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The Unexpected Joy of Solitude

Updated on March 9, 2010

#3 in Reflections of Life's Unexpected Joys

The Unexpected Joy of Solitude

February 2004

I am a mother of two. I have a two- year old and a eight-month old baby. My husband and I have one vehicle, which means that when he goes to work I am left at home with no method of transportation. During the summer months I didn’t feel too deprived because we could walk places and get out and about, but with the onset of winter and some nasty weather we have been much more cooped up. Sometimes I have begun to feel quite annoyed about my situation. I feel stuck, cut off from the world, cut off from opportunities to talk with other adults and basically just sorry for myself.

Because of all this self-pity I decided to be proactive and do something to solve this problem. I decided that I would host a weekly tea party and invite different people that I would like to get to know better. I figured that if I could not go where people are, I would bring the people to me.

For my first tea party I invited three women. I set up toys upstairs for the children to play with and I had a movie playing downstairs to lure any children who left the toy room. All these carefully laid plans were in place so that we ladies could sit quietly visiting and laughing and enjoying the company of adults without a thousand interruptions. In my mind it was perfectly set up. However, I should have known that this was not going to work. Because not only were there going to be four women present, there were also four infants and three two year olds. Everyone knows that two year olds do not play in rooms where adults are not. If they do happen to go away from the adults it is to hit or bite other children or create mini catastrophes.

Therefore, my first tea party was somewhat of a disaster. There was always one or more adults jumping up to go and find out what the screaming was about in the other room, or there were one or more two year olds interrupting any adult conversation that had mistakenly begun. My daughter spent most of the time whimpering on my lap begging for her soother. She was not at all enjoying the invasion. If she did happen to leave my presence it was to go and be aggressive towards the children who were playing with her toys. During the one hour visit, my daughter was hit and bit by other children. She hit and scratched one visitor and left a nice imprint of her teeth on the forehead of another of our visitors. Also, the various babies scattered around on the floor on their blankies would take turns crying as two year olds happened to squish them with enthusiastic hugs and kisses. When it was time to pack up the house was in an uproar. Babies and two year olds were all wailing and the adults gave up trying to be heard and resorted to mime to say ‘thank you’, ‘good bye’, ‘see you another time’.

It was a very stressful time and when the last guest had left I surveyed my empty, quiet house and I decided that solitude and quiet are not things to be trapped by. They are things to be thankful for.


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