Yesterday afternoon, when my daughter came home from running some errands, she said to me: “By the way, your mom asked me where you were earlier.” She paused because she knew where I had been as she saw me (and four dogs) walking along the road when she left the house. Now we were standing in my freshly mopped kitchen.
“I told her that I didn’t know but since all the dogs were gone, you probably went for a walk.” Her tone implied that I should have told her that I was leaving. But her bedroom door was closed and I like to respect her privacy. I like to respect everyone’s privacy so I didn’t open the basement door and yell down there either. My daughter continued: “Then your mom said: “But she left all her stuff” and pointed to the vacuum and pail by the dining room.”
I shrugged. That morning I had vacuumed and mopped the sunroom, the family room, the laundry room/bathroom/bar area and the dining room. I had dusted the entire floor. I still needed to vacuum and mop the kitchen and living room. Looking at the time, I thought: “If I don’t go now, I won’t go for a walk.” I then left my “stuff” and took the dogs.
My daughter continued: “Left your stuff? What did she think had happened? The rapture came and took you and your dogs?”
“And left the rest of you behind.” I laughed but I found myself resenting their encounter and our subsequent conversation. My mom was slipping into mother attitude: I didn’t finish my chores so I shouldn’t just take off. And I should put my cleaning supplies away when I was done. My daughter was being my daughter: I shouldn’t just abandon her. What if she needs me? But I am an adult. I don’t think I have to tell people where I am going. (Admittedly I didn’t think I had to tell my mom where I was going when I was in high school and I kept my college life a mystery.) Don’t I deserve a break from the house?
I suppose that there might be an emergency and they will need to contact me. This is the primary reason I have a cell phone. My husband gave me my first cell phone because I had returned to college for a California teaching credential and he wanted our three daughters to be able to reach me. The number hasn’t changed in eighteen years. I had the cell phone on(because sometimes I just leave it on silent all day) and with me (because sometimes I leave it at home). No one called me while I was out.
Sometimes I just need to be alone. Wednesday Mom and I came home from a luncheon and the cable guy’s truck is parked halfway down my driveway. Cable guy is on a ladder checking a line so I park on the street and we walk down the driveway. Later I go to move the car off the street and my daughter stops me: “Where are you going?” “To get the car off the street.” “Then why do you need your purse?”
Good question. I needed my purse because I was going to put the top down and drive away. I didn’t have a destination. I was just going to waste gas, driving around, looking at the trees, enjoying the day. And so I did.