On Sunday, Willow got sick so it forced me to cancel plans to host book club and resign myself to the couch. I didn’t unwrap my hair or get dressed. I spent the entire day in an old H&M floral dress-turned-house-smock cuddling an ever growing child. Her legs are getting so long that the days of snuggling on our mid-size sectional comfortably are pretty much over. She locks her legs out straight burrowing her heels into my thighs. I’m growing too. I’m about 6 and a half months pregnant thereby limiting the number of chilling out positions I can physically assume. I need at least one pillow propped up behind my back and that pillow needs to be firm. So I take more space too. In her haze, Willow insisted that I remain next to her (“I want to be near someone who loves me!” she wailed.) and we engaged in a wordless struggle for room to sprawl. Finally, she threw up, curled into a fetal position, and fell fast asleep. Her sleeping flush face showed all the relief she felt.
This was all very good. We needed some quiet time. Whenever I try to initiate quiet time in our house, Willow protests that it’s boring and it’s her weekend and she should be able watch her shows. I’m always limiting screen time and she’s always prolonging it even though her acupuncturist/herbal medicine person recommends that screen time be punctuated with 5 minute breaks every 25 minutes. So the screen time negotiations begin every Friday evening until Sunday. A lot of the time, Jed and I want our individual quiet times. He to read the weekend print edition of the New York Times. Me to journal and study tarot and waste time on Instagram. (Although, thanks to Instagram’s handy feature, I can see when we are both on the app at the same time just a couple of feet away in different rooms.) On a Sat or Sunday afternoon, the three of us each retreat into our own respective quiet spaces.
But it never lasts, which is how it should be. We come back somewhat replenished or irritated because a thought had just enough time to materialize but not enough time to germinate. I’ll have enough space to remember why I’m angry although not enough to flush it out. Then Jed will say something funny or we’ll dance to the latest Drake and then we’re OK.
And to be honest, I don’t need quiet time — I need quiet moments. Moments that allow transformation when I forget to think. Those can never really be sought. I don’t think it works like that. It’s usually always found me. When I do something really selfless, I’ve glimpsed at peace and serenity because I am deep connection with another human. I’ve tried explaining this to people by saying that I don’t see God in church but in connection with other people. I’ve had it when listening to another who was suffering, giving birth, reading my poetry. Those moments changed my life. They often remind me. Then my anxiety and mania drop away. And just like that, it's quiet.