Yesterday I did something I don't think I've done since college. Or maybe ever. I went on a little adventure--by myself.
My in-laws took care of our three darling children while my husband and I went out of town. He had a tournament to go to in Topeka and I had, get this, NOTHING TO DO. Seriously. Nothing to do. Several hours of empty time stretched out ahead of me. Oh the possibilities! He asked me what I was going to do. Hmmmm. No idea. This is very unlike me. Amy of the "We Must Plan Everything" had no plan. Well, I take it back. I planned on not hanging out at the bowling alley with him and his team mates. That was definitely part of the non-plan.
I decided my nails were looking pretty sad and in need of a manicure so I grabbed the phone book and looked up a nail salon. Kissed the hubby good-bye and took off for the salon. Only there wasn't a salon. There was urban blight and bars on windows. Not my idea of a girly afternoon out. So I turned the truck around and headed back to the safe side of town. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm all for some adventure but blocks of bail bondsmen, pawn shops and seedy bars is more adventure than I'll ever be wanting.
So, back to square one. I go to gas station and buy a map and decide I'll drive into Topeka and find a shopping center. And then I remember, The Yarn Barn! I had heard about that little store and it was in Lawrence, not too far from where I was. So, I grabbed a Dr. Pepper and set off on my own little adventure to Lawrence and the rumored yarn heaven that is The Yarn Barn.
It was a beautiful afternoon, a rare Kansas day of a light breeze, vivid blue skies, perfect temperature and no humidity. The drive to Lawrence was scenic and lovely. It was marred only by my realization that I hadn't grabbed one of my cameras to take with me. In our rush to pack five bags for five different people and grab all of the necessities (Did we get her Night Night (translation: her special blankie), what about Carson's pillow? Did you pack enough diapers? etc.) I had not grabbed my camera bag. And I was so sad about this. Especially when I drove past the quaint cemetary on the hill with the tall, ornate headstones. I so wish I had remembered the camera. But I suppose if I had I would have made that into work and maybe not have completely relaxed to do nothing as I ended up doing.
I drove into Lawrence and stopped at the visitor center and asked for directions to the Yarn Barn. Drove over and was shocked at the amount of traffic and people out shopping. I hadn't been to Lawrence in years and had never been in that area of the town before. It was so cute! So many shops to visit and hundreds of people walking up and down the sidewalks shopping and socializing. Who knew? Took a while to find a parking space but I managed to find one a block away from the main drag and went back.
At this point I have to confess. I have never spent much time with just me. As a kid I always had my sister around. As a teenager and early adult I always had friends with me. I'm a bit social and always think anything I want to do will be more fun with friends. I admit, part of me has always been a little scared of doing things on my own. I felt like I needed friends with me. If I didn't know anyone who would I talk to? What if no one talked to me? What if I was all alone? Over the past year I've been doing more things on my own. And I like it. It's not scary like I thought it would be. It's peaceful and calming. Don't get me wrong, I love my family. I love my crazy kids and my sweet husband. But sometimes it's nice to be by myself and not have anyone need one single thing from me for an hour.
I browsed through the shops. Looked at toys for upcoming birthdays. Smiled at baby furnishings wistful that I would never need to shop for them again but relieved all at the same time. Admired hand made jewelry and artful blown glass sculptures. I went in the stores I wanted to see and stayed as long as I wanted to stay. I didn't feel rushed, I went at my own pace.
And then there was the Yarn Barn. How is it possible that such a small town can have such a fabulous yarn store? My own town is hundreds of thousands of people larger and our yarn store is a fraction of the size. I had the best time taking in all of the colors and textures. There was just so much to see. I spent a fair amount of time just looking at it all. I almost bought some yarn to make something for my sister. She now lives in Seattle and I was so tempted to by the beautiful hand-dyed $30 skein of red silk that was called "Ruby Red Slippers" but I resisted temptation and put it back. All told I think I spent under $4 for my afternoon shopping but the experience was worth far more than that.
On the way back I saw a sign for an apple orchard and stopped on a whim. They had fresh apple cider donuts and cold apple cider. I picked up the little treat and headed back to town. Normally I want to stop at those little places but my husband doesn't. And I can't say I blame him. If we stopped everywhere I wanted to we probably wouldn't get very far.
I drove back to my husband listening to jazz and realizing that I'm starting to discover more about myself this year--who I am, what makes me happy. I'm a bit more introspective now that I'm in my 30s. I'm surprised at how I feel about things that I thought would make me feel fulfilled. After all, I had planned it all out. The 30s feel like I'm finding the glove that fits and putting it on and getting comfortable. Not picking out the one that I want to fit and trying to squeeze it on.
I like jazz and chocolate and stretching my creative muscles. I enjoy driving to a new place and trying new things. I get frustrated when I get interrupted doing anything--I like to start and finish things all at once. I love my family with all my heart, but I'm a better wife and mother when I take a little time alone. And that was time well spent.