Matt and the kids are in NY for a couple of days; Matt needs to accompany his dad on some medical appointments, and the kids will have a much-wanted Grandma visit. It's always eerily silent when they are away--and the time becomes a rare opportunity to hear what our neighborhood actually sounds like. I hear my teenage neighbor obsessively bouncing his lacrosse ball off the trampoline-like net that springs it back toward him every few seconds. The occasional plane take-off or approach to landing is suddenly audible. And the noises within the house are more prominent, too. The grandfather clock is tick, tock, ticking away. The laptop in the corner of the living room chirps from time to time, questioning why it's been forgotten and allowed to rest so long today!
When I returned home from work tonight (not too, too late, though it is easy to work late when the house is empty--and the next two nights will be work events!), I could still smell the lingering soap/steam scent from Matt's shower, and the kids' sleep smell seemed to hang in their room. I'll snuggle their blankets to me tonight, a nice reminder of them sleeping soundly a state away.
I miss them, all of them. And the gift of this time is how their absence shines a light on how I sometimes miss them when they're all right here. Don't get my wrong...the silence is a gift. But what I learn from it is part of that gift as well. They are such treasures.