When I was a kid I remember always wanting to be older than I was. I couldn't wait to be grown up. And my parents would say not to wish my life away, because it really does go so fast.
You don't really get it until suddenly you're in a position to understand it all too well.
Summers, my absolute favorite season, were almost endless--in the very best possible way--when I was a kid. And now they fly.
Although I will say that this summer home with my children has pretty much been the longest year of my life. I love them with my entire heart and soul. And still. It is so exhausting to watch and listen to and interact with them all day long.
We've started going to the pool a lot, which is fun for all. I have wonderful memories of long days spent at the pool in my youth. It also makes them very tired, which inures to my benefit.
But this requires a lot of watching. Not only because I'm making sure that my little dumplings don't drown. But because they are doing things. Things that would clearly otherwise not happen, like the tree falling in the forest with nobody around, were their mother not watching.
"Watch me, Mama!"
"I am watching you, sweetheart."
"Are you still watching?"
"I sure am."
"Mama! Look at me!"
"Do you see my eyes? They are looking. Straight at you. They are watching you and looking at you with the watchiest looks ever."
Recently I said to Nick, "I'd be a complete fucking lunatic if I were an actual stay-at-home mom."
He paused and said, "Lisa. You are an actual stay-at-home mom."
Oh. Yah. Well.
I think I actually grew up a lot in the past year, which sounds silly because hell, look how old I am. But I did. I realized some huge things, and let go of some even bigger ones. And I'm lighter for it.
I'm not saying I'm limitless (maybe one day!). I'm just stronger and less bound.
So tonight I plan to do something that I would never have done in the past. Maybe for you this is not a big deal. But it has never been something I felt like I could do.
I'm taking myself out. I'm going to a delightful restaurant in our neighborhood. Just me. I'm going to get dressed up and sit at the bar and order dinner.
When Betty asked what I wanted for my birthday, I said, "Time." I want some time. Oh, and a pedicure.
So I cooked up this plan whereby I leave my mother and my progeny and I walk out the door and spend a few hours doing whatever I want. With nobody asking me for anything.
When I told Nick about this plan, he said, "But don't you want to have your birthday dinner with me?"
"Of course I do. Except that you're in Boston."
It's not that I'm trying to be alone. I just want to have a grown-up evening without organizing anyone else, is what it comes down to. I don't want to ask people about their availability or accommodate anyone.
Mostly, I want to go where I want to go and just be.
It feels very selfish.
We ate cake for breakfast because we're not having cake tonight. I felt a pang of guilt because we're not having a real party, and my kids love birthday parties. And then I remembered that we are having birthday party for Jordan very soon. Tiny, and his request, but with candles and cake, which is really what constitutes a party in their eyes.
And anyway, it's my birthday. I got over the guilt pretty quickly. I mean, cake for breakfast, guys.
So. Me. Alone.
I've traveled alone, but I've always been self-conscious about sitting alone at a restaurant. I'm not, as my friend Kaysha likes to say, particularly food motivated. So it's always been easy for me to skip a meal or grab a sandwich or something.
I'm so good with alone at home. I revel in alone at home. And I love running alone.
But being alone at a nice restaurant? Being so very obviously on my own, sitting still? This is the kind of alone that I have avoided like the plague. I was not OK with it.
And now I am.
I'm 46. And I'm taking myself out for dinner.