I need. Need. Need. My alone time. (I’m selfish that way. Like seriously you have no idea.)
So over a year ago, I tried going to the coffee shop before the kids woke up in the mornings. That way I could start the day on my own terms — and when I came home I was ready to face the day (AND the kids).
Honestly, though, it’s been months since I did that.
But you know who hasn’t forgotten about it?
“Em, can I come with you to the coffee shop in the morning?” she asks on random Friday nights.
Just in case that weekend happens to be the weekend I go again.
But nooooo way, kiddo. On the off-chance I were to go, that’s MY time.
I usually don’t actually go, but still. It’s the principle of the thing.
One weekend last month, however, something changed.
When she asked, her question hit me differently. I’m not sure why, but it snagged on a frazzled edge of my heart as I tried to boot it back out the way it had come in, and it didn’t fly out the door so easily.
“Hold on,” it seemed to say. “The 8-year-old is asking to spend time with you. Asking. Because she WANTS. To spend time. Specifically with YOU. And you’re gonna tell her no? Are you nuts?”
I extricated the concept from its entanglement and took a closer look at it.
“Hmm. Maybe this isn’t as bad an idea as I think it is.”
Maybe I should DEFINITELY YES grab this opportunity while she was handing it to me.
So this time I agreed.
And my gosh, the kid was so happy.
We got a hot cocoa for her, and a latte for me — just me and her.
We played Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch she’d gotten for Christmas — just me and her.
Then we went over to the cushy couches and each read our own books — just me and her.
We laughed. We goofed off. We drank our beverages and took selfies and read our ridiculous fiction stories (a Dog-Man graphic novel for her, a League novel for me).
She even drew me a note, and drew all over the pictures I was gonna send her dad to update him on our Girls Morning Out progress.
And the next week, she asked to go again.
We’ve only done it twice in the past month an a half, but I’ve decided it was (and is) a very worthwhile trade of me-time for some girl-time.
She’s 8. Next thing I know, she’ll be 16. Maybe now, this little Girls Morning Out is mostly about playing Mario Kart and spending some time reading on comfy coffee-shop couches.
But maybe someday it’ll be about talking about bigger Life Stuff.
Or maybe it won’t.
Maybe it’ll just be a fun, chill getaway with a coffee for me and a hot cocoa for her. And some time to spend away from the boys.
Maybe she’s just growing up, and it’s crazy to realize how much I actually do love hanging out with this wacky lil human and her already-almost-13 brother.
Some days I really do dread being a stepmom, and the responsibility that comes with it. Some days I really do NEED my alone time.
But mornings like this, I’m reminded just how awesome it is.
How awesome they are.
And how lucky I am.
Sometimes it’s worth giving up even my selfish me-time for that.