I’m alone in my house this morning, on a Sunday, which is unusual. Normally, my husband and daughter would still be asleep upstairs, and I would be basking in the glorious solitude of my morning coffee. Today, both of them are off doing things that they need to do, and I am here with dog, cat and horses, staring at the frozen landscape in the empty silence. It feels a bit like standing on the edge of a cliff yet not being able to see what lies ahead.
Recently, as I sit in our family room in the evening, I spend a fair amount of time looking at our daughter, wrapped up in a soft red blanket, wearing her ever-present white headphones as she listens to her music and types on her computer. Her puppy snuggles at her side, getting a scratch on the chin or the ear every once in a while. I used to try to get my gorgeous lanky child to “do something” whenever I caught her being a couch potato. Now, I cherish the sight, aware that in a few months, there will be an empty space here in the nest. At night, when I go out to feed the horses, fill water buckets and spread shavings for bedtime, I still have my sidekick with me, complaining that her fingers are frozen and that the tire on the wheelbarrow needs more air. And suddenly, I love the sound of her grumbling since I know that soon it will be the exception rather than the rule. Next winter, there will be a different rhythm and a new routine that mostly I will do alone.
So, I am full of appreciation right now for all of the moments that I have where everyone and everything is fine and here with me and happy. I have no idea what I will be doing after I’ve cleaned the closets, painted those paintings I’ve been wanting to paint, written the last chapter of my book, taught the dog to walk calmly on a leash and started Life Part 2 next fall. Hopefully, I’ll get all the nostalgia and indulgent snippets of sadness out of the way in the next few months while I still can sneak into my daughter’s room when she’s sleeping and can't get annoyed, while no one sees me tuck the blankets around her and kiss her gently on the forehead.
One thing I’m sure of, come next September, those two horses are going to get a lot more attention than they are used to, and I know they won’t be complaining one bit.