After two weeks of lots of activity and chatter, my home is quiet once more. My cousins returned home, overseas, on Sunday and they left me with great memories and a gaping silence. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up the pace of activity needed to show them a good time and, more importantly, to occupy the attention span of a six-year-old, while still managing to take care of my health, but I somehow managed to do it; and I had fun in the process. Now that they’ve left, my home feels oddly still and quiet, unlike it never has before. To tell the truth I started missing them before they left for the airport.
I didn’t know that having constant company could be so good for my health – emotionally and physically. While my cousins were here, I had a few days of terribly intense pain, but because I wasn’t alone with it, I think I was able to cope better with it than I usually do. I had the foresight to plan rest days in between activity days that involved taking them out to see city sights and some attractions that took us out of the city for the day. Although those days were hard, not missing any pain medication doses and the distraction of chatter and laughter, helped me deal with all the movement and long drives. I also took full advantage of the days that I scheduled for rest, whether it was sleeping in or taking afternoon naps, that my body made it clear I needed – and still do need.
Surprisingly, I was able to cook many of our meals, which I did with pleasure. I think I might have forgotten how much I enjoy cooking for people these past few years while I’ve been ill and, at times, barely able to cook for myself. My cousin was a big help in the kitchen, doing the after-dinner cleanup and helping with some of the prep when I needed it. I don’t think I would have been able to do as much for as many days, if she hadn’t been so supportive. I didn’t even mind getting up early some mornings to make breakfast for my finicky youngest guest, who was very particular about what she would eat for which meals, and how precisely some items had to be prepared. Children’s food preferences don’t always make sense, but I was thrilled when we finally hit on a few items that became acceptable daily staples for her.
Not everything went smoothly for the visit, but nothing ever does in life. They were able to connect with some other family and meet some of my close friends, but most of the 14-day visit was just the three of us. The only hiccups were due to bad weather (rain or extreme heat) that kept us indoors, the odd event not proceeding as planned, or my body making it impossible for me to do much. There were also playdates that never materialized with the children and grandchildren of friends and family, which I had organized in advance to make sure my cousin’s daughter had company close to her age as often as possible to play with, but it was hard getting everyone’s schedules to sync up with so much happening every day.
With all that activity going on, I didn’t have any time for the anxiety that had gripped me ahead of their arrival to set in again. I also didn’t have much time to myself to do much of the creative things I usually spend my time doing. Before they arrived, I bought my cousin’s little girl crayons, pencils, and markers, and matching sketchbooks for the two of us, thinking that would be a clever way to get us to do something together. Until yesterday, I didn’t drawn a single line in my sketchbook. There was so much activity to plan, whether it was our meals or what attraction or event I had planned for us to do – and I desperately needed the rest days in between – that drawing or doing anything creative was impossible. My cousin’s little girl, however, had plenty of time to play and draw, so my refrigerator is now covered in drawings and handmade birthday cards for which I am truly grateful. When I look at them, my home feels a little less quiet because their bright colours evoke memories of laughter and good company.