It's 10 a.m. on a Saturday. And I am sitting in a coffee shop. Drinking, well, coffee. Munching on a yummy morning glory muffin. And I am alone. Well, not alone. The coffee shop is full of people. But not one of them will look at me and wail "Mammmmmaaaaaaa" while pushing at my shirt and slapping my chest to be breastfed (at least I hope they won't because that would be pretty weird). They won't punch the person next to them and start screaming and wailing for me to break up the kerfuffle (and yes, kerfuffle is a technical term). And if they do start pushing and shoving and wailing, I can call the cops on them, which I cannot do with my childrens shenanigans. The coffee people won't ask me to play with them, entertain them, put them down for naps, change their diapers or wipe their bums. And hopefully, none of them will get all friendly-like and try to chat. Because I'm having a morning off. Off off. Not like, the-kids-are-napping-or-sleeping-and-could-wake-up-any-minute kinda off. Because that's not off. That's on-call. I mean really off.
I cannot remember the when or where of the last time I did this. By this I mean, went somewhere physically apart from my kids. What I can tell you is that it's likely been too long. Because I can actually feel the relief of it viscerally. The relief of separate-ness. Of detachment, however fleeting. The constant feeling of being needed, which is conversely elating and draining, is rolling off my body. I can feel my shoulders and jaw unclenching. My fingers can fly across the keyboard as long as the ideas keep coming and no one will ask me to put the computer away. This is mine.
I look up at the door and see parents walk in with kids Boy-o and Girlio's age. It gives me a bit of a warm fuzzy and I am able to smile and think about my beautiful peeps, who are waiting for me at home, and who will easily forgive my absence. But it also gives me a feeling of tremendous relief, that right now, I am alone.
And no one needs me but me.