Saturday, August 03, 2013


"But being a stay-at-home mom was the loneliest kind of lonely, where she was always and never by herself." - Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behavior
A few months ago I read Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, and when I came across the line above it stopped me in my tracks. I really appreciate writing that makes me stop and read a line or passage a few times over to really savor and absorb it (that's one of the things I love about writers like John Green and Markus Suzak). And the quote above? Oh man. It was almost like this punch to the stomach, because HOLY CRAP did I know exactly what she meant. 

To be clear, I love being a stay-at-home parent. I love getting to be with my kids all day and really take them in as they grow. I'm freely choosing to be here, and every time I've questioned this choice I come back to knowing that this is exactly where I want to be and what I want to do here and now. But...yeah. One danger of the job is it can feel pretty damn lonely sometimes. 

I've been thinking of that quote a lot the past few days. Last week felt fairly amazing, but this past week, for whatever reason, has felt a bit tougher. It's just felt...lonely. I don't think the kids are being more difficult or anything, I think it's just been a shift in my mood. I miss Zach. They days have felt long, and just wear me out. Hanging out with friends helps, but maybe it doesn't happen much one week or when you do manage to get together the kids keep you all so busy you hardly get say two words to each other.  By bedtime I'm dragging and just trying to get through it. And then once they're in bed I look around my too-quiet, too-empty house and just feel...blah.

The loneliest kind of lonely.

But. My mom and niece flew in today, arriving tonight just in time for the boys to see them before going to bed-- I will never tire of how amazing it is to see the joy in all their faces when they are reunited. The next couple weeks ahead will be filled with family and cousin amazingness and will be anything but lonely. I made it to here, and now I get a major break. That sound you hear is me letting out a big fat sigh of relief.


  1. Anonymous8:37 AM

    So happy you have gotten some good family support this summer. I was a bit worried for you, as I know exactly how hard the single parenting while husband is away on business thing can be. It drags you down day after day, but the longest I ever had to do it without support was 3 weeks while Fred went on a Road the World Business Trip (Zurich - Hong Kong - LA - NYC - London - Zurich) when Nicholas was 18 months and Linnea was still an infant. It sucked. Majorly sucked. The thought of you doing it an entire summer was mind-boggling and it's wonderful you have family who were able to come and help you! The extra hands are always appreciated, but the importance of having a conversation with another adult cannot be underestimated as well.

    So, well done to you!!! And the grandparents, aunt and cousin who helped as well!

    Gretchen (who cannot remember her Google password since she got hacked and had to change all her passwords...)

  2. Anonymous8:38 AM

    Dang autocorrect. ROUND the World. Not Road.

  3. Nice to feel so able to help life feel better. I think the lonely you feel is the missing the good (great) connections you actually have. It's exquisitely painful in the separations, yet only the wonderfulness of the relationships makes the missing them so hard. So the contrast makes it SO lonely for you. It's not the loneliest kind of lonely though in one huge sense. We all strongly need and desire connection, no matter how we differ. And some people just don't have relationships that ever fill their need. Really ever. So while it can be argued that not knowing what you're missing makes it less devastating, I think on some level people sense an existential loneliness when they haven't been blessed with comfortable, loving connection with parents, partners, children, or friends. Bad as the grief over loss of a loved one is, I've never met anyone who'd rather not have had that person in their life.
    So, when you feel lonely, acknowledge whom you are missing , and be aware of the corollary - the rich relationships you carry in your heart and mind, even when they're out of sight and touch.
    I am really blessed to count you as one of mine.

  4. MAAAAAWWWW!!! Your words speak a ridiculously great amount of truth for me who is in a completely different, but same-effect situation. It's the lack of presence of the relationships you KNOW you have elsewhere that make you feel so alone now. Well said. Ugh. My problem is I don't have a countdown for when I'll be reunited with my beloved friends and many choices! Which is a HUGE blessing, I know. But can still have its unique frustration/pain.



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