I’ll be the first to admit that there was a time in my life when I was envious of all of my single friends. I think I felt it the most when my kids were small and the demands of parenting were very obvious, very physical, and seemingly never-ending. In those days my books of choice were by Sophie Kinsella — the single girl in the city (even if all she’s doing is unsuccessfully looking for lasting love and shopping too much).
I loved those books. And I loved being able to escape into a world that was not mine — a world that I never really got to live: the single girl in the city.
I have always said that if I hadn’t met Marc I would’ve gone to law school and eventually become a judge. I would be thin and well-dressed and live in an immaculate apartment. And would most likely been dead inside.
But, some days, oh how I’ve longed for that life.
It’s a life in my imagination, so of course I don’t feel all of the frustrating bits of it. I can fully idealize that life on days when the house is too messy or I long to have some exotic adventure with just Marc and I.
I just finished watching Eat, Pray, Love. The book was recommended to me when I was going through some really dark days after Olivia was born. I struggled so much to find meaning in caring for my family (especially when I knew I was the kind of person who could offer so much to the world!!). Really? Diapers and cleaning cheerios off the floor and yogurt off the curtains?
I read that book and it helped. And I’d recommend it for anyone who is struggling to know who they are and what they value in life.
And as I watched the end scene where Liz and her Brazilian beau speed boat out into the sunset, tonight I longed for that. For the freedom that comes with not having attachments. For the ability to do what you like and escape and feed your soul when it needs feeding.
But then I realized that I do get that. In little ways. Probably in lots of ways if I paid attention.
First of all, I know that it’s not just being married and having kids that prevents me from having freedom. There are limits to life no matter what your circumstances. Work, money, areas of obligation all keep us connected and unable to be as free with our time and our choices as we’d like in life.
But, we can choose to make the most of the moments we have. And that’s what I realized when I saw the speedboat in the sunset.
My speed boat into the sunset moment happens almost every weekday morning when the kids get on the bus. Marc and I have one glorious hour with the house to ourselves before he goes to work. These days it means the sun is shining in the windows and always the quiet of a new day is ahead of us — it’s quiet in that hour no matter how noisy and busy the day ends up being.
We sit and watch the kids get on the bus. Sometimes we go back to bed or I make a good breakfast while Marc showers, and we eat together often with kids’ dishes still strewn about the table, but we are together in the quiet.
It’s like a little love affair for one hour of the day. With bedhead, in our messy house, with a day of work looming.
Yet it feeds my soul — sometimes less in the moment itself and more as I think back on that hour later in the day. As I remember it, I feel the peace and security of that moment again. And I can be thankful for that little bit of peace in the midst of however the day or week has shaped up for my family.
Little moments of peace.
That’s all you can ever really ask for, isn’t it?