As I write I have a rare evening to myself. My husband left this afternoon for Chicago for a couple of days of training on some new software. My daughter, worn out by a bike ride that involved a trip to the Cone Zone, fell asleep on the sofa and did not stir much even when I carried her to her bedroom and placed her on her bed. I’m not sure when she’ll awake, probably 3:00 am. So for the evening, I am left to my own devices: the only thing required of me is to write a newspaper column.
There are dirty dishes in the sink. I’ll probably take care of those, and I may straighten the living room, but even those tasks will take only a few minutes. I could knit. I could do some creative writing.
Most evenings I would give my eye teeth for privacy and solitude. Tonight, now that I have it, I don’t know what to do with it, but whatever I do, it will be with my “quiet voice”.
Of course I’m not really alone, and if I let myself sink into the solitude that seems to surround me, I risk getting deep into a train of thought only to have it derailed by a cry from the bedroom above. She will be confused when she does wake. She won’t remember going to bed, and there was no bedtime routine tonight. She will awake confused and perhaps a little scared. And, she’ll probably want her stories.
It was a hoot Friday when I picked her up from school, and she asked “Where are we going for Spring Break?”
I said “nowhere”.
She started to protest rather vociferously, “But everybody is going somewhere special. I want to go somewhere special like Disney World.”
“Well, honey, Mom and Dad do not get Spring Break. And do you know what? Even when mom was in high school and college, and she did have a Spring Break, she worked. Trips over Spring Break are the exception, not the rule.”
She’s five and she is already whining about a Spring Break trip to Florida. This conversation should not happen until she is in college. Sigh.
We have a tradition that when one of us travels for work, the traveler leaves little notes scattered around the house in key places for our daughter to find. She squealed with delight when she found the first of Daddy’s notes tonight, next to the fish food, with instructions to “tickle Mommy”.
I have special things planned for us over the next couple of days, dinner that she can help cook. Activities to help keep the longing for “Knock-down-Daddy” games at bay—I hope. I don’t want her to have too good a time though. I don’t want her to look forward to a parent traveling for work because the routine is so special for her—there is a fine line to walk, as with everything in parenting.
It’s very quiet. Even the birds are not particularly active outside. The sun, which took its time making an appearance today, is setting, and its last rays are coming through the cut glass in the front door, painting rainbows on the staircase. The base from my daughter’s bedtime music CD keeps a gentle time upstairs, and I am alone with my thoughts. A train whistle sounds in the distance. It is a pleasant evening.
But I already miss my husband, and I really, really want to go upstairs and give my daughter a great big bear hug. So much for solitude.
© 2012 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.