Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Next week at this time, it'll only be me in the house.
I'll be the only one pounding on the fireplace screen this time, hoping to startle away the scuffling blackbirds that spent their mornings squawking on our roof all summer.
Our three boys will be in school and I'll be home that first day, alone, after being with them every day for three months. I'll talk out loud to myself while I wipe up the counters from that morning's toast, about how eager the three of them were to get back to their friends and catch up on who went the farthest on vacation and whose hair grew the longest over the summer.
I'll drop them off at school one by one, and then I'll go for a walk - not yet ready to go back into the house, to the sight of Lucky Charms floating in cereal bowls, the milk dusted with yellow and green specks.
It'll feel like a ghost town when I first walk back in; like the exhibits of Pompeii, frozen moments in time of what was live only minutes before. I'll pick up the book left open face down on the coffee table and wonder whether my son likes it or not. I'll look at the sketch of a robot, three-fourths finished, my son's favorite black marker left uncapped on top; closing the pen for him so it doesn't dry out. I'll put away the scissors left open on the living room floor where my son was cutting out his favorite comics from the Sunday paper and taping them into his scrapbook.
There will be plenty to do, like there always is, and the day will run out of hours, like it always does.
I'll fold laundry, drag a vacuum cleaner across carpets, unload dishes, sweep wooden floors, return phone calls, shop for tonight's meal, sometimes coffee with a friend. My day will pass and then it will be time to pick up my children from school; and then I'll turn around to drop them off again, to piano, soccer, swimming.
I don't have enough time in my day to do everything that I need to do. Before I know it, it's time to get my children. There is never enough time in my day.
And yet, there is too much.
Too much time until I see their eyes meet mine in the rear view mirror asking me what's for dinner, telling me they hope it's spaghetti. Too much time until then, and so I fill the hours with all the things I know I need to do, to help make it pass.