I lived on my own from ages 23 to age 33. And I am an only child, so before that I had ample opportunity to demonstrate that I am quite capable of hanging out on my own. I eat loneliness for breakfast… because, as I have realized many, many, many times in my life, there are things that are a lot worse than being alone.
On Thursday morning, DH and SS left for Scout Camp. They both took supercool boy campboxes… and SS took with him like 75% of the noise that is made in the house. Here is an action shot of them leaving at 6 AM:
Cue first round of panic. As a stepmom, I feel like a mom of a newborn baby when left alone with the kids… MUST KEEP ALIVE. My SD is healthy, healthy, healthy… I cringe at fathoming the hell of having a kid who is not healthy. But as soon as DH walked out that door, I went on “Stay Alive” watch. I woke up at least 1/2 a dozen times each night to make sure she was still breathing. I whiteknuckle drove us when we had to venture outside the house. I checked and rechecked the locks on the door. In short, I toyed with sanity.
I loved spending 1:1 time with SD, but felt a huge relief when her mom picked her up and making sure a healthy, 11-year old girl stayed alive was taken off my plate.
Cue second round of panic. I have not been completely on my own at home for an extended period of time for quite a while. The house is so quiet. There is no one to walk up to and ask for a hug. (Except Annie who doesn’t really like hugs.) I saw the two days stretching out before me and was very scared.
I know I should savor the time I have to myself, but I get enough of it in short spurts (every Thursday night I have to myself.), that I don’t necessarily crave time to myself. I crave downtime, for sure, but I like to have at least DH around me during that downtime.
In those moments, I realized I don’t really have hangy-out friends. I realized I would need to find a way to entertain myself. So I turned off Jeopardy and got in the car and headed to the fabric store. Do you know what cures lonely panic? A trip to the fabric store.
I had a vague idea that I wanted to redo my bedroom this summer, and that I wanted to do a couple projects while DH was away. But then I sat in the parking lot of the fabric store, decided I was going to do the whole room redo this weekend, and made a list. And then I bought everything I could in my budget (my personal allowance for the month). And brought everything home and laid it out on my dining room table and smiled and didn’t feel panicky or lonely… just excited about the new room to come.
I went to Urban Arts & Crafts and JoAnn and was well under my budget. And then I went to Pier 1. Fucking Pier 1. And then I went over my budget. But decided in the moment that the adorable chair pad was worth way more than getting my nails done next month.