Home Alone

at 12:35 AM

My best friend once gave me this advice: as soon as you become a mom, bury your old life. Give it a nice funeral. Grieve but kiss it goodbye. It's gone.

Five years and two kids later, I haven't really taken that advice. I'm still grasping at vestiges of my old self, the one that did what she wanted, when she wanted.

So when my family scheduled a ski trip to Lake Tahoe, the best part of the plan was that the first three days wouldn't include me. Three whole days on my own -- no kids, no husband, no responsibilities. The mere thought made me giddy.

I had big plans, oh yes I did. I would nap, excessively. I would finish reading the thigh-high stack of books and magazines shrieking at me for months, if not years. I would stay up late, sleep in and feel not one ounce of regret for the wine-induced hangover. What had prevented me from doing this before, I knew, was that I just didn't have the time. And now I would have it, guilt-free.

Turns out that wasn't the obstacle to the promised land of read, sleep and imbibe. I was lonely without my family. Desperate for conversation, I ran to meet the postman at my mail box each day. I had lively chats with telemarketers who called our home. I phoned my own parents, repeatedly. Soon, they simply avoided my calls rather than be stalked.  I reorganized everything in the house. I found myself playing "Who can hold a gaze longest" with my dog. He won.

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That weekend I buried my old self. What did I do with my free time before kids? Who was that person with the "empty" life? I did not remember her. I thought back to my good friend's sage advice. Somewhere along the way, I had put my yesterday to rest and it was time to grieve the loss of her.

Funerals, however, are beginnings, too and my three-day break was the stunning realization that I was now a mom. And it felt right.

I felt immense relief. I wouldn't have to read that stack of magazines after all.

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With a Perspective, I'm Laurel Hilton.

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