Be Away From Me

By a 3OT Guest Writer

“Be away from me” my almost-three-year-old boy shouts at me, for likely the seventh time this week. To compliment his bold declaration, he throws one small arm out straight in front him and swings it from side to side, as if indicating the exact amount of space he needs in order for me to “be away”.

Though he is good with language for his age, he obviously lacks a command of the English language, which sometimes win us some great little phrases. When he doesn’t want to snuggle before bed at night, I am told to “be off his body”. Typically my husband and I giggle about these mistakes in wording. We try to document them because we know that one day he won’t make mistakes like these. Or he will…. But it won’t be funny so much as a reason for a concerning parent teacher conference.

Lately though, I find myself thinking about his phrasing and the accidental wisdom of it. Three years after having my first child, I find myself in a life which has almost nothing to do with me. I can count on one hand the number of hours in one week that I am by myself. It seems that there is always someone around, needing something from me. Most days I don’t mind. I have grown into it, and even enjoy a lot of it.

Other days, I am not here for it.  

But “go away” sounds too harsh to say. “Go” implies a lot. It means someone is leaving, and someone else is left. It implies how they feel about it- happy, sad, apprehensive, bittersweet.

None of this is what I want. None of this is how I feel.

I want all of the people in my life to be. Be happy, be who they are, be present, be loved. Its just that sometimes, I want them to be all of that… away from me.

Some days I want to throw my own stiff arm out and claim the air around me for only myself. I imagine myself in a Heisman like position, with my personal space as the football in my arms, being protected at all costs as I run through a field of well-meaning people who want nothing but to snatch it away.

This is a lofty goal. It is only on the rarest of occasions that I am able to find more than 30 minutes to truly be alone, and most of the time it involves me driving to or from work and a daycare rendezvous.

Complicating the situation even more is my barely starting to swell belly. There is now a soul that, in the most literal and physical sense, cannot “be” away from me.

I find myself leaning into this. I know that less and less of my life and my time will be mine way before I start to get any parts of it back. What choice do I have? None, really. And honestly, would I choose it to be different? Not really.

I focus back in on my son. My little man, growing up in the space of a blink. Soon to be an older brother. His arm is still extended, lower lip still protruding. His face is fierce with resolve. “Be away from me” he says again.

When did you get so wise? I ask, as a response to his proclamation. I turn and leave him where he is, safe in his favorite haven, his bed. To let him “be” with only himself. This request of his is something that I can give. Maybe one day he will see the wisdom of his toddler words, and the gift of my obeying them.


Featured image via Unsplash