I am alone right now.

I am never alone anymore. It’s not because I have little ones. It’s because I have little ones, because their dad works from home, and because when I have free time, which I am fortunate to have regularly, I spend it with various friends from an irresistible circle of them.

This morning, for 3. Glorious. Hours. I am alone.

Well, alone at Panera.

But I’m alone at Panera, by the window, and the sun is mostly out, and I have my iPod.

Yesterday, the girls and I put in an 8 hour day out together. It wasn’t like a work day, but there was running. First we drove north to Beverly, a lovely area of Chicago where my friend Beck and her gorgeous family (& her gorgeous artwork & photography) have made their home. Their newest addition needed to be properly greeted, so we finally made it there, with lunch, dinner, and oogles for a sweet baby girl. There was a lot of activity, frozen pizza, and coffee with a friend I have has since, literally, the first day of school, each of us with two daughters (poor Seanny, the lone cowboy, was still at school). Who could ask for more?

After this we drove southwest to Tinley Park to flop at Maureen’s and bring her dinner as well. She just gave birth to sweet baby girl at the end of January, who also joined two older siblings. Maureen’s husband just resumed his work travel. We were happy – relieved even – to head over during the Witching Hours, that fine time between naps and dinner when everyone has freaks-out repeatedly. My children did not have naps at all, and another friend and her two darlings joined us, so the freak outs were multi-layered and textured.

Also, upon our arrival, I got a call from my hubby who had perhaps the first real conversation he’s had with our son in two months, since Move Out Day. Being with my friends helped me not to have my own freak out. Nothing else is “wrong.” It’s just that… nothing else about that situation is right, either.

By the time we left, the girls were zonked. It took them a few minutes to fall asleep to the sounds of their own iPod playlist (a proud collection of Disney soundtracks, Julie Andrews, the Isaacs, and urban gospel). I managed to get turned around, then had to pull over to scold Miranda after she slapped-the-crap out of Kaity for not agreeing that they should watch Pinocchio upon our getting home.

I was actually proud of the way I handled *that* freak out. Turns out, Miranda is me in a petite little bod. And I am pretty much an expert on handling me.

The rest of the day was something like this: they passed out, the woke up mad that I let them sleep in their carseats (in the garage) while I ran in to start dinner, they ate like pigs, they took baths, KK joined us in a phoned-prayer-circle for Layla Grace while Miranda terrorized her other sister (sorry Paige), they took baths and got so slap-happily-blissed-out and goofy that by the time I tucked them in, I was in love with them over and over and over again.

Then Rod took me to see Shutter Island, brilliant in its execution, utterly disturbing in its depiction of various horrendous deaths.


I was in such a negative mood through much of yesterday. Since the first time my parents indoctrinated showed me the Rocky movies, I have been a fan of the underdog story. Sometimes, though, I am sick of being the underdog, of being part of the startup. I’m not afraid to work and I can be as scrappy as they come. I just wouldn’t mind getting invited to the grown up table once in awhile without having to act like I’m not asking for one…

>> That is not the post I intended to write. I am actually pretty blissed out right now, knowing my girls are playing with their Daddy and probably eating his ‘amazing’ cheese quesadillas for lunch, that I am dropping off another blessing today –boxes and bundles of clothes to a local pregnancy center, that I am getting a real ‘just us’ date with my mom this afternoon (cannot remember the last one, but I bet it was just over 3 years ago…)

I am listening to my own tunes, just the plain ‘shuffle songs’ command on the iPod. I’ve harmonized with Johnny Cash and smiled with Travis Tritt and Kool & the Gang and angst-ed with Kenny Rogers. I’ve hit skip on some demos and Christmas songs, but not on anything Disney or otherwise overlapping with our ‘Babies in Car’ playlist. I love picking the songs myself – I am, after all, a control freak. But what I love most of all is that Miranda and Kaity’s choices and mine, for this special season of their lives that seems never ending and but will be way too short, are often the same.