Scary stories from a lovely place
There was something really special about the time I was here in Ireland without Stephen. It was hard to care for the kids alone, yes, and I really missed him. I was very happy when he arrived and am glad to be enjoying Dublin with him. I don’t want to be here without him again.
But the weeks I was here alone were nice for my soul. I enjoyed catching the bus into town on my own. I enjoyed exploring different streets and the river Liffey and soaking up the sunshine. I relished the opportunity to peruse second hand bookshops and jewellery stores and sit quietly in a pub and write.
When I got married I was very happy about it. But it was also the end of a very important era in my life, which was quite short really, in the big scheme of things. I enjoyed being autonomous. I often wondered who I would marry, if I did, and what it would be like, but I certainly enjoyed the being alone. Stephen did too, I think. Although he did freak out a bit after we got engaged because he realised he would probably never get to fulfill his dream to live in America and work on a horse ranch.
When the kids came along, everything changed, again. The last time we were in Ireland I was pregnant with Silas, so it was our last holiday as non-parents. I remember one afternoon in Wexford we looked for ages in a shop at overpriced baby stuff. While walking in Wexford the other day I remembered that wasted time together, and many similar times, and wished we had cherished our time together more while a twosome.
Being a parent is great and I find a surprising amount of joy in the whole caper. But when it starts there is no turning back. Life changes irrevocably. If marriage is the end of solitude, then parenthood is the end of peace. Time alone can be grasped and enjoyed but it comes in snatched moments, especially when the kids are really young.
When Stephen is at home I generally get less of the things done that I really want to do. I read and write less. I eat less. I barely ever knit. When he is home we do things together, but not things that make me feel useful and productive. But I want to do these unproductive things because I like Stephen. I want to sit and talk or eat ice cream or watch Gavin and Stacey over and over again. But later I regret that I hadn’t used my precious kid free time more productively.
But then when Stephen gets home and the kids go to bed I settle in for more of the unproductivity.
Solitude and productivity ends when I’m not alone, when Stephen arrives. It’s replaced by good things, like conversation, mutual relaxation and sharing, of beer, for example, among other things.