To be sure: When I have the house to myself, there's nobody to give me hugs or kisses or make me laugh or say "I wuv you!" But I need this occasional time alone to regroup, regenerate and reboot.
They only called home once.
"What are you doing?" Dave asked.
"Nuking a bowl of udon noodles for dinner," I said.
"Rice! Rice!" Ben shouted in the background.
"We had sushi!" Max reported.
"That's great!" I responded. "Gotta go!"
And then, I hung up and returned to my life as a lady of leisure...at least for 18 more minutes.