This afternoon someone asked me if it was hard being away from River.
“No,” I said. “Of course I miss him and would like to see him, but I also really appreciate having the time to focus.”
That was until I attended a fiddle concert in the evening. It was held in a converted barn, with wood paneling and soft miniature bulbs wrapped around the poles, emitting a light that glowed against the wood paneling. In that warm, musical atmosphere, I watched a three-year-old dance. She moved unselfconsciously, scrunching up her shoulders at the high notes and moving her arms gently at her sides in the lighter, more melodious moments.
Although it was later than River’s bedtime, I still wished he could be there. I wanted to see him enjoy the music, I wanted to smile in encouragement at his reactions, as the mother of the three-year-old was doing. When a couple in front of me kissed, I wanted the calm comfort of being with Mark.
It’s only after spending a week of what feels like constant speed-meeting, starting up conversations with strangers or mere acquaintances at every meal, every lecture, every event, that one really appreciates the value of being with people who already know and accept you. I’m looking forward to not having to describe, categorize or define myself for a while.
However, I will most definitely miss the daily pancakes/waffles/French toast with sausage/ham, fried potatoes, fresh fruit and scones for breakfast. I’ll miss having something distinct for each meal and enjoying a varied diet without spending any time cooking. Though this has been a luxury, the bathroom scale will be relieved at my return to my instant oatmeal, raisin, and tea breakfasts.
Even with the additional responsibilities of work and home, I expect to feel a tranquility at being with the people I love, in the place I now call home. I feel like an adult at summer camp, thankful for the experience and the new relationships, but ready to return to the embrace of my family.