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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

I am sitting alone at 7:00, normally the crazy dinner hour where everyone eats something different unless I find the time to cook something. Then we eat together, the baby saying "something else", my husband trying to keep a smile on his face and sincerity in his voice when he tells me what I made is good. And I just give the run down on what I didn't do right, and what I would change the next time I make this. Which will inevitably be a long time from now because to be honest, I don't really cook that much.

But not tonight. Tonight I am alone, sitting on the red check couch I foolishly picked out right after we bought our first (and only) house. Back when I was young, on the verge of getting married, on the verge of grown-upedness. Back when I thought I knew what I wanted. Now I sit on this couch and wish I could go back to that twenty something, and tell her a thing or two...least of all not to buy the damn checked couch, to listen to Nate from Oprah and buy a solid neutral couch. Tastes will change, and disposable income will be sparse in the future, and you will regret the red check. But in a way sitting on it reminds me of all those stupid things you have to learn the hard way-the things countless others who have been down the road before you warn you about, but somehow you are compelled to make the decision on your own and learn not from advice, but from making the mistake on your own. It's not just you, you know it because you have told those coming down the road behind you to go for the beige couch, and they are, this very night, probably sitting on their own funky blue paisley loveseat having similar regrets. A right of passage I suppose.

And it's okay with me. All these stupid mistakes that turn out to be life lessons. Some small, like the red check couches, some larger, like quitting my job right before the economy goes down the sewer. But none devastating, none that can't be righted eventually. None leave a lasting scar, and most provide endless entertainment in the form of "remember how stupid we were when..." stories.

But in my solitude, and on my check couches, I am restless. I am not often alone, and the quiet makes me uneasy. My mind races. The baby, who is no longer a baby, is at my mom's for the night. My husband is teaching at his alma mater until late, and the house sits still. Her little chuck taylors are strewn on the floor, with puzzle pieces and little people barn animals and bike helmets and baseball gloves. I don't pick them up until right before my husband comes home because they comfort me and remind me of her. When she is here, I consider it a mess, but when she is gone, even if only for the night, the 'mess' is my reminder of her.

I am lonely without them. Which is ironic because I so often wish for a night alone. But I need their noise and screaming delights and 'get my hiney' chasing games. I need the chaos that they bring because it is what calms me most of all. And though the red check couches were a disastrous choice, I think they were meant to be in a way. I don't care that she leaves a half eaten apple on the cushion, or spills a little milk when I grab her off to tickle her in the mornings. They are getting worn, and I see the beginnings of fray, and there are some chocolate like substances on the arm cover. But it doesn't bother me, because I think "this is my life. These couches are broken in, comfortable, lived in" like my life.

I am itchy and can't sit still. I want him to come home from his class, fill the house with sound. I want her to ask me for a treat after not eating her dinner. I want to feel them both, smell them both. She has inherited his exact smell, and I miss it now. I want to tell him sternly that it is time for her to go to bed, and to have him plead for 15 more minutes with her, drag out her bath time even against my direct instructions not to. My heart swells when I think about them, and I miss them more than is reasonable given it is one freaking night. Just 7 hours of solitude that I routinely wish for... be careful what you wish for, because you may not really understand what you want.

Once I wanted red checked couches. Once I wanted a night off from them.

I sit on the red checked couch and wish I could go back and tell my twenty something self that she doesn't really know what she wants, that times change, tastes change. Don't get those ugly country bumpkin couches. They won't go with anything.

And then it occurs to me that when I am fortysomething, and my baby is too big to hold, when she takes her own showers, and doesn't need to be rocked and sung to sleep, when she doesn't require so much of my time and my energy, when she doesn't call out to me through a monitor at an ungodly hour in the morning, I will sit on my (hopefully pale gray neutral by that time) sofa and wish I could go back to my thirtysomething self and tell her to soak it in, because these are the best of times.

And my thirtysomething self, will say, "I know."


Anonymous Molly said...

Great post! I cried :-).

2:12 PM  
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