Alone Time, But Not Mine

I just walked into Saoirse’s room to help her make her bed, and she wasn’t there. It’s morning–a school day–and Quinn’s been talking from her crib for a while, listening to the rest of the house wake up. SK was still sleepy when I peeked in to see her before jumping into the shower, but was standing in her open doorway to greet me when I walked out of the bathroom. She was in her underwear, putting on her play clothes. “Mom,” she said. “I already peed. In your baf-room.”

I left her so we could both dress–me in yoga pants and a Duquesne t-shirt, even though I would be, indeed, going out in public today, Saoirse in gray sweatpants and an orange top covered with a giant sequined rainbow (yes, we both dress ourselves. Can’t you tell?). When I returned to her room, just two minutes later, she was gone. It jarred me to see her room empty, so quickly vacated, the covers of her bed still in place from when she threw them back ten minutes before.

Saoirse rushes downstairs in the morning, every morning, to play by herself in the playroom before breakfast. She’ll pop into our room to say hello before making a bathroom stop, grabs a cup of orange juice out of the fridge (David has started pouring it for her the night before), and goes. She usually has about twenty minutes to herself before the clamor of the day starts.

I can’t blame her for doing it. When she was a baby, I used to get up before she did just to enjoy what might be the only time to myself I’d get all day. And last month when I was going to the gym early in the morning (you know, for those three weeks before I realized that waking at 5 a.m. by choice is insane), I loved moving around in a quiet house, hearing the silence.

I walked downstairs right now to grab my camera. Saoirse glanced in my direction, startled. “Oh,” she said. Her expression was guarded, protective of her playtime.  “You sneaked up on me and I got surprised!” She looked at her cars, spread out on the rug around her, then up at me. She smiled. “I love you.”

I went back upstairs, and left her alone to play.

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