Amanda's bus drops her off at the end of the driveway. The driver always honks to let me know she's arrived, and I can look out the window and see that she's coming in, or getting the mail. A couple of weeks ago, several minutes had gone by, and she hadn't come in, so I looked out again. She was in the hammock, book in hand. Twenty minutes later, she was gone. I looked out the back window and she was sitting on the swing, still reading. It was a nice day and she was wrapped up in a good book.
She likes periods of solitude. When she's not quite sure what to do with her emotions that she's having trouble controlling, she'll wisely retreat to the privacy of her room explaining, "I just want to be alone." There are times she is watching TV and I'm on the computer or the phone and she'll ask, "Can you go in your room so I can be alone?" Earlier this week she came home and went straight to the hammock again. I called out to her from the porch, and she said, "Can you just not see me like you did that other time?"
I like solitude, too. I've always ended up firmly straddling the wall in personality testing in the area of how I get energized and recharged--either by people (extrovert) or by retreating alone (introvert). They are both quite appealing to me in many ways. I wonder if my more introverted tendencies lately are due to my stage of life, where finding peace and quiet alone is truly a luxury, as I am constantly bombarded with a very sweet little voice urging me to "Watch, Mommy" or asking me, "Why, Mommy?"
I find that in times of stress or confusion, I often do go to friends, and while I don't have to be face to face, I do like knowing that there is another human being with whom I can share. Amanda's that way too, but like me, she often enjoys a solitary retreat, and unlike me much of the time, she actually has the option to assert that desire.