23 April 2008

Evenings Alone

Evenings at our house have tipped in favor of the good over the bad. The weather has been stellar, perfectly spring-like, which really helps. When the twins and I get home, we have dinner out on the back porch, alternating between playing and dining. The great weather, the fact that finally, FINALLY at the age of nearly two, the twins have settled into a one-nap-per-day of two hours schedule, getting past the one-year mark of John's death . . . I think all of these things have worked in our favor and we're finally getting our groove back (albeit in a much different way than Stella).

After the twins go to bed, I spend the balance of my evenings doing chores, keeping tabs on the Sox or Idol, reading, blogging, whatever. Some evenings a friend is over to keep me company and help out, but more often than not, it's just me. I try to do all of my chore-type things right after the twins go down, aiming to be done by around 8:30 p.m. so that I can spend the rest of the evening doing more pleasant stuff.

As I puttered around tonight—putting a load of laundry in, washing dishes, sweeping the kitchen (we have a no-shoes-in-the-house rule, but it's been violated a lot lately as we move from backyard to kitchen all evening), putting away the milk and veggie deliveries—I thought about how nice it would be to share that load. I'm pretty seriously scared of the dark, and John would always to laundry in the evening so that I didn't have to go down to the dim, creepy basement. He was methodical and regular about sweeping; I don't think to do it until things get pretty ugly, and then I'm always amazed by what a difference the small investment in time makes. It seems somehow unromantic to admit that I not only miss the emotional companionship of a husband, but I also miss the fact that many hands make light(er) work.

Of course I miss John for the rest of the evening, too. He always claimed not to like Idol, but he'd watch with me, sitting on the couch with a book that he wasn't really reading, making acerbic comments after each performance. It's a lot more fun to have a beer with the game when there's someone to have a beer with you. And while it's nice to stretch out the entire length of the couch, I'm not very tall and I was always happy to share.

Then I trundle off to bed, where I always read at least a page or two before I turn out the light. Even on nights I'm exhausted, I've learned time and time again that if I skip the step of taking some book time, I won't sleep as well. John and I would often go to bed as early as 9:00 p.m.-ish, deciding to snuggle in with our books rather than watch a TV show or movie. Shared reading time was one of our favorite ways to be together. I was always the first to turn out my light; often I'd wake up hours later to find John asleep with his book on his chest and the light still on.

What I do with my evening time hasn't changed a lot since John died. And yet it feels so very different. Quieter. Less rich. Pleasant enough, for the most part, but just not quite right.

13 comments:

Julia said...

Nothing to be embarrassed about. And it wasn't just load-sharing, was it? It was emotional caring too. He did laundry so you wouldn't have to deal with your fear. Not that you couldn't, but he gave you a break.

I actually think of you often in the evenings, of how different it must be now. Even when I am downstairs and my husband is upstairs, each doing our own thing in the evening it's not as if we are really alone. And you are. I am sorry...

Anonymous said...

You really touched me with this post ...

Nina said...

I'll be thinking of you this evening.

moo said...

I've also found that eating outside seems to encourage better/more eating ... my son is interested in trying new foods if they are offered al fresco. I'm not sure why this is, but I'm very grateful for the nice weather.

I don't have the right words for your loneliness ... but I'm sorry that things just don't seem to fit right yet.

culiex said...

Keep writing down things you remember, even if it has a sadness tint to it...because believe it or not (maybe you already do believe it) some of the things you think you will remember forever will fade away. I think the twins would someday love to know you - and John - through the lens of you as a wife and not just you as their mom. But maybe you are already doing this for them. This blog is certainly a legacy in and of itself.

mlg said...

Thanks for sharing your evening with us. It was nice. It is strange how routine can be so, well, routine and still have such a different feeling. I often move through my chores like I am on autopilot and then I will take a deep breath and realize how much better it is to have someone, even if to just sit and chat if not help lighten the load.


I love that Maddy was thinking about John and that you keep him alive in your house and with your stories. What a true gift for them both.

Watching Idol right now..I may have to skip ahead 20 minutes by searching for east coast results.

buddha_girl said...

I don't think your observation and admission are unromantic. Rather, brutally honest.

Being with someone doesn't mean love, sex, and bird singing.

It's a partner. John was yours and a wonderful one at that.

Like Julia said, I'm sorry.

Mama Nabi said...

I am so sorry... sigh, we truly are sisters of bizarro world.

django's mommy said...

Wow. Snick, you just described my evenings with J to a T. The complaining about Idol, the sharing of the couch, the always reading before bed...

I also very much miss Josh's contributions to the household. He did all the cooking, and most of the laundry, and, of course, helped with our son a lot. I miss playing rock paper scissors to determine who would clean up after dinner and who would do bath with N.

I am also finding the warm weather to be so helpful. It makes me happy to be outside. And LOVE the pic of the twins. I think Maddie looks just like you!

liz said...

Hugs.

Amy said...

I'm sorry you have to live on without him.. So unfair.

After more than a year without him I do have to say you sound so much stronger. Past coping and living again.

All good.

OTRgirl said...

I have to do the book and then the sudoku to turn down the spinning in my brain. Jrex usually falls asleep with his light on...

Your list of what you miss sounds similar to what mine would be. Daily, mundane and yet profound.

Clover said...

As Amy said- so unfair. I'm sorry.