The Lonely Introvert

I ran to the front door – as fast as you can run while trying not to wake the baby – and peeped through the hole (that’s what you do with a peephole right?).

No one was there.

But I swear I had heard a knock!

You might be wondering:

  1. Why would an introvert go anywhere near the door if she heard a knock?
  2. If for some reason she did go near the door, why would she be disappointed to find nobody outside of it?

Welcome to a new conundrum that I have experienced over the past few months of being home on leave with Little L – the plight of the Lonely Introvert.

For the record, this introvert knows how to entertain herself! I’ve spent many a summer vacation doing my own thing (sorry all you non-teachers out there). Yoga classes, walks to the store, bike rides, lounging at my favorite café…

I naively thought that’s what my maternity leave would be like. Just like summer vacation, but with a baby in tow. 

What? Little L needs to eat. She needs to sleep. She needs her diaper changed, and said favorite café doesn’t have a changing table.

I have never in my life spent so much time at home as I have in the past few months. On a typical non-work day Pre-Little-L, I would get up, exercise, shower, meditate, eat breakfast, and be café-bound by 10 or 11. 

These days, by 10 or 11 I’m feeding Little L for the second or third time and I’m lucky if I’ve eaten breakfast myself.

I’ve definitely had my coffee though.

I didn’t anticipate feeling lonely. But being sequestered in your house is – well, a little isolating. 

Not that I had to do it that way – I know new parents who tote their kid to the mall to walk around. 

Apparently that’s not my mom persona – yet. 

So the past few months I’ve been at home. A lot. 

It took me about a month of being at home on my own with Little L to realize I needed to put my scheduling skills to good use. If we couldn’t make plans to go out (because who knew what time her naps would be and we definitely didn’t want to miss those!), then the people would come to us. 

I got a good rotation going of family, friends, and neighbors who came over to visit or to watch Little L so I could run out to drop off a library book or go to an appointment. 

“So, tell me what’s new!” I’d say. “What’s happening out there in the outside world?”

But running to the door in hopes of a visitor? That is what can happen to a Lonely Introvert. It has given me empathy for extraverts. 

When I told this story to my friend Alissa, she laughed. “If a salesperson had been there, maybe you would have invited them in for coffee!”

And then I realized, I had done just that. In October we ordered new blinds, and the woman from Hirshfield’s came to our house to measure the windows.

It was when Meghan and Cameron were visiting and it just so happened that Cameron had made a French Press of coffee.

I offered the window treatment woman coffee. She accepted.

After the blinds were installed, she called me to see how the installation went.

And I answered.

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She sent me a thank you a few weeks later. I think she enjoyed our time together too.

I’ve talked to strangers at the park; I’ve lingered by the mailboxes hoping a neighbor – any neighbor! – would stop to talk. 

I called people. 

I was disappointed when they didn’t pick up.

I recently took Little L walking around the floors of our building. 16 degrees seemed too cold to take her out in the blustery wind, but we needed a change of scenery. 

Unfortunately they took the artwork down to paint so I quickly realized that  every single floor of our building looks identical right now.

Oh well.

We figured it out these past few months. Little L ate. She napped. She didn’t nap. She spit up. She laughed. She “talked.” I sang. We read books. I did laundry and more laundry and then some more the next day. We went for walks, but not nearly as much as I’d thought we would.

It’s not summer vacation. If you know a stay-at-home parent or anyone who isn’t able to leave their home as easily as they’d like, please call or text them today to see how they’re doing. They might just want to talk to an adult.

I head back to work today, and Axel is home on leave with Little L this month. I’ve filled him in on what I’ve learned. 

Axel, I hope you love your time with Little L. And I hope you have your visitors lined up.

Today is a hard day. On one hand, I’m going to miss being with Little L all day. I won’t know how many dirty diapers she has or how long she sleeps – oh wait; I will. Axel will enter it in the Baby Manager app, and it will pop up on my phone. 

But not being there with her will be so weird.

Yet I’m excited to see my colleagues and students and know what time I’ll be able to eat my lunch.

Teachers can’t work from home. So today I will be forced to leave the house, and that will be a good thing. 

Have a good day, Little L and Axel. I’ll be home soon, with news of the outside world.

What’s that? Is someone knocking at your door?