“Mom, do you ever get lonely when Dad leaves and we’re all at school?” asks Link.
I glance at him in the rear view mirror. In a few moments we’ll be at the school and I’ll drop him off along with his two younger siblings.
“Sometimes.” I answer “But other times I am glad to have the house to myself.” More often the latter than the former, but I am not yet sure why we are having this conversation and I do not want to make my son feel unwanted.
“Oh.” Says Link.
“I remember a time when you left me and Patch alone together. It was a little scary.” Interjects Gleek.
“Yeah.” adds Patch.
I smile a little. They were only alone for about 10 minutes while I ran to pick up Link from school on a day that they were home from school sick.
My children live in a very different world than I do. They are sheltered, protected. For all of their young lives there has been a larger person nearby to whom they could turn in times of distress. They don’t get to be home alone until they are much older, as Link is older. He is old enough to stay home by himself. He is old enough to think about what Mom does while he is gone at school, and to wonder what my experience is like. “Home alone” is delightful for me. I rejoice in the freedom to choose my pursuits without interruption. For my children, being home alone is a frightening responsibility. The sheltering cover is removed and they feel exposed.
“I just thought you would be lonely.” said Link.
“I like to have the house to myself for awhile, but then I am glad to have everyone come home.” I answer, even though he has not really asked me a question this time.
Link nods and we arrive at school. Three kids climb out through the front passenger side door since the sliding door is unendingly broken. Someday I’ll take it in to be fixed, but today I’m glad that I can give each of my kids a hug as they climb past me. They are off to have their adventures at school. I’m headed home to be alone so that I can be glad when they return.