It was a fluke really, my 45 hours alone. I was supposed to travel to Nashville, driving my niece and her new baby to see her dad, my brother-in-law. But plans changed, and suddenly I didn’t have to go. I cancelled the boarding and bath for my dog, my 8-year-old was already at her other grandparents, and I saw my husband off for his business trip.
And then, I saw the angels sing, the sky open and the rainbows light up with karma flying between each color.
I was alone. All alone.
All alone in the house, with no other humans calling my name or asking me where their underwear was or when I was planning on feeding them.
I could binge watch all the TV shows I wanted to and not a single one of them would be about aliens, John Wayne or war, and I didn’t have to scan quickly through the kids’ network channels so Tater wouldn’t see iCarly or Scooby-Doo. I could leave the television on all night long while I slept on the clean sheets in the guest room, blaring infomercials at 3 a.m., with crackers on the pillow in case I needed a snack in the middle of the night.
I could make chocolate chip cookies with lots of walnuts because the girl child doesn’t like lots of walnuts and with all the chocolate-covered caramel pieces I could fit in the bowl because someone else can’t eat chocolate. And I could eat every single last cookie I made—all by myself.
Popcorn for dinner and cheesecake for dessert.
NCIS on a continuous loop with my laptop in my lap.
I would wear pajama pants, and a tank top without a bra because it doesn’t matter what hangs out.
Visions of watching all the chick flicks, sleeping til noon and taking ridiculously long bubble baths flitted through my head like the fairytales of a 52-year-old woman who’s raising an 8-year-old granddaughter, who cares for an 85-year-old father who lives in her yard, and who has a husband that travels.
This was the stuff of dreams.
Imagine! Reading entire chapters of a book without stopping 12 times on each page to look for a sock, find a child or answer 54 questions that start with “Why?”
I began to formulate a plan in my head, attempting to appear remorseful that I would be all alone, without my loving family to keep me company. I would hate being lonely while they were working and playing, and would miss them terribly, but I would, somehow, manage to make it through the 45 (forty-five!!!) hours without them.
I planned the hours like a general plans an attack, even thinking about the extra sleep I would be able to get, awaking refreshed, rested and ready to tackle the day. I wanted to sleep for hours to catch up on the last 30 years of life, but I also wanted to take advantage of every single hour and wondered if I could simply stay awake for the entire time. (I decided that no, I could not.)
After I finally had the house to myself, I sat down on the couch, got my laptop and turned on the television. I found the Hallmark movies I had recorded and settled in to watch, read and surf all at the same time, ready to enjoy my solitude and relish in all that this quiet me time would allow.
I woke four hours later, my laptop battery dead, my recording ended and my neck sore.
I just went ahead and called the girl, checking to see if she might want to come home a little early. We had chocolate chip cookies to make and a spa day to plan.