When we “down-sized” about 4 years ago, it was hard to get used to the size of this house. Don’t get me wrong; I really like the floor plan and the openness of it. It’s just that we were moving into a house that had 1000 less square feet. There were fewer rooms and fewer amenities. What I liked best was there was a small yard. (I still like that). It took a while for us to get used to it, but we did. It is a great house, and we have been very happy here. But now this house seems huge. I was walking around the other night, and I realized that I am all alone here most of the time. It seemed cavernous as I walked around that night. Today I discovered another fact. It takes a lot of time to get it clean.
Yesterday the last of the kids left. Lisa and the girls went back to Mobile. So today I began the daunting task of stripping the beds, washing sheets, drying sheets….all that you do to restore a house when company is gone. I was blessed to have help from John and Biddie. They cam over and we (really them) cleaned the bathrooms, vacuumed the whole house, mopped the floors using a new fangled “Swiffer” that Julia had hidden deep in the recess of her cleaning products. You know, the ones I didn’t even know existed. It’s really not my fault that I don’t know how to do all this and am now learning in a trial by fire. You see, I was blessed to be married to someone who kept an immaculate home. Most of the time it was spotless. She liked it that way, and loved to keep it that way. Whenever I would attempt to help, she would assign me another task. It was probably because I didn’t perform the tasks to her standards. I learned many years ago that when she got in a “cleaning mode” to get out of the way., preferably out of sight. I didn’t mind, she liked to do it, and I didn’t. It was easy.
It was also easy to take for granted all that she did around the house. I think that I was a pretty good husband, and a good partner. I helped in the kitchen, took out the trash and worked in the yard. I also helped make the beds and did other things. I figured I did about 40% of the work. I believe I was way off. After what I’ve seen these past few days, I probably did 15%. I don’t know how women do it. I think of single parents, male or female, and my hat goes off to them. My eyes have definitely been opened , and I realize how much Julia loved me and our kids. One of her love languages was service. She loved to do things for others. I think she was blessed as much helping as the others were in receiving. I really do miss her. I was just talking to one of my daughters. I said I am totally surrounded by her here. It’s like she could be in the next room sewing or reading. But she’s not. I still enjoy the comfort of the “nest” that she made for us. My goal is to keep it like she would as much as I can. I will cut myself some slack because I’m new at this, and my definition of clean has never been as tight as hers.
I went out tonight. It was fun, but still lonely. There is a kind of loneliness that is just there. There is a sort of emptiness that I feel now. It doesn’t matter where I am or who I’m with, if I stop and think, it’s there. I’m beginning to realize that this emptiness is part of the new “normal”. I’m sure I’ll talk more about this as it develops. 24 is back, and going great. Jack Bauer is doing his best, and I know we can all sleep safer. Speaking of sleep, I think that’s where I’m headed.