April 05, 2004

Strangely Quiet

Melissa was gone most of last week. She went down to Florida with Matthew and her parents. Her grandmother has advanced Alzheimer’s, and she’s no longer able to take care of herself in her house, so they had to put her in a nursing home. It was a miserable few days for all involved, both from the stress and emotion of the situation and from Matthew’s tantrums. He IS two, and we understand that he’s going to have them, but being cooped up in a car for the 13-hour drive made it all worse.

Meanwhile, I had a strangely quiet house to contend with. The only sign so far that I’m starting to think like an adult (since I’m turning 30 tomorrow) was in how I dealt with this sudden lot of free time. Instead of planning to spend most of it drinking or gaming with my friends, I made up a list of chores around the house that needed to be done. Married men know this as the “Honey-Do” list (as in “Honey, Do this, Honey, Do that…”). Don’t get me wrong, there was some beer, PlayStation 2 and friends involved, but only for Friday night.

But it was the total quiet that unnerved me. There was such sadness in the absence of activity around the house. I have often thought that I should get more things done each week, and here I was getting LOTS of stuff done. But after this absence, I find that accomplishments are hollow without loved ones to share them with. Lesson learned: I will do my best to relish future “distractions” from my family.

The Aforementioned Friend stopped by for a visit and I told him “I miss Mel and Matthew. It’s so weird. All of their things are still here, but they are not. The house is dead silent, and I’m suddenly all by myself.”

“Welcome to MY world,” replied The Aforementioned Friend.

He was right, but Melissa and Matthew are only gone for four days, and his wife is never coming back. I can only take solace in the fact that he’s getting the divorce paperwork finalized this month, bringing much-needed closure to this crisis in his life.

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