Manicure for the Middle Ground

When I lived in New York I used to get regular manicures so that I could be touched by another human being.  I was so lonely that my bi-monthly hand massage was the closest thing I had to a relationship.  She’d pull out the lotion and I’d get butterflies in my stomach.  A love story.  When 2006’s Notes of a Scandal came out, Barbara Covett described this feeling perfectly:

“People like Sheba think they know what it is to be lonely. But of the drip, drip of the long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing. What it’s like to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the launderette. Or to be so chronically untouched that the accidental brush of a bus conductor’s hand sends a jolt of longing straight to your groin. Of this, Sheba and her like have no clue.” – IMDB

My god how times change.

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This could be the end of this post.  I could let those photos stand as testimony to a life now crowded and full.  But whereas my twenties were filled with one extreme, my forties are rife with the other.  I somehow catapulted right over any middle ground.

At the end of the day it is not a nice dinner out with my husband that I crave – my god the idea alone absolutely exhausts me – no, instead I want a bath in a sensory deprivation chamber.  I do not long to take a class or go out with the girls or join an evening photography group – actually I would love to do all those things – while my kids are awake and in a loved one’s care.  But as things stand, come 8pm, I want to be alone.

My kids have been with me, or more appropriately, on me, all day and most of the nights for more than five years.  Stay-at-home-mothering, baby-wearing, bed-sharing, exclusively-breastfeeding, self-weaning, night-waking, and attaching five years and counting.

My in-laws visited last week and while they were here I ate my meals on the playroom floor, unapologeticaly, because that’s where I eat, that’s the only place I can sit and have both hands free for a minute.  It was awkward but I make it work on my kids’ terms.  And there’s the rub isn’t it?  THEIR terms.  We run a baby-led household and then question why there’s so little me/we-time.

If you’re like me, sore from the catapult and touched-out, let me salute you because I know you need it:  Your kids have never known an ear infection.  Your child is sensitive and empathetic.  Your toddler will potty train when he is ready.  Your baby has never known the pain of weaning because you are the only thing upon which she depends and you are not going anywhere.  You are their constant.  You are adored.  You are necessary.  Your whole life is your children.  Your whole body is your children’s.  Some tell me it won’t last forever; I can only tell you that when I stopped getting manicures, I didn’t have to give up the butterflies.

Peace, patience and all praise to you from the playroom floor.


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