on my own

Earlier this month, my husband set off for some meetings in Michigan where his parents live. I was unable to go because of some prior obligations, but he went—with the boys—to grandma’s. This means that I had eleven and a half days all by myself. I know this makes some of you insanely jealous and others of you cringe with loneliness. Anyway, not having been that much on my own since, well, about ten years ago, was interesting. Here’s what I learned:

Furniture is an inanimate object. Most of the time my couch, tables and chairs move.  Not once this week did I have to put a chair, table, or even couch back to its “correct” position. Also, though, there were no superhero dog liftoffs or toddler climbing expeditions.

My sons have taught me to prioritize things in life. It was so clear this week, being all on my own again, that I am far more able to slow down and enjoy things, that I no longer insist things be perfect to be right and that I am much more ready to accept my own limitations. Those are some really good things to learn and lessons I (the harried perfectionist superwoman) never would have chosen.

My boys have made me a harder worker. I miss sleeping in on Saturdays terribly, but when I got the chance this week (and took it) I realized that I now also miss getting 10 things done before noon.

If I am this dysfunctional without my husband after ten years, I can’t imagine how I’ll do after thirty or forty years. Seriously, kill me now. Or at least before him. That boy is my crack.

Life is for sharing. I can’t remember the last time my head was this clear and it’s wonderful, but there comes a point when all that clarity needs to spill out somewhere and find its home. A good reminder that God made us to live in community which reflects His own Trinitarian character.

Yippee, I still have the ability to be amazingly productive. In the first 2 hours after dropping my men off at the airport, I had come home, straightened the entire house, made a coffeecake and swept, mopped and vacuumed everything. On the other hand, the scenario of walking into a room or opening a cupboard and then staring blankly while I tried to remember what I was doing happened many times.  So, yes, my children do slow me down a lot but I guess I can’t blame them for everything. Apparently in the same time that I’ve been having and tending children I’ve simultaneously grown older. Dangit, that’s a double whammy.

I no longer feel like myself on my own. This thought hit me on about day #4. On day #7, I read these words: “In the trinity… distinct persons are internally constituted by the indwelling of other persons in them. The personal identity of each is unthinkable without the presence of others in each; such presence of others is part and parcel of the identity of each. A self-enclosed identity constituted in pure opposition to the other is unthinkable; the Father is the Father in no other way but in the dynamic of his relationship to the Son and the Spirit…” (Miroslav Volf, on 1 Cor 11).

I can easily spend two hours a day cleaning up after my family just for that day. This week, I spent two hours total cleaning up after myself for that week. That. Was. Nice. I’m happy to serve my family in this way, but I have also realized the importance of beginning to teach my children to clean up after themselves.=)

I enjoyed a lot of kale-with-poached-egg kind of meals that week. And tonight I’m cooking kielbasa. Yep, the boys are back.

So we’re changing our names
And we’re leaving the places that we know

Wagon wheel off the track
There is no going back
To a place we don’t love as much

When everything is crazy
Just remember baby
When it’s good it doesn’t seem so bad

(“Valentine,” Sandra McCracken)



Filed under Christian Living, Family

6 responses to “on my own

  1. Great post Annalisa! Wow, 11 days by yourself. That’s pretty epic. The kale and poached eggs sound good ….

    I laughed out loud at “that boy is my crack.” i feel that way about mine too. haha!

    enjoy having them back 🙂

  2. Alyssa Farinella

    Loved it! I laughed out loud as well at “that boy is my crack”! Love it! You crack me up. It was nice being able to relate to another mom:) What would I do with 11 days without all my men??? wow! I don’t know what I would do with myself…I would definitely get caught up on a lot of reading:) And I would probably only dirty one spoon and one bowl the whole time….for I live on cereal when Matt is gone b/c I hate cooking:) 🙂 And, I would not have to clean the toilet seat before I used it! hahahaha! But I would probably do it anyways out of habit:)

    Enjoyed the read:)

    • annalisaphillipswilson

      haha, yes the toilets of young boys… they should like warn every mother who gives birth to a boy about what she’ll be cleaning up 3 years later. yikes.

  3. Sounds like you had a nice break. Reminds me a little of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s GIFT FROM THE SEA in which she spent time alone at a beach housing, thinking about her family, her life, her goals. There’s something wonderful about a day of silence when you’re used to a bustling family. It makes me appreciate them more.

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