Just me, alone, in a hotel room, for three full days. I volunteered to be room mom for my youngest daughter, The Hare, and two of her team mates. They are at a gymnastics camp from 9 am to 5 pm in a little town just far enough away to justify a hotel room.
Thursday I feverishly packed, optimistically thinking about all the writing and reading I can get done without distractions. I pictured myself wrapped up in piles of verbiage, digging my way out for hours, until it was time to pick up the three girls. Perhaps I’d find a little coffee-house corner, or nook of a bookstore, to hideaway all afternoon.
The idea of being alone eight consecutive hours, three days straight, felt like an adventure.
But as I walked back into the eerily quiet hotel room yesterday morning, greeted only by the hum of the mini-fridge, my optimism turned to dread. Nothing was familiar or comfortable. Strange voices echoed down the halls mixed with the chime of an elevator door and the rumbling of someone filling up their ice bucket. I am not inspired by navy blue and green patterned carpet or white walls and white popcorn ceilings. I immediately wondered how my daughter was doing at camp, worried she wasn’t having fun or scared to try new things. I worried she wasn’t going to like what was going to be served at lunch.
Suddenly I didn’t want to be this alone.
Instead I filled hours shopping, engaging with sales people and shoppers waiting in line. I started conversations with complete strangers in public bathrooms and made googly eyes at babies being pushed in strollers. For lunch I ate at a busy restaurant, sat in the middle of an outdoor patio filled with couples and groups chattering away in the afternoon sun. I absorbed their presence and conversations. I text-ed friends while sipping a Mojito, wondering all the while why I never feel this lonely when I am alone at home.
But at home I am surrounded by lingering family moments fresh in my mind. I can feel my children’s presence in every corner. My cheek is often still warm from my husband’s morning kiss as he leaves for work and my sweet Luna puppy will gladly curl up on my lap, or rest by my feet, as I write or read. Today I am forcing myself to stop engaging with others and engage with myself.
I realize now that what I needed was just some scheduled time alone. Not time away.