Saturday, February 11, 2012

On (not) living alone, or my (not) lonely life

In the days after my ex-husband's death, I heard from many old friends, some of whom I'd lost contact with over the years, several of whom I am still close to. Without exception, they remembered our house as a party house with good times for all. One wrote that it was a "beacon of hospitality" and recalled Joel cooking, while I ran around barefoot (and ruined my feet). Another said she as always so pleased to be invited because she knew it would be an exhilarating evening. It was a rare evening that there wasn't at least one extra for supper. I remember one man who batched it for a year before his wife decided to move to Texas and join him--he sat in the dining room and moaned that the only responsibility he'd had for months was to show up at our house on time for dinner, and he wasn't sure he couldn't handle more. A single pediatrician drove in the driveway so often that one night the teenage daughter of friends who lived with  us (another long story) fumed, "Why does he always come when we're having salmon croquettes."
The partying didn't stop when Joel left--but it changed and wasn't as frequent or as frenetic. Some friends drifted away, but many remained, and new people joined their ranks. I remember one friend at a party saying she didn't know anyone and then telling herself, "Of course, Judy has made new friends."
I was busy, working during the day, taking kids to this lesson and that and scout meetings in the evening and often not putting the car in the garage until nine-thirty or so. And then suddenly (so it seemed) I had four teenagers, and the house was full of young people coming and going. Plus there was family and a few who were extended family. It wasn't unusual to have fifteen or twenty at the Sunday dinner table.
As my chickens began to leave the nest, many friends worried how I, used to such a crowd around me, would survive living alone. The answer is "Very well, thank you." Oh sure, there were nights I stared at the TV but I was never pitifully lonely. And now the tide has turned. I love my life but sometimes I want long stretches of aloneness. This afternoon, from 12:30 until 5:00 I had no obligations--got a lot of work done and had a nap.
I have Jacob a lot;I have lunch dates, errands to run, an occasional meeting, classes to teach; I'm giving a fundraiser for one of my favorite local politicins, and I invite people to dinner frequently because I enjoy entertaining and cooking. I wouldn't give up any of this, but I do long for stretches of time when I can get something done. How will I write those next two books, for which I'm obligated?
Lonely? Not at all. Sometimes I think it's a sign of growing up, but these days I always have things waiting to be done, never succumb to "what shall I do tonight?" or watching TV out of boredom. There's too much to be done, and I love all of it.
So tomorrow morning I'll throw together a vegetable soup in the crockpot, go to church, bring Jacob home and fix lunch for two dear friends. Then tomorrow night I'll fix scallop cakes with lime/cilantro mayonnaise for Jordan. Think I'll get a handle on the Great American Novel? Not likely. I'll be lucky to keep up with email, Facebook, and my nap.

1 comment:

pink city said...

really you well defined your loneliness.....
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