My husband and son left early yesterday for a soccer tournament in San Diego. The noisy haste with which they departed left an unexpected stillness in its wake. Living the speedy dance of family life the weekends often pass in a blur and so I’ve spent quiet moments sitting on our balcony watching the rain as our dog gazes territorially at passers by and offers the odd ferocious bark.
While we are usually a tight knit unit its always beneficial when my husband and son snatch some extended time together for a couple of days. It’s an opportunity to talk without motherly or sisterly interference and also just to be together in a space outside of the normality dictated by daily routine. I know that my son will look back and remember these occasions; with only a few years left now until university beckons he already has one eye on the future and his life beyond.
My daughter and I settled into a weekend of companionable quiet; a painting marathon for her whilst I caught up, as is our weekly habit, with my brother on FaceTime. Wonderfully long chats where we cover everything and nothing. As it’s morning only in Los Angeles I feel strangely discombobulated whenever we say goodbye, having usually forgotten that I’m not sitting in a London living room whiling away the evening. I often think how much more challenging such distance would have been in the days where letters were the only form of communication. We spent time later in the day with a friend with whose cats my daughter is fascinated; accustomed to the antics of a straightforwardly boisterous American Pitbull she is intrigued by their feline behavior.
Yesterday dissolved into today with far less of a flourish than is customary. The apartment was oddly quiet and it was lovely to spend time in the morning at the Buddhist center where we did the customary Sunday morning practice of Chenrezik, the buddha of compassion. Now, as evening draws in and we sit awaiting the imminent arrival of our wanderers I remember how lucky we are to share time with one another. As the doorbell rings and my daughter springs up in excitement while the dog hurtles towards the door it is blindingly clear that the sanctuary of family is precious indeed.