Kieren, Dayden and Kiersi came to spend the afternoon, after we all ate brunch with Grandad and Mary Liz at the assisted living center in New Castle. The kids and I all piled into the van and drove home, singing Christmas songs in a silly way, especially the ones by B-B-B-Bing.
My husband just left with Meelyn and Aisling to take them home and the house seems very empty.
As I was kind of feeling out this empty feeling, I realized something. Since I am normally a person who doesn't mind being the only person in the house, I was surprised that I felt a little lonely, especially since they've only been gone for ten minutes as I type this.
What I realized was this: I can say that I invite the kids over to give Pat and Angie a break, because they are so good and generous to us and taking their kids for the day or the afternoon is one way to repay them for their many kindnesses. And I can say that I have my nephews and niece over because it is good for all the cousins to be fond friends with one another. And those things are both true.
But the biggest reason why I like to have the boys (and now Kiersi) here at my house on Sunday afternoons -- or all day during the summer, as many days as they want to come -- is because I love them and it makes me happy when they're here. I'm glad as soon as they walk in the door and I miss them when they leave. It's pure selfishness, the desire I have to be with my nephews and niece.
I hesitate to relate this next story because it may give away the level of committment I have to my housekeeping (think "shallow puddle" and you will have adequately plumbed that depth), but last August, the last day Dayden and Kieren were here before school started again, Dayden left a pile of action figures in a pile near my husband's dresser. He'd been playing up in my room when I called upstairs to tell him his dad was here to pick him up and he was sweet enough to put them all in a heap.
I saw the heap of toys when I went up to bed that night and got the Rubbermaid storage box that the action figures usually live in, but I stopped with one of them in my hand, poised for the drop. Instead of putting it back in the plastic box, I dropped it back on the pile with the rest of of the things and just left it. I couldn't find the heart to pick them up and put them away, because it made it such a certainty that Dayden wouldn't be coming back soon. And the certainty made my heart hurt.
So I left them. And they're still sitting there, months later, waiting for Dayden every time he comes over. I imagine they'll still be there next May, perhaps, when the last day of school comes along and they come over for the first time to spend the day -- when we're all delirious with freedom and ready to go to the pool.
This is a kind of selfishness I think is a good thing to cultivate in my life.
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