Last weekend, I was alone in my house for 48 hours.
This might seem like a non-event, but for the matriarch of a gang of 6 (did I really just refer to myself as a matriarch? Ugh!), it really is an event. I do not think I have been by myself in this house overnight in seventeen years. I have taken work trips, but that’s not quite the same.
How did this miracle occur? Well, we were planning to spend Memorial Day weekend at my in-laws’ lake house, but #3 was leaving on a science trip and his departure was on Saturday. First we thought we’d put him on the bus and go, but then we found out his bus didn’t leave until late afternoon. By that time it’s questionable whether it’s worth going down at all.
So I waved my husband and #s 1, 2, and 4 out of the driveway after breakfast on Saturday, and 6 hours later put #3 on the bus to the Tetons—and went home to an empty house.
Life has been ridiculous this year. You always think, “This is it, it’s as busy as it could possibly get.” And then the universe cackles, “O-ho-ho, is THAT what you think?” and rubs its hands together in glee.
I have felt like I could barely breathe for about… well, I was going to say since April, but then I backed it up to March, and then I remember how grouchy I was in March because I was too busy to get anything done, and I am forced to consider the possibility that it’s been this entire danged calendar year.
So I will admit that when I realized the implications of this new plan, my heart felt big and expansive, while simultaneously holding its breath.
My primary fear was that I wouldn’t make good use of it. How DO you make good use of such a weekend? Filling it with other social engagements is nothing but replacing one kind of chaos with another. I love my friends and I love my family, but if I have a weekend to be a hermit, by golly I want to HERMIT. (Yes. I did just make it into a verb.)
So Saturday evening, I had dinner and watched a movie and then took myself down to my beloved writing patio—a place where normally I am constantly checking the time—and I dove into writing a flashback scene for Book 3 (book 2 is awaiting 2nd round feedback at present). I thought I knew the characters’ history—a woman and her sister—but things were popping out in that scene that I did not know had happened to them! That’s where the magic is, people.
Some time later, my laptop went into battery saver mode, and I came up for air to find that it was totally dark outside—so dark, the world ended at my computer screen—and that it was bedtime.
I thought about watching some TV, but went to bed instead. So in the morning, I went down to the piano at 6:30… because there was no one to disturb! I practiced stuff I have to play at convention and revised a psalm setting before going outside to prune the spent peonies and the maple tree you can’t mow underneath and one of the forsythias. I mowed the entire lawn. Took a shower. Went and bought bite-sized gooey butter cakes from my friend at the artisans’ market. All before church! I ate lunch. Read about 50 pages of a book. Folded laundry.
And then back to the patio, to alternate writing with watching the sycamores sway.
Monday morning I got up early again so I could go kayaking before everyone else came out to the lake. And then more writing, and—when my brain finally shut down–I took a break and watched some Netflix until it came time to flip the switch and go back to being home and logistics coordinator… i.e. get dinner going so it would be ready when the traveling hordes returned.
It was an amazing weekend.
Now we’re right back in the chaos—such chaos, I didn’t even get this post finished until Friday afternoon! (Does Friday actually exist during summer break? There are no days of the week when kids are home from school, are there?)
Staying home meant I missed some great moments with the family.
But I got something precious in return.