“I’m working all weekend.”
I felt my shoulders sag, but I only nodded, and empathized, “Oh, that sucks. Do you get time in lieu?”
“Yeah, I’ll take it at the beginning of February.” Another nod as I went back to wiping down the counters, and planning out lunches for the next day.
“But, I’m going to take the kids in with me on Sunday. The store isn’t open. They love going with me when they can, so we’ll make a day of it. I’ll only be there for a handful of hours…”
My face lit up like Christmas. I didn’t want to sound too eager, “Are you sure?”
This time, he nodded.
Somewhere along the line, I told myself that our new normal wasn’t going to be permanent. I don’t recall when I did this, but as I sat with my Day Timer last week, going over the long list of appointments we had, I realized that this wasn’t going to end. From now on, we’d always having something on the go, some specialist to see, meetings or lengthy phone calls, medication to get and understand, carefully placed in amongst our normal activities. There’s more things, and apparently, less time. Especially for me. The one who juggles the balls of our lives, making sure that our cohesive family stays that way, sometimes giving up time I’d squared away for just me. Sneaking in pages of my books late at night, or during lessons. Multi-tasking so that everything on a daily basis gets done, so that everyone else is taken care of.
And, that’s okay, mostly.
Here though, my husband had presented me with a rare opportunity. One that if it had been a physical gift, I would have wrapped my arms around while squealing for joy. Time. Alone.
This morning, after I’d helped get the kids ready for the day out with Daddy, I shut our front door, and padded back up the stairs where I poured my coffee in silence. I curled up on the couch, in silence, feeling the warmth of my cup through my fingers, letting the silence fall around me.
For about an hour, I sat and listened to the way the house sounded when there was no movement, when I was not moving, only breathing. My thoughts drifted in and out of my mind, carefully, loudly, gently, and aggressively. I continued to sip my coffee, lapping up the incredibly luxury of these seconds, these minutes. Beside me was the to-do list I’d meticulously crafted throughout the week in anticipation for these hours. I was going to tackle it, and easily finish it before my family returned.
Instead, I opted to do nothing, although it wasn’t really nothing. I sat with myself, alone with my thoughts. Together, we puttered around the silent house. I took the time to listen to each of the thoughts that danced in and out, the easy ones, and the hard ones, embracing each as they came, meditating, and discarding the ones that really had no place dwelling within. I just listened, and felt. Everything else on my list could wait. Today, I would be with me.
My family returned to the same house they left. I offered my husband an apology, and he pulled me in for a hug, a silent offering of understanding. The kids bounded through the house, shaking clean any of silence that threatened to linger, eager to narrate for me the exciting day they’d had as we moved into our nightly routine.
“Thanks again for today. It was lovely,” I expressed later that night.
“You needed it. You deserved it. I know I’m not good with gifts, or being romantic, or you know, being attentive when I should, but you looked like you needed some time alone. It’s been a long week.”
I nodded because there was nothing else to say.
“We need you, the kids and I. Especially now. If you aren’t good, we aren’t good. You’re like the glue of our family, love. We fall apart without you, so the least I can do is make sure we take care of you too.”
Today, I didn’t get anything done. And that was okay.