Loneliness & Togetherness
There was a Cope reunion this last week, which had been planned for some months. The problem is that I found out only several weeks ago that I would be teaching a summer course during that time. After a lot of figuring, we decided to get Kira and the kids up there the weekend before the reunion so that they could get maximum time with the rest of the family. Naturally, that left me home alone for 5 days. As is usually the case during those times, I relished a few hours of quiet when at home, and the promise of uninterrupted sleep each night. But, as is also always the case, the fun lasted only for a couple of days. After that, I found that coming home to an empty home was… not much of a home. I found myself waking up at 6:30 in the morning automatically, even though I didn’t really need to be up for a couple of hours. Instead of hearing Carver’s singing from his bed, there was only the sound of the air conditioner turning on. Instead of excited shouts of “Daddy’s home!” when I’d get home from school, there was only the buzz of the refrigerator. Needless to say, by the last day, I was aching to see my family.
I certainly got my wish, and then some. I finished teaching class Thursday morning and drove to Colorado, where I met a warm welcome from my children. I was exhausted from the drive, so was eager to hit the sack. A few minutes into my slumber, Carver awoke screaming. He started coming down with a cold, and a tooth was on its way, so I was patient and understanding… at first. Then Carver woke up screaming an hour later, then again an hour after that, and the hour after that. He continued the pattern until sunrise. As I stared at him with my bloodshot eyes and pounding head, I tried with great difficulty to recall that feeling of longing to hold him again.
For the rest of the trip I had no idea what loneliness felt like any more. In total, there were 24 people at the reunion, many of them very small children looking for as much attention as possible. Whatever sounds I had missed during my 5 days of solitude were now back with a vengeance. I suppose the grass is very often greener on the other side, as the old adage goes. Now that I’ve experienced the two extremes though, I am very much satisfied with my small family, and the moderate levels of noise coupled with ample showing of love and affection. Now that we’re all together again in our own space, I remember what family is all about.