The next day is better. We go to work, and I hang around the library afterward browsing books of my choice, far away from the children's section. An hour slips away, and no one cares. I go to the grocery store without a list and remember everything I need to buy. I don't yell at anyone to stop running or to cease and desist punching their sibling. This makes me smile secretly to myself because I think how funny it would be if I actually did yell at a fellow shopper to stop running and threaten her with no free sugar cookies if she keeps behaving in such a manner. I relish the knowledge of my ability to embarrass total strangers as well as close family members. My grocery bill is $32.76. This is a small miracle, and it is enough to keep CP and I in food for a whole week. It's like fishes and loaves.
We make dinner at a leisurely pace. I don't have to refer to a recipe 90 times because I am distracted. I go with the flow and cook on a dime, the process feeling kind of organic and fun. I don't require alcohol to get through it. We eat grilled salmon, lemon parmesan risotto and a fresh cucumber and tomato salad. No one says ewwww. No one says what's this green stuff. No one says why don't you ever cook something that I like. No one begs for dessert or cries when they are told they aren't getting any. Life is good. But it's still quiet. And I still miss them.
What will I do when they leave me? What will I do when I can't hear their little voices and running footsteps filling all the rooms of my house? I guess I will be reduced to reprimanding strangers in the grocery store and remembering the unspeakable fullness of these days.