Have you ever noticed that the quieter you try to be, the louder you actually are? The same holds true for the more you pretend that everything is OK, the more off kilter everything really tends to be. The truth is the little things have been making me cranky and I've been having a really hard time pretending that they are not. The kicker came Friday evening at Michael's work Christmas party. I had dressed the Cabbage in the cutest outfit that I'd purchased for her weeks ago. I'd been dying to see her in it and there she was in all her ruffle glory sitting on Santa's lap, cute as can be. Then Santa looked out into the audience of people and kids and said "Where's the mom? Is mom here?". Michael quickly replied "Oh no, her mom's not here." I felt a sharp pang, like a kick in the gut as all the adult eyes turned to me with puzzled looks. Michael instantly turned to me and whispered "did I handle that right? I didn't know how to answer that question. Was that OK?" and I just nodded. We really weren't prepared for that or how to deal with it, but I was surprised that it had bruised my feelings a bit. Some time during the end of last week, I was told that the Cabbage had a play date on Saturday in Lee Summit. Michael needed one more part to fix the dryer and that part was in Lenexa and I needed to pick up a wagon on the opposite side of the city as all of these things. Maybe I had ulterior intentions when I suggested we divide and conquer, but honestly I didn't see any other way. In between play dates, dryer parts hunting and wagons, I wanted to buy material for making Christmas stockings for Michael and the Cabbage. So yeah, there was some ulterior some what selfish intentions in my suggestion. I have no regrets (other than forgetting to buy paint brushes and tape). I spent Saturday strolling around the fabric store (wishing I was at Owl and Drum) trying to find just the right pattern of fabric for Michael and the Cabbage. Finally I settled with stars for Michael and little girls riding unicorns for the Cabbage. Then I wandered around a craft store picking out ribbon for trimming the stockings and paint for a project I have in the works. I drove out to the other side of town to pick up a wagon and then realized I'd skipped breakfast and it was after noon. Since I was on my own, I decided to treat myself. I had a late lunch at Cafe Gratitude, where I said yes to a cup of the soup of the day (mushroom) and a salted caramel macaroon for dessert. I lingered with my little French Press pot of coffee and smiled to myself as I eavesdropped on the couple next to me. They were on a first date, the awkward just getting to know you because we met online kind of first date. I sipped my coffee and sighed with relief that it was not me on that date.
As I left the cafe, I felt things shift around and readjust. I had needed this time for me and in fact was probably a little overdue for it. Not all things about my solitary life before Michael was bad. I had Saturdays very much like this one where I'd putter around a shop and treat myself to a nice meal. They could be lonely of course, but there were at times a peace to them. I don't want or need a solitary life, but I do need solitary moments. Time to gather my thoughts. Time to gather some peace. We all need that.