They leave and the house is so quiet. A stillness that settles, both filled with calm and just a small sense of loneliness. I hadn’t noticed it before like I do now. Before, I would get them on the bus, turn around and wave the ‘I love you’ sign and then find myself checking my wrist to see how many minutes could be carved out before I had to leave for school. But now I have time to rest and read and think. I don’t even remember to wear my watch. There’s more time. To notice things. Like the rush of cold air as I shut the front door. How it’s both sharp and somehow invigorating. I notice the geometric shapes of sunlight marching across the lines of oak as I walk into the kitchen. I place my hand in a rectangle of sunlight on the table. And then sit. Because I can. I leave my hand there and just think. Without rush or anticipation. It’s a wonderfully new feeling, and I decide to let it linger. There is always plenty to do, and I know that laundry is waiting; there are plans to make and lists to check off, and errands to run. But it can wait because I have time now. For a little while, nursing school is on break and I find myself finally able to rest and vacate. Funny how I don’t realize how stressful something was until it’s over. If there was a way to store this quietness up, I would do it. The calm and peace of the moment, the sitting down just because I have the time to. I love it.
I look up and see the amaryllis and remember Connor’s words, how he made a special place mat last night for the flowers. “You’re gonna’ love it, Mom. You can look in the morning.” I see a piece of white, and move in closer to see what I will love. And I smile. Just my style, for sure, this cross between pirate and – something? He makes me happy, that boy. I love little gifts like that. Things I find that remind me of the three of them when they aren’t home. Little things, like Legos in the dryer, or headbands next to the sink, or a trumpet in the mudroom. Even little annoyances that I wish they would pick up before they head off to school- but somehow during the day I smile as I put them away. Little pieces of proof that there are three young children in this home, part of the story of our day-to-day. Little reminders that give me hope for a future, reminders of the utmost responsibility, the privilege we have to see their lives unfold.