The very perceptive among you will have noticed that I’ve been away. Here’s the deal: at the beginning of July, Rachel took the boys to a series of undisclosed locations in the European Union to visit her various family members — including her 19-odd first cousins.
And I, well, I didn’t go.
In other words, I have been relieved of any and all parenting/spousal duties for going on two weeks. (Except for a 15-minute period where Deborah Goldstein rashly entrusted her firstborn to my care and I knew we were totally tight, but more on that a different time.)
TWO WEEKS OF NO CHILDREN.
And, because I knew that if I stayed home I would spend two weeks organizing the house and eating toast for dinner and forlornly smelling the kids’ pillows, I did the only sensible thing I could think of and hightailed it to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where I rented a friend’s stepbrother’s one-bedroom apartment and proceeded to live my alternative life: single, childless writer in New York City (or, at least, its environs; 10 min. to Manhattan), where the Sunday New York Times actually arrives on Sunday.
And it was grand. Absolutely grand, people. I meant to write about it, I really did. I meant to post daily updates about restaurants and theatre and brownstones and gelato and old and new friends. I had this little conceit I was going to use: that my site had been hacked by some childless, urban single chick, and don’t tell Rachel where I am. And then I didn’t use it, I didn’t write it, and it turned into this thing where I couldn’t really start in the middle and then I had only a few days left and then it just got silly and so here I am now, thinking that this obligation to my blog (blogligation; has anyone coined this word before me? I’m calling it. Mine.) was just one of the many obligations that I could happily do away with, guilt free, for a couple of weeks. And so I did. (Well, I did away with the blogging and did some self-therapy about the guilt-free thing, because, what? There’s some blogging God in the sky who will smite me for taking a couple of weeks off to actually live my life rather than writing about it? Exactly. You understand.)
So, I got up in the mornings and fed no one but myself, spoke to no one, laid out no clothing and bribed no one with M&Ms to put on said clothing. I puttered. I read, utterly uninterrupted, at the breakfast table, wrote bits and pieces, journaled, did some yoga. And then, when I was ready, I got on the L train and went into the city and played.
TWO WEEKS WITHOUT CHILDREN.
“How’d you scam that?” people keep asking me. As though Rachel and I are the types of people to keep track of this kind of thing. She wanted to go, and I didn’t, and we have done enough therapy over the years to understand the beauty of that situation, and so we set off on our own separate adventures. And, I have to admit, even though it was her idea, she’s been remarkably upstanding about the whole thing. I mean, if our roles were reversed, I’m sure I would completely milk the situation, be all like Wow, aren’t I doing you such a favour and you’re totally going to owe me and aren’t I a saint for taking both of them by myself? To which I (her) would have responded, “It was your idea.” But, because she is a better person than me, all she’s said is, “And on Friday, I’m going to go off by myself. For the whole day.”
And I said, “That seems perfectly reasonable to me.”