Enjoying a night home alone

“So, what do you want to do?”

When my wife asked me this question, the possibilities were greatly expanded for the next few days. The boy was at camp until the weekend, and the girl had left for two weeks in China that morning. We were home alone.

The night before the boy left, he asked, “Will you miss me?”

“Yes,” I assured him. “We will miss you.”

That answer was true. I am glad he did not ask, “Are you sad that I will be gone for the week?” The answer to that would have required much more nuance.

The girl did not ask. Displaying the confidence of the teen years, she told us, “You’re going to miss me while I’m gone.”

What would we do with these few evenings home alone? There were several things I knew we would NOT do. We would not have hot dogs or chicken nuggets for supper. We would not watch anything involving super heroes or teenage romance on television. We would not talk about fashion trends or the latest add-on for an internet-based video game. We would not have to search to find the telephone or the remote controls.

“I don’t know,” I responded. “The options seem limitless.”

As I pondered the question, I gave my wife a kiss. Something was missing. There were no children screaming, “Gross, do you guys have to do that in front of us?”

I think there is something genetically instilled in children that causes the gag reflex when they see their parents showing affection to one another. Affection can lead to more children. More children means more competition for things like food and control of the television remote.

We dished up our curry, and made our way to the family room to watch whatever we wanted to watch. There was something different about the curry. It was spicier than normal. It tasted the way adults like curry to taste. No hot pepper oil was needed. We turned on a drama and watched it without anyone saying, “This is boring,” or asking, “What’s going to happen next?”

We did comment that we missed the children a couple times. When the cat came in to remind us that, having not been fed since morning, he was near starvation, we noted that we missed having a child to feed the cat. When we were finished eating, and surveyed the dishes, I asked, “Where is the staff?”

The truth is I do miss the children when they are gone, not just because we can get them to feed the cat or clean the kitchen, but because I genuinely enjoy them. It is also true that I enjoy being home alone with my wife. I enjoy having conversations that are not interrupted by, “So what are you guys talking about?” I enjoy the opportunity to focus my attention on the one I chose to be with as long as we both shall live.

RJ Johnson

I have been a priest for 16 years.  I spent the first four years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, six years on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, before becoming the pastor at Advent Episcopal Church in Westlake in 2010.  If anyone would find it interesting I have a son and daughter, which I refer to as a matched set, a wife, a dog, and a cat.

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Volume 7, Issue 14, Posted 9:13 AM, 07.21.2015