Despite what I said about needing a retreat in my previous post, today I realized not only do I miss solitude, I miss being with other adults, sharing conversation about whatever comes up.
How can I tell? I spent most of the last hour talking with the HVAC repairman – a tall, slender, silver-haired man in his 50s who had a kind, gentle voice and a quiet, humorous way of conversing. He had three kids too, so he totally understood the insanity and joy that kids bring to life.
He had a non-judgmental way of looking at the world, and it came through when he spoke. When he laughed, it was a gentle kind of laugh, and when we discussed the probability that my husband and our friend made a mistake when they installed the fan in the first place, he simply said, “but to be honest, that would have been the last thing anyone would have thought about”.
The loneliness a stay-at-home mother can feel is all too real. Especially for this highly sensitive stay-at-home mother. When I worked in the laboratory, I loved having conversations with my colleagues, sharing work-related information, troubleshooting instruments, sharing personal stories and troubleshooting lives.
I love people (most people anyway). I love watching their facial expressions, I love listening to the cadence of their voices, I love trying to interpret what their non-verbal movements are telling me that their words are not. I love wondering about the soul of the person beneath the facade of the body that I see.
It’s easy to forget this experience when I’m with my children all day long. The cacophony around here is unbelievable at times and it is too much to take in.
I stayed around this kind, hard-working man when he worked on our air conditioning unit. I asked if he minded if I watched while he worked on it and he said, “not at all”. I watched his hands as he worked on the wiring, listened to his voice as he spoke, and joked about the frustrations of kids.
When I told him I was going to get the kids’ bikes out so they would quit bugging us every 5 minutes, he laughed and said, “oh, that’ll never happen”. I laughed because it was so true.
I was grateful for him because he lifted me out of a melancholy mood I’ve been in. And he really didn’t do anything except make me laugh and talk to me and let me watch him work.
I miss the laughter, and the easy-going feeling of communicating in this way. My husband and I are going through a rough patch – not because of each other, but because of the intensity parenting kids in general, particularly intense kids like we have (someone is always crying around here). It’s hard to find the laughter in the midst of chaos with little ones. I look to my husband to help lift me up when he comes home from work…but I see him caught up in his own emotional storm – frustrated and weary from work and commuting in clogged traffic (he swears everyone is out to run him off the road). Coming home for respite, he finds it’s not quite the respite he was hoping for.
For the first time in a long time I saw him laughing and having fun with the girls in my daughter’s room yesterday. I saw him smile and laugh…I saw him happy for the first time in a long while. While I’m sure he’s not un-happy, it’s been a while since I’ve seen an expression of happiness and not grouchiness. And of course, being deeply sensitive to his moods, it affects me too. I can’t be really happy when he’s looking grouchy. I’m sure he feels the same way about me too.
Something has to change. I’m not sure what that is…but I know I’ll figure it out. Send me some wishes that it will happen sooner than later.