There was a time in my life when I relished going out for pretty much any reason. It didn’t matter if it was a full night of dancing and partying or a quiet afternoon napping on the sand as the water lapped on the shore. As long as I had company, I said yes to all the goings that were going on. And if nothing was going on, I was just as happy to lounge on the couch with my girls, watching horror movies and eating Cool Ranch Doritos. As long as I was surrounded by others, all was right with the world.
The idea of being alone used to depress me. I remember when my sister gave birth on Christmas day in another state and my parents left to go see her and their brand new granddaughter. I wasn’t able to join them due to work obligations. I was still single, and had spent my whole life doing the Christmas holiday with an overflowing house full of people. Being alone was so outside my realm of understanding. I wandered from room to room, staring at the abandoned presents under the tree, unopened and ignored, baffled by the bottles of wine with no one to drink them (okay, maybe I drank one but it was Christmas and I was alone, dammit). It was completely surreal and I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole thing — the whole sad, depressing thing.
When I look back on it now, it’s with the eye of a woman who hasn’t spent more than a couple of hours alone in over 16 years (and even if I was alone, I was likely preparing food for, cleaning up after, or otherwise doing the behind-the-scenes work that the people who rely on me for their entire existence require). Looking back on it now, I wonder, was I out of my mind? I had that whole possibly sad, but also definitely, beautifully empty, clean and silent house to myself for an entire day — 12 hours of perfect solitude.
So at what point did I go from that once-raging extrovert to a now cranky and awkward introvert? I used to thrive on companionship and camaraderie. I needed excitement and stimulation. I now thrive on pajama pants and wine in a jelly jar. The only companionship I long for is my favorite throw blanket (of which I have about seven or 12). The only camaraderie I need is Adam Levine and Blake Shelton’s bromance banter on the Voice. Excitement comes when my husband and I play rock, paper, scissors, to see who has to refill the wine glasses/jelly jars. And stimulation now comes in the form of a heated foot massager that Santa finally brought me, after several years of putting it at the top of my list. (I should have just bought it my damn self.)
What happens to us moms that the punishments of our childhood have become the goals of our adulthood? Remember when staying home, going to bed early, and not seeing anyone were punishments? In the last decade, I have actually paid for those things. I booked a hotel room, filled the mini-fridge with necessities (and some food), bribed my children with overpriced take-out, and bowed down and groveled at the feet of my parents/babysitters, to get 48 glorious hours of people-free evenings and uninterrupted sleep. Of course, I brought my husband along, but after living with me for lo these many years and watching our children be born out of my lady parts, he no longer counts as a separate person. We’re like Brangelina — except without the fame and money. And multitudes of kids. And also we’re still married. Otherwise, we’re just like them.
I have turned into a person who makes plans with people and then secretly hopes they will cancel. And it’s not because I don’t love them, because I wouldn’t even bother making plans in the first place if I did not. Seriously. I am an expert at “something suddenly came up” (bonus points if you get the Brady Bunch reference) when faced with the prospect of giving precious downtime to those whom I do not like. It’s just that there are few things I find as appealing as my couch and the ability to loudly mock any and all content in my social media feeds while not wearing a bra.
Maybe it’s the years I spent holding and co-sleeping with my kids. Maybe it’s the years I spent holding and co-sleeping with my dogs. Maybe it’s the years I’ve spent holding and co-sleeping with my husband. Maybe I’d just like everyone to stfu and let me revel in Wonder Woman’s glory and not spoil it for me even if I am watching it six months later than every other person on earth because going to the movies means seeing people. Also, movie theaters totally freak me out — have you ever considered what people do for all that time in the dark and why the place is so sticky?
My overabundance of throw blankets is more than just a shopping problem. I also crochet them. It’s mildly therapeutic to have a project that keeps my hands busy and it’s super therapeutic to have an excuse to stay home — “I really need to finish this blanket up for (insert occasion here).” There are about a million awesome patterns out there for blankets that are really works of art. I’m not that dedicated. I like a simple pattern for the beginner (or lazy) crocheter. The fact that the name of this one includes a type of wine is purely coincidental. Check out the full instructions for a Merlot Throw at favecrafts.com.