I’m staying at Dad’s house for a week in town (what we call the big city of Roanoke since we live in a small town). I haven’t stayed at Dad and Mom’s house in a few years. Mom has been gone for 18 months now and I’m still not used to the quiet her absence has created.
I’m enjoying the one-on-one time with Dad, though. We have settled into a routine. Actually, I have settled into his routine. I guess I never realized how much he does around here before he even makes his first cup of coffee. I, on the other hand, stumble into the kitchen and impatiently wait for my coffee to brew or the water to heat for my pour-over. The first morning, he had all his first-thing chores done and I was just taking a first sip of brew. But three days in, I beat him out to the kitchen, got the water going in the electric kettle, and opened the house up. I don’t know about ya’ll, but Russell and I don’t really “close the house” at night. Sure, we make sure the doors are locked, the lights are off, and the floor fan in our room is turned on, but that’s about it. At Dad’s, there is quite a lot to do to close the house up. The sunroom is its own little world that needs to be shut down for the night. Surrounded on three sides by glass, all the vertical blinds need to be closed. The litter box is out there so that needs to be scooped. Gandy’s water bowls need to be filled and of course, he receives a nighttime snack. The lights and decorations on the mantel need to be turned off and the kitchen nightlight needs to be turned on. The reverse in the morning opens the house back up. As I am writing this, I’ve opened the house back up and am sitting here sipping my coffee with Gandy at my feet. Dad still hasn’t had his first cup of coffee and is probably in the back making his bed. It’s a quiet rhythm that I am enjoying.
The flip side to the quiet mornings at Dad’s are the mornings at our house. If you know my husband, you know that quiet is not in his vocabulary. Our honorary children sent their firstborn to our house for naps so that she could learn to sleep under any conditions, i.e., noise. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining and I’m not criticizing my husband at all. His extroverted personality is one of the things that I love about him, obviously. But even 40 years in (this September) his extroverted DNA wins out in the mornings, and he greets me with words (I don’t do words before coffee), hugs (ew), and activity (how dare you.) While I feel that I have somewhat adjusted to the not quiet mornings and no longer (usually) grumble about his boisterous morning greetings, he hasn’t skipped a beat in 40 years and if I were honest, I wouldn’t want him to.
So, yeah…staying at Dad’s for the week is good for me. There isn’t a lot of talking first thing in the morning and I’m getting some insight into Dad’s life without Mom. I suppose it will also be good to get back to the lake and to my boisterous, extroverted, huggy husband. And truly, after 40 years, I admit I’m pretty blessed he still wants to talk and hug, even if it is before my first sip of coffee.