Saturday, April 2, 2011

April 2, 2011 ~ Day 114
Saturday Night

10:45 on a Saturday night. Reminds me of an old Cure song... almost. Unlike Robert Smith I'm not actually sitting here waiting for the telephone to ring; rather, I'm quietly relaxing for the first time all day.

I'm the only one awake at our house but that is pretty much par for the course. My husband had a long day and since tomorrow is my personal day (YAY!!!) he wisely headed off to bed an hour ago, knowing that he'll be up on Daddy Duty by 6:30am.

So here I am, just me and this glowing rectangle of light on my lap... enjoying the hum of a portable dishwasher, filled with gratitude that I actually managed to accomplish a few things while watching the kids today. Laundry. Organizing. A decent home-cooked meal. Two days worth of dishes. All of this despite the fact that I was awake last night caring for my small daughter until about 4am... poor thing had a terrible stomach ache.

It seems like a long time ago that my Saturday nights were filled with mascara and lingerie, new clothes, sushi and sake with friends and MUSIC. So much music. It was everything to me, and any given night spent listening alone to a great band was better than most first dates I ever went on.

I've stopped fighting against the passage of time though, and the changes that have been wrought by the past seven years upon our once vibrant social life. I cannot envision a world in which I would ever leave my husband at home on a Saturday night with the kids these days so I could go out and listen to music with my girlfriends - I don't even know the names of most local bands anymore. I still relish all occasions when I can drag my man out of the house to hear live music though, and I do manage to do it every few months.

We're getting closer to 40 than 30 and it doesn't always feel right to be out at a nightclub anymore. We're often surprised to see just how young many of the hipsters look these days... and how few people we actually know when we do head out.

The scene has moved on, and I'm grateful that so have we. It would be a little sad if we were still out partying and seeking meaning with a room full of twenty-somethings at the age of 40. What does Matthew McConaughey say in Dazed and Confused? "That's what I like about high school girls: I keep getting older, they stay the same age."

That may be every guy's best dream... but it sure isn't mine.

I do wonder what the Saturday nights of our future hold. Right now we're really tied to the house and our children, but ten years from now, the ground may have shifted beneath our feet.

We'll have sixteen and fourteen year old boys and a twelve year old daughter; I'm guessing they aren't going to want to stay home and watch videos with us on very many Saturday nights. Gosh, we won't even need to hire a babysitter anymore! My husband and I may actually get to reclaim our weekend evenings; at least some of them.

Just typing that makes my heart race a little though, and not in a good way. Only ten years until my kids are not going to want to be with me anymore. Until the key women in their lives are more likely to be school friends, girlfriends and teachers rather than their mother.

It's hard to fathom that the same little people who will barely leave me alone for 30 seconds to use the bathroom by myself right now will soon no longer have much use for me other than as resident chauffeur and bearer of the credit card. That thought makes me really sad. I guess I'd better start preparing for the inevitable breakaway slowly, so it doesn't feel devastating when it finally happens.

It also makes me think that I need to get better about keeping up my friendships - always the first thing to slide when our kids get sick or our schedules get slammed - because one day soon these three little treasured companions will not be here any more and I can envision that as being a very, very lonely time. I'm going to need my friends more than ever.

Oh geez, listen to me... I've got empty nest syndrome sixteen years early!

Actually, the way things have been going around our house lately I may end up feeling very very happy to let my flock fly free and have a little time and space to myself in sixteen years.

This past week the three year old has been ramping up in a huge way and suddenly I have TWO little tantrum-prone dynamos on my hands. Sometimes I just have to laugh because there is so much screaming going on in my house around me that if I didn't laugh out loud at the sheer absurdity of the situation, I'd surely cry.

Envisioning the future then, I suppose this is what I would most want: A Saturday night supper club where our closest family friends (and their kids) and we (and our kids) would get together each week at rotating houses for dinner and then perhaps head out for a fun activity. The kids could split off if they wanted to after dinner but in my ideal world, we'd have enough stuff going on at our various houses with the whole flock of us that they'd actually want to hang out with us 'old folk'.

In practice, I really don't know what that would look like. It certainly wasn't that way in the house where I grew up... my parents didn't do much socializing with other families, ever. I spent much of my teenage years staying mainly over at my friends' houses ~ and chatting up their parents far more than I ever talked to my own.

At least one family considered me their adopted daughter in high school and told their adult friends openly that I was their third child. I loved that, feeling so at home with them. I still adore those sisters to this day, two of the most special people in the universe, and I still consider their parents to be like a second mom and dad to me, although I almost never get to see them any more.

I wonder now though, how my own parents felt about losing me on nights and weekends to another family. I wonder if it ever made them feel sad. I guess some day I'll have to ask my mother.

I suppose there is no way to fully understand how she may have felt until I actually get there as a mother in ten years or so... and my own daughter wants always to spend the night or weekend at her best friend's house. Who knows - maybe it will be a relief by then to get a break? I just don't know.

The one thing I feel fairly confident about is that Saturday nights will continue to change, along with us. I don't think ten years from now it is likely that I will be writing on the couch like this with my three adolescent children sleeping peacefully just steps away.

I actually don't think ten years from now my husband will be sound asleep on a Saturday night at 10:45pm either... if he knows he can actually sleep a bit the next day, he'll be far more likely to stay awake with me.

Tonight is a treasure then, a priceless gift of time in which my family is all safe and well cared for: snug and secure here within this little nest we have created (which is especially great for someone as Type A as me... I'm still in control!). My brood is healthy tonight, and they're all sleeping soundly.

This quiet moment on the couch spent thinking and writing may turn out to be a sweet memory in years to come... one sacred instant distilled from a relatively innocent time: Our young family is a strong, self-contained unit and I am still the magical mama who can make everything better with hugs and homemade cookies; glasses of milk and extra bedtime stories. That won't last forever. It's worth cherishing.

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