I have been gone, gone, gone for the last many days, and part of the gift of my departure was the joy of Traveling Alone. I packed books, snacks, and music, and not a single one of them involved board books, graham crackers, or the Songs of Bob and Larry. It was a weekend of total renewal, and I'll talk more about that later.
But I have to say this now.
On my last flight home, I became fast friends with the passenger sitting next to me. Susan is a shrink in downtown Denver, and we struck up a conversation that lasted nearly three hours. (My husband does not love when I do this, but he was not there to roll his eyes. So I proceeded with learning all about my new friend.)
We began with a comparison of books we were reading, then we discussed the lives of our small children, the joys and headaches therein, the similarities in our world views, the differences in our career paths, and the joys of our womanhood. I'm really not kidding. We talked through the plane's takeoff and touchdown, and even into the airport bathroom after the flight. And we did not stop short of exchanging emails and plans for coffee.
She was the final course in a feast that lasted many days.
Among our conversations, I said that a friend had recently asked me how much TV is too much for small children, and what are my personal rules in my home of two boys.
To this, Susan said jovially, "Well, I would say, how much TV will keep you off medication? Because if it makes you a better mom and helps you keep your sanity, and if it keeps you off stabilizing medications, then by all means. Turn it on."
Well. This is a whole new filter for measuring. How much is okay? And how much will keep me off medication to make it through a really long, hard day of battles and busyness?
She granted me a freeing mentality, I confess. Never once has a stay-at-home day resulted in self medicating, and that's a victory in itself.
And I may have the Disney Channel to thank.