The house is once again silent and I am happy. I couldn’t have said that an hour ago, well, at least not the silent part. Since about noon, Saturday, we’ve been babysitting our two-year-old grandson, Kade. Seven-year-old Grady was participating in a two-day hockey tournament in beautiful downtown St. Paul.
With our son, Greg spending weeks at a time in Denver ensuring the success of a new business, parenting two young boys has gotten more complicated for Carrie. This was the least we could do to ensure this mother-son trip and hockey team bonding experience was as worry-free as it could be.
Kade was dropped off later than planned because he’d spent most of the night puking. Though he didn’t have any overt symptoms of, well, anything, he wasn’t himself either. He fell asleep at 5:30 on Saturday and didn’t wake up until about fourteen hours later. When he woke he was lethargic and quiet. He was pathetic. After a preventive dose of Tylenol, he slept for another couple hours. In mid-afternoon he slept again.
When he wasn’t sleeping he did run and laugh and play. He did demand our vigilance to keep him out of harm’s way: falls, scalding, electrocution, poisoning, starvation, and dehydration to name some.
Let’s be clear, we love both boys and want to be part of their lives, both for our benefit and theirs. However, it is a relief when they leave. I gather the toys strewn hither and yon. I store away the extra bedding until next time. Then I relish the silence and return to our kid-free routine.
This week was unique. Normally, when Roy has a conference to attend, I tag along. Most of the time I can just as easily work in a hotel room as from home. Sometimes, I schedule meetings or personal appointments. This week I chose to stay home. I am nursing a chest wall injury from prolonged vigorous coughing. I’m told this pain rivals that of broken ribs and I believe it. It was also miserably cold.
Roy was no sooner out of the driveway when, without any forethought or prep, I decided to do an impromptu at-home retreat. I wasn’t off to an auspicious start though, watching the Trump press conference and some post-event analysis. I mourned the lost hours and days I’d spent watching the campaign, election, and subsequent gong show. I was so repulsed and disgusted I turned the TV off.
In the next thirty-one hours of silence, I read and journaled. I dug out my watercolours and painted. I listened and heard my own thoughts. I meditated. I ate and slept when I wanted to. It was soul restoring. It was a gift of time and kindness.
I know not everyone gets opportunities like this to pounce on. We all have obligations. Some of us have noisy grandsons who need us. Yet, we owe it to ourselves to exploit found nuggets of time every chance we get. It makes it easier to rise to our noisy obligations, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.