The Family’s Whole Again

By , October 20, 2010

Our family is whole again; Michelle came home Monday from a week of caring for friends’ children in town. We arrived  home at dinner time. Michelle was free to resettle into the cabin while Aly and I heated up leftover vegetable soup we’d made. Spice the cat yowled a “welcome” for a while before settling down in Michelle’s lap. Life began to return to normal.

I’ve been watching her closely for signs of “cityfication.” She’s had a week of overabundant electricity, refrigeration, and (gasp!) indoor plumbing! Perhaps the biggest threat to our lifestyle, she had access to a bath tub. Even Michelle, who wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder as a child, would feel a bit of a pang leaving that luxury.

We seem to have kept the home running to her satisfaction in her absence. Her comments have run more toward external changes, like how much the autumn colors on the cherry trees have advanced, and how dark it is at night after a week in town, in a house where the children prefer nightlights. So far, we haven’t heard any questions beginning with “Why didn’t you . . . ?”

I admit to contemplating less attractive contingencies now and then, including life without my wife. Not to dwell on such things, but because we work as a team, it makes sense to consider how the absence of one member would affect the remaining members. Would we be able to absorb and continue the tasks the missing person customarily carries out?

To my surprise, Aly and I did better than I would have thought. True, we weren’t called upon to do more than a sampling of Michelle’s activities here, but the ones we did try, we managed well. Perhaps our “duties” overlap more than I think they do.

And, as much as I missed Michelle, I have to confess, a two-person, father/daughter household turned out to be quite pleasant. Aly and I partner well. Not that Michelle’s that much of a talker, but it seems like it was a quieter household on the whole, a comfortable, companionable quiet much of the time.

We’d never want to do without Michelle, but if we had to, we could. Hopefully, they would say the same for me.

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