Briefly, this summer, we were alone. Both kids were away at camp for two and a half weeks.
We were almost too busy to notice, but not quite. No one needed to be driven anywhere or suddenly discovered his or her soccer cleats (bathing suit, jeans) didn't fit anymore; nobody rejected a healthy home-cooked meal prepared according to rigorous nutritional guidelines in favour of Lipton's chicken noodle soup a la salt, nobody spent an hour in the shower or monopolized the DVD player night after night watching Smallville and refusing to share the obligatory glimpse of Tom Welling's six-pack.
There was more hot water, and more space; more movie-watching time, more time in general. Also a lot more quiet. A spooky amount of quiet. Which is strange because even when they are home, our kids aren't home all that much. But still.
Up and down our street people are having babies. Gosh, those babies are noisy, and insistent! They cling until they can toddle, then toddle until they fall down , then cry and cling again. Their parents are so burdened with buggies and diaper bags and toys and snacks they can barely move. By contrast, my kids grab a cell-phone and a house key and are out the door so fast I can barely get a kiss goodbye. And one day, too soon, they will take the rest of their stuff with them, and the house will not only be big, and quiet, it will be very very empty.
Luckily, not yet.