I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop, favorite for the fact that they give me unlimited refills on carbonated water, which I adore, across the table from my favorite four year old. He is busily shoveling yogurt in his mouth, eyes wide with unabashed staring at the quiet students from the nearby medical school while they study.
He wasn’t supposed to come with me, of course. This was supposed to be my quiet time, time to work on writing, time to decompress. It has been a busy spring, heading into a busier summer. I start grad school at the end of next month and summer is always insane at work so I am trying to be more aware of the fact that I have been operating in the red zone for weeks now, edging closer and closer to burn out. I’ve been tired and stressed and anxious. Some self-care is in order (why, yes, I have chatted with a therapist about this lately).
But when I got ready to go, I said goodbye to my boy, told him I was going to work at the coffee shop and he said he had work to do too…that his Angry Birds Star Wars coloring book need him to do work on it…please, Mama, please can I come too?
And I felt that tug, that gnawing awareness of the fact that I don’t get nearly as much time with him as I wish I did. I was also kind of curious, could he do it? Color quietly at a coffee shop, giving me some time to work and giving his papa some quiet time at home while the baby naps? Maybe this could be like a thing for us, a mother/son ritual, our Saturday afternoon thing (translation: I knew this was a bad, in terms of productivity, idea but I sort of want to see just how bad)
I’m typing this now as he is sitting on the floor, play with an ottoman shaped like a bear, make believing it is a Coast Guard ship, staying quiet enough that the only person he is driving crazy is me (just a little, though if he asks for another treat …)
So, probably no, this won’t be our regular Saturday thing, not if I really want to write and be still. So next time I’ll say “nope, work on your coloring book on your own time, kid” and I’ll probably feel some guilt but hopefully not enough to show up at a coffee shop with a laptop bag filled with coloring books and crayons.
I think maybe I need some practice at this self-care thing.