40 days. 40 days seems like a long time. In the story of Noah, the flood lasted 40 days. Moses was on the mountain for 40 days to receive the 10 Commandments. Lent lasts for 40 days. Mohammad spent 40 days fasting in a cave. And, 40 is the highest number counted in Sesame Street. Depending on the event, 40 days can seem like a LO-O-O-ONG time. I have not seen either of my daughters for that long. This has been the longest we have been separated from our children. Though we have, for the most part, been busy, we are about to mark our 40th day as empty nesters. The house is quiet (I can only make so much noise by myself). The house is empty feeling (I get it, empty nest). The house, when either Debbie and are home alone for any period of time, is lonely. Yes, we talk, text and Facetime; but it is not the same as seeing, hugging and spending time together.
You do not really know how you will feel until the time comes. Some friends loved it when the kids were away, as it gave them a newfound freedom where they did not have either to worry about the kiddies back home, nor feel guilty for not including them on an adventure. Other friends warned us how bad it was to have them away. While I enjoy the extra time that Debbie and I have together; the basic truth is that I miss our daughters, their company, their sense of humor (even if it is at my expense) and their insights.
Finally, after 40 days…you could feel the anticipation in the car driving up to Providence. We pulled in behind Bec’s dorm and were greeted by Bec running to see us. Oh, how happy we were to hold our daughter. Gab still had classes, and we knew she would meet us at dinner. When she arrived, I went out to bring her into the restaurant (OK, I could not wait). After 40 days, my little family was back together! It was great to see the girls, hear their stories, laugh and spend time together as if no time had passed since we were last together. Gab is doing well with her studies, playing music, involvement in teaching and is on track for N-12 certification. Bec has adapted to school life, has made some good friends and (we did ask) is getting good grades in her classes. Our girls are growing up! By Sunday, we caught up, did some shopping and ate some good meals (including a brunch where we wore our pajamas). The end of the weekend, however, came too fast. Gab headed back to school, Bec went off to paint pumpkins, and Debbie and I were left in the car wishing we could have spent more time together.