Just a Little Piece of Peace

It’s funny how things change. How mundane duties and appointments can somehow become a small oasis of calm. Selena graciously calls my two darlings “dynamos.” She’s being very polite, and yet very direct at the same time. My two (and I’m sure most kids ages 2.5 through 6) don’t ever stop. Unless they are are eating or sleeping. And even then it’s questionable. With that intro, I give you this list:

Things I now look forward to because they are places where I cannot be interrupted:

1) The shower at the gym. It’s crazy, but true. At home, my children don’t think twice about talking to me through the shower curtain at 7 a.m. Or passing in the toothpaste tube they can’t get open. At the gym, the children are in childcare. And while  I could be paged, rules say I have ten minutes to fetch them after I hear the page. (This policy was clearly developed by a mom of toddlers who knew most parents could go from a state of undress to a state of clean and dressed in 10 minutes or less.)

2) The doctor’s office. Sure, sometimes the kids have to come with me. But 90% of the time, I take them to a friend’s house or go while they’re in school. So I get 10 minutes of reading magazines to myself in the office, and I get to lie down on the exam table for a short time too. I ignore the poking, the proding, and the paper dress.

3) Jury duty. Jury duty can be kind of a pain, especially when you have to drive to the courthouse, pay to park and go through security. But once you get through that, there’s a day of quiet waiting no one can take away from you. I read Eat, Pray, Love cover to cover the one time I’ve been called for jury duty but not utilized. I dream of my number being called up again.

4) Around the corner, in the kitchen, between the fridge and the sink. Ok, I could be interrupted here. But it’s a great spot for me to take a moment because the kids can’t see me from their favorite spots in the living room. I can stand there, drink some coffee, have  snack, catch up on the Internet via my phone, and in general, give myself a minute before jumping back into the fray.

So now tell me – what are your “special quiet times” (away from kids, pets, family, co-workers, whomever)? Where do you remember your mom hiding?

9 replies on “Just a Little Piece of Peace”

My brother is five years older than me. When I was about 7 years old, maybe a little younger, we made a deal with our mom. Whenever she got home, we would give her 30 minutes of peace. When we were little, she would often pick one of us up from school, so it would be right when we got home. But as we got older, it would be when she came home.

No bothering her about little things, no asking her what was for dinner or when it would be available, no going in her bedroom or sprinting through the house. Sprinting through the backyard was perfectly acceptable, though. After a few weeks it became so routine that all she’d need to say was “I need my half hour” and we’d go off and amuse ourselves or do some homework. Perhaps you’ll be able to reach such a deal with your kids when they’re older? I do know that my mom was dealing with two very ADHD kids and she was also a teacher, and now that I’m older I understand that she probably could have used more like three hours of privacy and quiet instead of 30 minutes.

I have two – I am the first one to get to the office in the morning, so I make sure I’m there bright and early, both to wrap up our copious hours in time for dinner, and to enjoy my coffee without techno blasting in my ears first thing. The other place is bed, as I hit the sack earlier than my partner. At this point, the dog is his responsibility, so if I want to sit up in bed and read for a half hour or whatever, I get to do this without the puppy gnawing on the corner of my library books.

My five block walk from the bus stop to my house is like a baptism every evening. The work day chaos melts away by the time I get home and my focus shifts to ‘cooling down’ and getting ready for the night. When I get to the five GIANT cedar trees in the neighbor’s yard (plus one lone cherry blossom tree), I know I’ve reached my peak of ‘cleansing.’ And a smile forms on my face.

I love those damn trees.

I have no kids (and am not planning on any,) and no pets (much to my dismay,) but having moved from the country to the city, sometimes I need to escape from a combo of stress and the mere fact of the city (which I mostly love, but it really does feel very overwhelming to me a lot of the time). My two favorite places to do this are:

1. The lakefront. Especially while running, or at a nice cold windy area with big waves. Just being able to look across the lake at an actual HORIZON makes me feel better, as does the isolation of running (especially with headphones.) And if the wind is coming in off the lake, it can end up being pretty quiet, and smelling like lake, instead of city. I love it.

2. Getting a haircut. I have long hair, so I can’t really justify the cost of this too often, but I love it. I go to an Aveda salon, I get to sit quietly waiting for my appointment and it smells SO good. I get my hair washed (one of my all-time favorite “small pleasures.”) If I feel like talking, I get to talk to somebody I only see three times a year and whose job it is to make me feel comfortable, so it’s a very low-stress, light conversation.

Such small little things, but when I’m feel stressed/tired of the city/tired of constantly being surrounded by chaos (yes, that’s what living in a city feels like to me), I look forward to these place like no others.

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