Home Alone


I haven’t recently posted for a few reasons. First, I didn’t want to write about being home alone until I actually wasn’t home alone anymore. Second, I have pneumonia.

See, what was supposed to happen this past week was that my husband and the girls would take off to Michigan for the week. I would paint, play around, watch movies, read, get organized, clean a lot.

What really happened was that I took two days to do the taxes, and found myself lying down, out of breath a lot.

This was not such a grand experiment.

First off: a week alone is a hella long time. When you’re feeling sick and pathetic and unable to get out in the world and do stuff, it’s even longer.

Second: I’m not sure my girls were ready for it. Victoria especially. Violet did great at summer camp, but seemed really upset to leave me last week, and told me on the phone that she planned to grab on to me and never let go when she returned. Victoria was homesick early on. I’m sorry to say that early reports indicate their behavior was not stellar on this trip, either, which pains me.

I did have some fun. I went to see Michelle Obama speak on Monday, and I’ve had two groups of friends over to help eat a spread of appetizers I made, which were fantastic if I do say so myself.

But my efforts to get lots done either pushed me over the edge to pneumonia or exacerbated what was already there. (I am inclined to think it the latter, given my the length of this annoying illness.)

Still, I can say very seriously that spending a week without my family really reminded me that I need them as much as they need me. Women aren’t supposed to be defined by their familial roles, I know, and yet I couldn’t escape the realization that if they didn’t make it back home, I would have a job, I would have social connections, but I would have no life. From the moment I open my eyes in the morning, and even throughout my dreams at night, I am thinking, planning, and doing for the family — when they are gone it’s easy to notice the constancy of these thoughts, because you feel a little silly peeking into the kids bedroom to make sure they’re asleep and — oops! — they’re not there!

Also, I had to kill a very large and disgusting bug, the biggest fly I’ve ever seen, without calling on my husband. 😉

Something about the election, the economic mess, and the absence of my family has brought me down to a simpler place. Cliche, cliche, I know, and yet even when things are bad there is something so comfortable and liberating about getting closer to reality.

But I should not strain toward profundity when I am on heavy drugs. I should go watch the last installment of the BBC Pride and Prejudice. I’ve watched it so many times, and every time I do it gets more thrilling. I’ve gotten to know these characters’ expressions and tones so well, so that the most restrained pursing of the lips, the tiniest glimmer of a smile speaks volumes to me.


Mr. Darcy awaits.



Filed under Oh Mother

7 responses to “Home Alone

  1. Oh! Poor you! How awful. K had pneumonia one year when R was at the MLA, far far away, and it took me 3 nights of her tossing and turning beside me to realize that she was really sick (and I was delirious from lack of sleep and not thinking coherently). That poor little body of hers was wracked.

    I had pneumonia once myself, long long ago when I was a careless treeplanter living in a tent in cold weather. And ever since I get horrible coughs when sick (I’m sick now too, yuck).

    Get better soon.

  2. I’m so sorry Shaun!! I hope you are better really soon!

    I can empathize as I am immobile for 4 weeks due to foot surgery! Totally useless…

    Enjoy Pride and Prejudice – gotta check that out –

  3. being sick is terrible, but an excuse to watch all of P&P again .. the last time i spent an entire sunday watching from start to finish, my 10yo watched with me – and he loved it!

  4. I’m sorry to hear you are so sick. I hope you recover fairly quickly.

  5. ((Hugs)) hope you feel better soon

  6. Oh I am so sorry!

    You can look on the bright side of your girls missing you so much. That intensity might wane when they get older. *sad face*

    OMG – Mr. Darcy… yum!

  7. I keep checking your blog to see if Mr Darcy is still here. That is SUCH a lovely photograph. I might have to find one of those for myself…

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