Our daughter was in the hospital for several days this week, and so my husband and I took caretaking shifts with each child. I was with Sunboy at night and at the hospital with Flowergirl during the day; he took the opposite shift. Due to quarantining restrictions, Sunboy was not allowed to be in Flowergirls’ hospital room. We developed a quick method for swapping roles and children while our son waited in the hospital hallway within eye’s view. This meant that my interactions with my husband were limited to medical updates during the time she was in the hospital. We exchanged statistics about her feeding, sleeping and current medical condition, and then we separated until the next shift change.
When I arrived home with Sunboy each evening, I took note of any evidence proving that my husband had been at our house in my absence.
- There was an empty glass in front of his chair at the dining room table.
- Mail had been brought in.
- The clothes washer had the lid left open, and the damp clothes within were starting to dry and (to my nose) smell, so I started the clothes re-washing.
- The cat food had been filled.
- A light that I rarely use was left on.
- A new fork had found its way into the sink.
- Gift bags from a birthday party we missed had appeared on the kitchen counter.
- A belt was stretched across the bed.
Only he would do these things, these helpful and crazy-making things. They are a window into his mind, the echo that follows him. The echos reverberate off the walls of this house after he has left it.
I missed my husband. I wanted my family together again.
After Flowergirl’s first night in the hospital, Sunboy asked me how well I slept. Trying not to worry him, I say not too well but only because mommies like it when everyone is home where they’re supposed to be.
Sunboy said to me tonight after bedtime stories, “I’ll bet you will sleep well tonight, Mommy.” He’s right. I think I will.