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.