On Keeping One’s Own Company and Winning an Invisible Fence

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There have been several moments in my life when I have been entirely jealous of myself – when I won the Invisible Fence at Dover’s Petapalooza – installed; when I met Prince Willem of the Netherlands on Maastricht’s Liberation Day ‘95; and when I just spent four days without my children, my husband, my dog at a cottage by the sea during my school’s February break.

Susan Dromey Heeter

I muse joyfully on the past week; I left on Sunday morning and returned late Thursday night…refreshed, recharged, relaxed.  I’ve noticed updates on Facebook of family vacations, of Florida, of sun – and, again, I am jealous of myself.  I spent four nights in my own company, by the ocean, tranquilly and blissfully watching hours of Love It or List It, Say Yes to the Dress, The E Fashion Police’s review of Oscar fashion.

And I had the remote. To myself.  Cable is always a novelty to me as our household has not had it for over a decade. I’m enthralled by the massive amounts of channels, of options.  And when I return? I’m good – we’ll live without cable until the next time we’re somewhere with options for 800 channels.

As a mother, a wife, a teacher, a supermodel – oh, wait, scratch that last one, I’m often asked for things, am the recipient of a myriad of requests.  “Do you have a pencil?  Can I have some money for the mall?  Have you seen my phone?”

And, yes, it’s lovely to be needed, to be of service, but my time away allows me to pause, to reflect, to be entirely free of requests. And it’s bliss. For a few days, I answered only to myself – “Hey, Susan, do you want to eat crackers and cheese for dinner?”  “Hey, Susan, do you want another cup of tea?”  “Hey, Susan, let’s stay in our pajamas ALL day today and listen to the waves crash outside!”

Peace. Tranquility. Solitude.

And, you ask, what about those children of whom you mother? Where were they? Well, one has a different break from me and this morning remarked, “I didn’t realize you were gone.”  Nice. The other daughter enjoyed time away from me and is off skiing with my sister.

I spoke with her once during my sojourn and she was entirely content to have me absent for a bit – no mom in the house to admonish dishes in the sink, to tell her to bring the laundry down, to go pick up the dog poop in the backyard.  It’s good to have a break once in a while – good to have that peace that mom isn’t going to interrupt her zen of dishes on the coffee table and the dog unfed.

This May will mark twenty years of wedded bliss, twenty years of very little drama, a lovely partnership, laughs and love.  And very often, we get our time apart – which, in my mind is entirely necessary, healthy and vital to keeping our partnership filled with that love, that very little drama, those laughs.  I married well – my husband takes off to fish frequently; we’re both delighted to celebrate each other – separately and apart.

So, as I muse joyfully on the jealousy I have for myself, may you muse joyfully on your own zen – wherever you find it.  And, if you are a mother reading this, know it’s glorious to celebrate the getaway, the reprieve, the retreat. Someday your children will thank you. Truly. That legacy of love and kindness and peace begins inside and your grandchildren will be entirely grateful for creating this ever so important ritual of time away.

And may you muse joyfully and celebrate your jealousy of yourself. Thanks for letting me share mine…

Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, debuts her new column “Joyful Musings” at InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters.  Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal  in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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