Naked Parent People Seen Dancing On Suburban Streets

The toilet seats are down, as they should be.

Then again, I don’t care.

Never did.

I have few constraints in my space; I suppose I should be dancing naked through my house, or behind it, or even on the quiet street where it’s rare to see anyone except on Saturday when lawns are mowed and weeds are pulled and I actually step outside to watch the passersby, including young women pushing babies in overpriced strollers.

Fully dressed, by the way. Babies and women, both.

Naked through the house?

I can.

But I won’t.

Don’t care.

Never did.

I suppose there are many things I could do now that I couldn’t do one week ago.

Seven little days. Seven days of sorting and shopping and washing and discussion. Seven days of tickets and credit cards and keys and queues. Three days of a beautiful college campus, soaring edifices and welcoming brick, rolling lawns and interminable steps, and a special time assisting my son as I witnessed him standing straighter and growing taller, filling out his sense of self right in front of my weary eyes as my parenting took a back seat.

As it should.

As it must.

Now there is the plunge into my own known and unknown circulating: the cleaning, the organizing, the projects, the passions. It isn’t that I cannot articulate, enumerate, and substantiate the whys and wherefores of each necessity and possibility – but I won’t. 

For now.

They seem inconsequential, as I grope for a “new normal.”

I suppose I won’t find it in two days, or three, or even two weeks. But I know I’ll find it.

The fact is – I’m not feeling down or up or much of anything, except tired.

Too tired for dancing naked through suburban streets, for dancing naked in my cottage kitchen, for samba or tango or celebratory moves of any sort, in any attire or none at all. Instead I’m wrestling with tasks and ideas and items on a checklist that remain maddeningly out of reach; by virtue of an unreal and elusive quality, ephemeral even if they’re not.

I wonder why I cannot focus.

I tried going fishing, metaphorically speaking, though I only managed a single day.

For now, I suppose I’ll wear my loosely-fitted jacket of fatigue until sleep arrives to unbutton it. For now, I suppose I’ll tend to the messes created in our packing pandemonium. For now, I’ll look forward – even if my sights are uncommitted to resolve, if only because forward is the most practical direction to take. And focus will return in due time and maybe then, I will dance naked through the house like mothers and fathers all across the country reclaiming a measure of time and self.

Because I can.

Because we can.

But not just yet.

© D A Wolf


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  1. says

    Nakedness tends to be a theme at our house. Then again, toddlers never seem to care about clothes. : )

    Moving forward. Sometimes, as you said, it is the only thing to do. I see you making those steps and feel honored to watch as you make this big adjustment.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      So much of the weight now is fatigue, Amber. Years of it, and of course, a long and physical trip, with most of the emotions still tucked away, with only occasional “leakage.” It is an entirely other landscape. Disorienting.

      So let’s hear it for the naked toddlers who are content in that state. We’re all naked, whatever we put on and in however many layers. We just don’t like to admit it, as adults – or parents. And thank you, for standing by.

  2. Madelia says

    I think sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves to make moments momentous, if you will. And we want definite punctuation points, like in the old days when you had a cigarette after a meal and that meant you were done eating (I personally brushed my teeth instead, but you get the picture). Old rituals lose meaning with big life changes, and we haven’t found our new ones yet. We think we have to rush to fill the void. “Avoid the void!” we think, “it’s gonna hurt!”

    It will, but pushing it down doesn’t make it go away. Go easy. It’s okay. The dancing will come when you’re ready for it. And, yes, I’m listening to my own advice here. You can throw my words back at me any time.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      I don’t know how you did it Madge. But I’m awed that you did! This is like the layoff I went through 10 years ago, and then some. It’s not that I don’t have a hundred things to do, but the landscape has changed dramatically. Not sure where I am, just yet.

  3. says

    Wow, BLW. I get a little behind on blog-reading and look what happens! Take naps. You’ve earned them, and it sounds like you need them. Or just relax with a good book, or whatever. You will find a new normal, but it’s not going to happen in a mere 7 days.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Well, it’s been three days, actually… As for a good book – I’ve got stacks! (Who doesn’t feel wonderful surrounded by books?) :)

  4. says

    Sick and tired… sick and tired. I understand your words. We are plain tuckered out. There is much to be done but the things we truly WANT to do are not accessible at this time. It is tough to help them move on. It is tough to move on ourselves but it is so much more difficult to do alone and broke. It is hard to get the rest and relaxation you need and deserve when you are exhausted by bills and job hunts and future plans.

    One day at a time, one foot in front of the other. You are strong, always have been. I do not know the landscape where you are but a walk in nature is cleansing, refreshing and replenishing.

  5. says

    For now, I suppose I’ll wear my loosely-fitted jacket of fatigue until sleep arrives to unbutton it.

    What a beautiful line! I hope you can sleep and sleep. It’s so scary sometimes to find a new normal. But it will come. One step at a time. Take really good care of yourself and make them gentle steps. xoxo

  6. says

    Another beautiful post. I’m behind in blog reading, and this reminds me what I’ve missed.

    It is nearly autumn, perhaps metaphorically too. Time to sleep, to read, to reassess.

    And walk around naked…

  7. says

    I was just having this conversation about the loosening of the parenting commitments especially with my two oldest. It is weird to focus. It is weird to focus on those passions, ideas, tasks that we have been putting off for twenty-two years, the day Molly was born. But maybe that’s what this about, the lesson to just be with or without clothes.

  8. says

    One of the many many good things about parenting is that they grow up, move out, develop lives of their own, come back to visit but leave again for their homes, and are there to love, near or far, having provided us with years and years of memories. And fatigue. And exhilaration. And making adjustments as life changes, as it will and must.

  9. says

    I know what you mean about settling into a new routine or new life. I’ve had my second baby for three months now and I still haven’t found my groove at home. There’s always something that needs to be done (bills, laundry, meals, etc.) outside of what I’d like to do and so every day is a guess as to how I can fit the things I want to do in with the things I need to do.

    But like others have said before me here – you’ve earned these moments/days to yourself. Hope you’ll find the time to savor them.

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