They all leave.
I buckle them in and blow kisses at her face in the window as they drive off. And then I turn around. And every time I narrowly miss walking smack into the bush outside our front door. Watching my children drive off without me is a little disorienting.
But most days I miss the bush. And I walk back inside. And that moment when I first cross the threshold is disorienting again. There is sadness there. And longing. It doesn’t matter what has transpired in the minutes and hours before that moment. I always miss them. The house always feels too big, too quiet, too empty in that moment.
But there is also anticipation. And planning. And expectation. The things I can do now. Untethered. Free.
I turn on the kettle. And I clean up the breakfast dishes. And I sit at my desk with a steaming cup of coffee. This second cup still feels like such a luxury after years of nursing and pregnancy. And though I know that ultimately the drink revs me up, there is something about this second cup that is calming. I wrap my cold fingers around the mug because my office is always so chilly and I breathe in the soft smell rising off the top and I just keep breathing.
And the quiet is just right.
And the longing fades. So does the sadness. Because I know they’ll be back. And this moment of calm will be just a memory.
But right now, this moment is mine.
And I stare out my window and watch my neighbors departing for their days. Routines I know well now simply because two days a week I sit and I work while their mornings play out in front of me.
And I work. And I write. And my heart repairs itself and my soul recharges in the quiet and the peace. And for a few hours, I feel human again. Productive. And adult with deadlines and tasks and two hands to do it all and for a little while, the structure feels good. Comfortable.
And I don’t think I knew or appreciated how important this time is to me until the flurry of holidays and vacations and snow days took it away. I don’t think I understood how my soul needs this time. This quiet house. This time alone.
But the quiet and the coffee and the chilly office and the lists and the writing and the work. I need it. I need it all.