Am I Alone When They Are Gone?

Elaine Alguire Single/Step Parent

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The house sits quiet except for the white noise from the air conditioner and the fridge as it hums and spits out ice cubes. I hear the doves out the back window and I look for them through the dirty panes. They coo back and forth to one another from the lush greenery between my home and the one on the next street. Their chorus is comfortingly familiar.

Today, my children are with their father, instead of me. They are with him in the new home that he has created for himself, and them, separate from me. This is our new normal. These days, when they are absent and it is so very quiet here, I can only enjoy it for so long before I remember that something is very “off.”

When they are here it’s loud and messy: there are skirmishes over what to play or watch and they eat nearly everything in the pantry.

When they are gone, the house is mostly clean, their bed sheets remain the way they left them the morning before they departed and I can actually take a phone call that lasts more than five minutes.

So they are gone – and I eat whatever I want and drink whatever I want and tell the dog, “Hey, it’s just you and me kid.” I may hear from them if one of them needs something, like a question answered or a possession that was forgotten in the trade-off. Or if by chance, any of them miss me for a prolonged moment.

Otherwise, it’s me and my thoughts and this laptop and the t.v. I read, I have friends over, I hit up the coffee shop, and as I sip my caramel-colored cup of coffee I fervently type my words out on the screen. I spill out all my thoughts and let them sit for me to process.

I go over things in my mind again and again and number my regrets and woes– I realize this is a pointless exercise, the past cannot be undone. I have to live for today and for the children that of course, I was meant to have. I know that I was created to create them. They cancel out all of the bad.

The laundry I still do for them, the toys that scatter the floor and the fact that I buy their favorite snacks for their return, proves that they will be back. And even though I am alone when they are gone, I am never without them completely because I always carry them in my prayers and my heart; for they are the parts of me that make it beat the most.



About the Author

Elaine Alguire

Elaine Alguire is an uprooted Texan living in Cajun country with her three amazing kids. When not writing or photographing her kids or other people, she is blogging at , or posting pics on .

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