For the first time in 14 months, I am left completely alone with my thoughts. There were times when I thought I'd had a break but now that I'm experiencing this weekend in solitude I realize I wasn't ever really alone. A car ride doesn't count if there's a passenger in the carseat that can start a small war at anytime. Naptime doesn't count because of the pressure to get something substantial done during those precious two hours while he sleeps, if he decides to sleep at all. This is the first time I've been away from Jude, alone, for more than 4 hours since he was born. I had forgotten how sweet it is to breathe in complete solitude, to reflect on the glorious big picture, and to sleep in a big bed with no interruptions.
For my 32nd birthday Rhys gave me this gift of myself, in the form of a weekend alone at a fancy hotel one city away. I have Lisa Gerrard's The Silver Tree serenading a king bed lit by candlelight, just for me. The air feels different. I am inspired. I am taking pictures. I am reminded of my former self, the one who always dreamed of the very life I have now: a gentle soul to share my life with, a sweet little child to introduce the world to, and a true happiness with the woman I have become. I remember how I thought I would be unaffected by motherhood, that my main goal was to stay creative, fashionable and organized. I had hopes to even improve my daily life after having a baby with the addition of yoga classes and tea with my mom and fresh weekly floral bouquets from the local farmers market. I had no idea what motherhood requires of a girl: her body, her time, her complete self. All the designer burp cloths in the world couldn't save me from the feeling of drowning in my own new life as a mother, as I watched my aspirations as New Mom wash away. I couldn't find a shred of that girl to cling to.
And now, here I am.
A year ago I would never have believed that I'd be able to find even a glimmer of my former self within the ragged, puked-on, exhausted girl I had become. I have survived the discomfort and dissapointment of pregnancy, the torture of spotting through all trimesters, the horrific c-section delivery/recovery, and the deep darkness I fell into when we brought Jude home. Now, all that remains of those horrible first few months is a 4-inch pink scar across my belly.
Here, in my hotel room, I am not thinking about what time the next nap should be, what the next meal will be, when the last diaper was changed, where the afternoon adventure will take place, or why I ever decided that having kids was a good idea at all. I am thinking about my journey to this very day. All of my past loves that lead me to my soul mate. My insanely religious father who has never met my son. Moving out at 17, right out of high school. Living alone for 6 years before getting married. Having a baby. I am made up of tiny pieces of all of these experiences, good and bad, and that is incredible. At this moment I am not a mother, wife, accountant, housekeeper, chef, counselor, nurse, or personal servant. I am just Scarlett, the dreamer. But I wouldn't trade my busy, beautiful, crazy life for this lush solitude. At this moment, there is nothing to want. I have it all.