Note: This is a guest post on my blog by a wonderful writer, Keesha. Enjoy!
I felt like a wild, childless twenty-something, even though I was a thirty-nine year old mother of two children under four.
The night before, two mom friends and I met for appetizers and drinks, and closed down a local restaurant.
The next morning these same women and I armed ourselves with egg sandwiches, coffee and sunglasses, and took our non-preschool attendees to the playground.
It was an ideal day — sunny and warm enough to get away with only a t-shirt. The park was relatively empty.
Each of our children who could walk did a wonderful job navigating the equipment and toys on their own, and we moms used this opportunity to practice our non-helicopter parenting and chat.
When the kids became clingy and whiny and began interrupting our conversations, in very un-French fashion, we soothed them with snacks.
We needed each other that morning.
The only thing worse than, “God, I’m hungover and I’m on solo mommy duty today,” would have been “God, it’s 100 degrees outside and I’m stuck inside a port-o-potty.”
Our playground playdate felt fun and mischievous, almost like playing hooky from being moms. The camaraderie – the support – of parallel parenting felt like a lifeline.
I felt greedy. I wanted more.
I wished that my friends and I had the freedom to go shopping, or to go have a nice lunch. Even with our children. I longed to stay with my pals and just go somewhere.
But, of course, this was impossible.
There were older siblings who needed to be picked up from preschool. There were lunches to make and eat, and naps to be taken. There was a rhythm to the day, and we had to keep marching RIGHT. ON. THE. BEAT.
By noon, our little morning-after fiesta at the playground was over.
I walked home with my friend who didn’t have to rush to midday preschool pick-up.
At the corner where our paths diverged, we became like sad children who at playdate’s end, can’t bear to part, can’t bear to leave the high of having fun with friends.
“Don’t leave me alone with her,” I blurted out. I was referring to my daughter who I’d be spending the afternoon with before picking her brother at school.
I said it out loud. And my friend knew just what I meant.
It wasn’t that I was out of patience or angry, as my little girl had behaved well that morning. Nor was I going to do anything desperate, violent or destructive. I love my daughter madly.
But I wanted company.
I craved it. It takes a village, not just for cooking and cleaning, or for education, discipline, safety and health, but for moral support.
Back at home, Lady A and I did lunch and got ready for her nap. We snuggled together in the glider chair in her room. I nuzzled her soft cheek, breathed in the scent of her hair and sang “You are My Sunshine.”
I felt monstrously guilty. Tears sprang to my eyes. Why did I sometimes feel lost? Why was I making this so hard? How could I seize more — create more — giddy, childlike escapes for myself?
We work so hard to live in the moment with our children, and often we succeed. But in our own lives, we mothers are rarely able to be really and truly present.
Can we recapture even some degree of spontaneity? Or is the ability to seize moments for ourselves something we’ll have to long for and reminisce about?
Keesha Beckford is a former professional dancer who has performed here in the U.S. and in Europe. Currently, she is a master dance teacher in the Chicago area. A mother of two, she stages frequent living room dance parties, sometimes solo and sometimes with other members of her family. She blogs at Mom’s New Stage to keep her creative juices flowing, as well as to explore the question “How does she do it?” for herself and other moms in the arts.
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