The silence that accompanied the gradual rolling down of the garage doors was loud. I stepped into the peaceful expanse of my living room and took stock. The tables were clear, the documents filed away. The kitchen counters gleamed and not a vessel was out-of-place. I walked upstairs lost in thought. Unpacking, my mind was in a whirl. Just a week back I had stepped out two heavy bags in hand off to spend a week with my sister and baby niece. I had left home jittery with nervousness. As I boarded the flight, my mind went over mental checklists. Recipes? Check. Paired clothes for the kids? Check. Food to last a couple of days? Check. I had done all I could before leaving two Pre-K kids with their dad for one whole week. Would they survive? More importantly, would I survive?
Survive they did and so did I. The ordered row of towels in my closet bore testimony to that. Every thing in its place. Comforters folded down, pillows plumped and set. No clothes strewn on the floor. The kitchen sink empty. Dishwasher done.
The one week I had been away, life had gone on. As it always did. There were no crises. No imagined disasters. No frantic calls for help. Nothing. As much as I had believed our life was well oiled because of how much weight I pulled in the home, this week was a wake up call. Saathi pulled double duty and did it with elan. The girls adjusted to waking early and having only daddy to annoy. They thrived in the attention that they got. Friends popped in to play with them. They got to go to the park more often than they did when I was home. Life was good!
I sat down to work and realized that the week that had gone past had been a milestone. A myth buster of sorts. I smiled to myself as I realized what this meant for me. More such trips perhaps? It also meant renewed respect for my spouse. A seismic shift in how I viewed the balance in our home and a rather profound realization that life does go on. With or without me. It feels liberating and terrifying all at once.