For 11 years, 6 months and 13 days, I have waited. For the silence, for the endless days to myself...for the time to go off into my head without constant interruptions involving lost Barbie shoes and whose turn it was to swing first.
Living on some days and often for some day, those endless weeks where even a minute of silence was an impossible task.
Long days of sweaty, small faces, giggles, tears and homemade blue green pancake batter turning into what would make good playdoh in my best pan. Blue splattered pathways on the brand new kitchen floor, that would never come up.
"I gave the cat a bath," the little one says, holding out her scratch filled arms. The cat glares at us from under the sofa, still soap covered and smelling an awful lot like peaches. Meowing in her remember what I did to the bunny, squirrel and 50 birds you have found on your front porch, back of the throat don't even think about messing with me evil kitty voice.
The children conspire with the Universe, encouraging me...perhaps, into believing for a moment or two I might feel some sort of grateful relief that the summer days dwindle steadily past. Like the sleepless shifting nights... so pregnant...wishing for 10 minutes of rest, not knowing that rest..for the next 18 years at least... will be a vague and fondly remembered blip, back by the dusty things.
"Aren't you excited?" I ask them while out shopping for school supplies and school clothes and any other time it happens to cross my mind, which is often. They hem and haw at me and I wonder if they are as unexcited about the whole prospect as I am and briefly consider homeschooling. But soon enough the backpacks and lunch boxes, shimmering in their brand new plastic glory, covered with Hello Kitty and Spiderman, muster up their enthusiasm and we are counting down the days every half hour.
Not writing, not writing, not writing...not doing much of anything but taking in their frenzied last moments of unplanned lazy days.
Then, before it seems it should, the day comes. The almost as tall as me, now 6th grade boy, heading off first, on the bus with a casual "Bye Mom" over his shoulder as he goes. The girl child on her bus next, entirely too cool for me to drive to school. And then the babies, who really aren't, nudging me out of the car and into the building, tugging me eagerly forward by both arms. "Hurry Mama," a far cry from the tears I'd expected from my littlest, the wee princess.
I'm grateful for the hugs and kisses bestowed before they run off blending into the throngs of eager children, suddenly so apart from me... And then terribly alone.
Long hours to fill..of myself...for myself...by myself, a blank page to be scribbled on. I sit with it at first. I wallow in it. Rolling around in these moments I've longed for and now would willingly give back. A week or more of it, ignoring the phone ringing and notebooks and pencils in favor of random tears, until three o'clock when the house is loud and colorful with them.
Home with stories of friends and triumphs and life altering tragedies of the Elementary school sort until I feel sick of myself.
The next day I discover the stereo, a solid steady rhythm to break up the sound of my own breath, loud in my ear. And slowly awaken. Writing around it, through it and then finally beyond it. Vowing not to be scared...to see...to be...with me, here in this place I've longed for.