Through the volunteer efforts of Jeremy's two sisters, I got two hours of alone time this afternoon. During those two hours, I went to Target, Panda Express, and Costco, and I made sure to note and savor all the little pleasures that come from being by oneself.
I didn't have to unload anyone from a carseat when I got to Target and schlep them into the store with me.
When I walked in, I reached for a cart and then realized that no, I just wanted a basket, and since I didn't have any kids with me, I could actually use one.
I walked down whatever dang aisles I wanted to and took my sweet time making shopping decisions, in blessed silence. It was such a treat to not have to keep one fourth of my brain focused on keeping Magdalena from falling out of the shopping cart, one fourth making sure Miriam doesn't wander away, one fourth answering Miriam's incessant "why?" questions, and oh yeah, one fourth comparing prices and products and sizes and colors and tallying it all with the shopping list and/or coupons. All while keeping the pace snappy so no one gets hungry, sleepy, or has to go to the bathroom during the shopping trip.
Then I went to Panda Express and ordered some spicy food, since I knew I wouldn't have to share it with any sensitive child palates. I read a book while I ate and I didn't have to chop up any food or spoon it into anyone else's mouth besides my own.
At Costco, I got a berry smoothie and drank it all by myself, again while reading a book. Nobody begged me for a sip, or complained that it was too cold, or chewed on the straw so it was yucky by the time I got it back. I just drank it, little by little, in complete leisure.
In the car, I listened to Evita as loud as I wanted to and didn't have to provide a running narrative of what each song was talking about to Miriam. Also, I pointed all the AC vents at myself, instead of directing them up and over my head to keep the girls cool. Talk about luxury!
By the time I went to my sister-in-law's house to pick up the girls, I was feeling happy and refreshed. I have to say, there is hardly anything in the world better than a childless aunt. We're down to two in our extended family now. My sister Teresa had a baby a few months ago and while of course it's still fun for her to visit, some of her nurturing energies have to be directed to her own kid now. And that makes the selfish part of me sad.
But I'm glad to still have two fun aunts for Miriam and Magdalena, at least for a little while longer. And I'm glad to be in a place (at least temporarily) where I can take advantage of them when I just need a date with myself.