During a span of 60 hours, I spent a total of 20 of those hours behind the wheel.
I spent another 30 minutes laughing at two little boys in a jet tub that accidentally filled with bubbles when they washed their hair. I spent an hour and a half on a treadmill. I took a 15 minute shower, which felt like a luxury compared to my normal eight minute in-and-out showers at home. I rushed through Target in approximately 14 minutes, mainly because it took me an extra 11 minutes to get there as Apple Maps landed us in a field instead of in the parking lot. I spent multiple, loud hours with my extended family, soaking in the sound of their voices and the shape of their noses; I wanted to memorize the little things to get through the gaps in time we get to spend together, sitting around the table, each talking over one another. I spent the last two hours of the 10 hour drive home sipping a bad iced tea, wishing away a massive headache, and squinting at the singular clear lane.
Today, I attempted to get work done while the boys, home again, vied for my attention. I helped them work through their last two days of Blizzard Bags, wiping their tears away when frustration levels peaked. I doled out snacks while on a conference call. I gave the dog a bath. I made a delicious and healthy dinner. I managed a shower and even put on on real clothes.
And despite the cold temperatures due to the Polar Vortex (of DOOM), I took the dog outside — just for a few moments, seconds, nanoseconds, cold breaths — of alone time. Because as much as I love all of the time with my sons, with my mother, with my cousins, with my aunt and uncle, with random people along the journey route, I need my alone time. As much as I love to talk, to connect with those in my life, I am an introvert. I crave alone time. I need to breathe in and close my eyes and exhale slowly. I need personal space, room to stretch and grow.
When all of the connections and time together get jammed into 60 hours, six minutes in the below zero wind chill feel even more precious than normal. I’ll take what I can get.