I slept until 8 this morning. My husband made breakfast for the kids and took them to the bus, and then brought me coffee in bed. I rolled out of bed in time to meet a friend by 9. We talked about work for two hours. When I returned home my husband was getting out of the shower, having gone for a run and done the grocery shopping, and when he was dressed we walked a few blocks up to the Frick to see the Piero della Francesca show. It was incredible. We had sushi for lunch on 2nd Avenue, and afterwards went to the post office to mail a coat to his brother. When we walked up 70th street I said, This is my favorite kind of New York day.
This is not the usual New York day, however. On Saturday, Mads will take a flight back to Afghanistan. No more coffee in bed, no more sushi for lunch. I will return to bus stops, homework, negotiations and love songs... Handling the children alone for six more weeks. I dread it. It drains me. Etc.
But then, walking up 70th street, I remembered this little story I recently wrote to a friend, who was leaving her job for the children. She was conflicted, naturally---and I was sad too, because unless you have tons of money (and thus help) being a housewife has its share of rather un-glamorous days.
You see, I pick up the kids at the bus every day at 3:35pm on 1st Avenue and it's not a generally pleasant tour. It takes an hour of walking round-trip, and everyone (especially me) is tired and dragging at that time of day. Because I leave the apartment for the bus at 3pm, and attend to the children until bed, taking care of the children has limited my job options. And even though it's only a few hours at the end of the day, it’s weirdly exhausting. There's a lot of negotiating and patience required.
One day last year, when my daughter was 7, she got off the bus crying. She's a rather delightful child and rarely has any issues, so it was a strange moment. I bent down to her and she whispered that an older boy on the bus had spit on her. He was at the stop too, so we talked to the boy and to his indifferent mother. Nothing came of that. I comforted my daughter and we talked on the way home, and then we talked about other things, and soon she had let it go and me too. There wasn't much I could do, but also it wasn’t the end of the world.