V came into my room at five this morning. She's been doing that -- demanding bed space at first light; trying to play games while my eyes are still crusted shut. At first I was resentful, but after she fell back to sleep I realized she'd given me a gift. Solitude.
I don't often get time to myself. Granted, the younglings play by themselves a fair bit, but their games sparkle with brilliant ideas that need monitoring by less inventive folks. Otherwise we'd have a yard pocked by randomly spaced, ankle-twisting holes filled with stew (made of water, grass, mud, leaves, bugs, ashes, soap, and other things I dare not contemplate); leprechaun traps (bricks, rocks, pointy sticks and nails); and interspersed with found and then forgotten "treasures" such as broken tail lights, bits of jump rope, bottle caps tied on strings, and many, many small rocks. My children have deep white trash roots I can only attribute to my husband. It's all his fault. Really.
But this morning my inventors are asleep, and I have solitude. As I lay in bed contemplating my own wakefulness, I began listing all the things I could do while they slept: grocery store, respond to email, empty the dishwasher, make more lists. Then I got up, made myself a cup of tea, and sat on the porch to watch the sunrise reflected on the trees. First, the ends of certain branches shone orange and pink, then a shaft of light hit a blooming rose in the neighbor's yard, turning it from pink to burning magenta. It rained last night, and the air is cold on my toes. I savor these early morning goosebumps against the prediction of several ninety degree days in a row. My green tea is grassy and fresh on my tongue, and the robins are serenading me, in hopes that I will sprinkle the lawn and draw worms to the surface for them.
I breathe, and put off obligations for a few more minutes. Solitude is a gift. I will cherish it.