My wife left me today.
If you read the previous blog post, of course, you know that she will be back Friday evening. Then she will leave again on Sunday and return the following Friday. During the weekdays of the next four weeks, Eileen will be staying at the house of Josefina's godmother, a good friend of ours, who lives near the campus of Loyola University in Baltimore. The three intensive courses she is taking, along with "a paper" (due in October) is all she needs to add a Masters of Education to her already-obtained AMI Montessori teacher certification.
For weekdays over the next four weeks, its just me and the kids!
Will we survive?
I think so. We did it last year, over a longer period of time. The picture above is old; Josefina in particular is much older and a little bigger now. Everyone is bigger, in fact. And I have already noticed that this creates a different dynamic.
These kids have little wills of their own. In many ways, that's good. Two years ago, it felt more like a bird's nest, in which I had to improvise maternal feathers to keep the chicks who surrounded me warm (a lot of the feathers were videos). Today, the kids seem more self-possessed in what they do; they have their own things that they continue to pursue even though Mommy is not here. When Mommy left this afternoon, no one even cried.
Also the kids' nurturing instincts toward Josefina are much more developed and she is more mature and responsive. This is the first time that Josefina can be, at least in some respects, "one of the gang." She can hang out with the girls and take interest, at least, in their activities. She can go outside and play with them. Right now John Paul and I are watching the Nationals lose a baseball game, and the girls are inside doing...something. I know they're not getting into trouble. They're good kids.
So that means everything runs smoothly, right. Heh heh. Not quite.
As I said, these kids have little wills of their own. That means they are more apt to disagree with one another and argue, especially now that the Police Chief is gone. How does a Dad handle disputes between girls? Each has a different interpretation of "what Mommy said." Usually, "what Mommy said" is good policy, and I know that if I use my executive authority to change it, there will probably be further problems down the road. But what did Mommy say?
Oh and Josefina gets bored. Without Mommy, I am her default perch. She's on my lap now, asking me to type some "J"s. Okay, do you want to see some Js? JJJJJJJJJJJJJ JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ. "Make a lot of Js and don't erase them!" she says. Josefina loves the letter "J" because she knows it's "her" letter.
Someone has whisked her away. I really need to finish this scatterbrained blog entry.
A household is certainly designed to have a Father and a Mother. We can manage for this time, though, because by now we understand (at various levels and in our own ways) that what Mommy is doing is part of our mission as a family. We are all working together to make this happen; we are participating in a common vocation, a design of God for our family that is meant to enrich all of us and make us a common witness to God's consistent, providential love in the midst of all our difficulties and joys. Our family is a sign of the truth that God has a plan, that His wisdom brings good fruits from out of our trials and even our weaknesses, in the measure that we abandon ourselves to Him and trust in Him.
I feel like we've been put into a position where we can hardly choose otherwise than to trust in Him. If you've read my book () you understand what I mean. I can only say, "Lord, your ways are 'strange' to me, but to whom else can I go? You have proven that You are the source of life, and that the meaning of reality becomes clear only through You. All I can do is place myself and my family in Your hands. I trust in You."