Don't be fooled. I write these words on Sunday night. At 8:18pm. The girls are tucked in bed. The cats have been fed. The house is impeccably clean. And impossibly quiet. And I am here. In my dark study. Staring at my bright screen. Violating my no-blogging-on-weekends mandate.
Normally, this would be when you and I exhale a collective sigh of relief that Sunday is coming to a close. Normally, this would be when you and I retreat to the couch for an hour or two of mindless television mixed with mindful conversation.
But not tonight.
Tonight, I am alone. Well, not alone. I am in a home with four beating hearts, four brilliant hearts, other than mine. Two little girls who are entering dreamland and two not-so-little cats who just enjoyed a late dinner and now purr at my ankles. So, no. Not alone.
Without you, something is missing. A big something. Without you, our home feels less full. Without you, I feel less full. And, thankfully, I don't have many opportunities to test this theory of familial subtraction, but today has been that opportunity.
This afternoon, the four of us went to a birthday party. You brought your suitcase. You parked it next to our diaper bag and in a sea of tiny shoes. We had no time to mope. No, we were busy dividing and conquering and chasing our two speedy and fearless girls as they went wild on the trampoline and buried themselves in little plastic balls.
But after cake frosting, it was time. Time to duck out of the party and say goodbye. The four of us walked to the corner in the spritzing rain. You, ever the gentleman, ever my gentleman, put us, your girls, in a taxi. And when you did so, Baby bawled and wrestled me, belting out that one word she enunciates so clearly. Daddy. And you looked back at us, pinning us with tear-soaked blues, before choking out that impossible goodbye.
And we made it home in one piece. Baby fell asleep on me in the taxi and Toddler stood by my side and we transferred her to her crib for nap. And Toddler settled in for a fifteen minute faux nap before crooning my favorite word. Mommy. I scooped her from her big girl bed. And she agreed to help me clean up a bit for our second open house.
And the rest of the day? It was a bit of a marathon, but a magical one. The rain did not abate and we girls were homeless in the elements while our broker hosted a slew of strangers in our place. We made an emergency potty stop at Starbucks. We popped by the toy store and bought one of my favorite childhood games - Let's Go Fishin'. We bought a birthday present for my nephew who turns ten tomorrow. And then we hit Barnes & Noble where the girls each picked a book. And I did too. Dani Shapiro's Devotion. A book that a good friend of mine has been raving about.
And then we made our way to Mom's to camp out for a bit before my nephew's birthday celebration. The girls were fantastic. They played. They sat with us at the dinner table. They devoured the day's second serving of birthday cake frosting. There were no epic meltdowns. As the day drew to a close, I actually felt like a decently-in-control mom. I don't have that feeling too often, so this was nice.
And then we strolled home, along soggy sidewalks, in the city dark. Baby sang. Toddler skipped. And we walked in. Into our little haven which won't be ours for too long. Into our little world. And we inched toward bed. And then we made it there.
And now. Now I am here. Basking in silence. Basking in awareness. Awareness that only comes with distance. Awareness that somehow, someway, I found you. The guy for me. The guy who was once just a cute and crushworthy jock. The guy who quickly became the love of my life. The guy who makes me laugh and makes me coffee. The guy who surprised me - and didn't surprise me at all - by being the best daddy I could imagine to my sweet girls.
And so. On this drizzly Sunday night, I miss you. Deeply. And within reason. We girls will be fine. We will be better than fine. We will survive. We will thrive. We will have couch jumping contests and Diego marathons and play many many games of Let's Go Fishin'. We will indulge in a couple of silly and good days. And then. Then you will be home.
Soon. So soon. Not soon enough.
A moment ago, my phone did its dance. Its ringless rumble. And I picked it up.
Hey babe. I'm here. Waiting for my bag. I love you.
I love you.
You are waiting at baggage claim.
And I am waiting here. At home. Waiting for your key in the door. Waiting for your hug. Waiting for your kiss. Waiting for our girls to squeal Daddy. Waiting to feel full again.
Waiting for Tuesday.
Soon. So soon. Not soon enough.
Now. Now I will cue this up to go live at 6am. About the same time I will awaken to Baby's voice, sweet and strong. And when you read these words, these sappy and heartfelt words, I will be making my own coffee. And starting a new day. A new week.
Now. Now I will shut down this little world. This wonderful world that welcomes me when I am alone. When I need it. Now I will crawl into a big bed with two loyal cats and one new book. And I will read about devotion. What it means to someone else. Because, on nights like this, when I am missing you so profoundly and so pathetically, I know just what devotion means to me.
Night night. Good morning.
(I miss you, babe. We miss you. Hurry home.)
- Do you enjoy when your partner travels or do you hate it like I do?
- Do you agree that there is a certain breed of awareness that is only felt in absence?
- Are you envious that Husband, though traveling for business, is partying it up at SXSW? (Because I am.)
- Do you think it makes me a big baby that I am so sad that my man is away for a couple of days? Be honest.
- Whom do you miss when you are alone?
ILI DAILY CHARM (yes, singular)
When I first started blogging, I happened upon a great blog called The Elmo Wallpaper. And I fell in love. With the voice. With the rawness. The wryness. The realness. Promptly, like a good rookie, I added this blog to my baby blogroll. Not too long after, I got an email from the blog's author Mama (yes, I know her name, but I'm not telling!). She thanked me for linking to her and complimented my writing. So began our periodic email exchanges. I am now 30,000+ words into REFILL (my next novel!) and am doing a pretty sad job of staying atop my favorite blogs, but I just caught up over at The Elmo Wallpaper. And thank goodness I did. Two of Mama's recent posts, profound and provocative, are nothing short of exquisite. In reading these posts, I am reminded why I fell for this blog - and its author - in the first place. Even as a newbie, I apparently knew what I was doing. Please read Appreciation and then its follow up On Why I Don't "Need Some Feminism."