In Praise of an Absent Husband

This morning I woke with my first feeling of missing Tony. This is particularly well-timed because tomorrow I fly to London, where he arrived yesterday and is currently soaking up the company of his beloved big sister.

Each set of people I have visited in Germany has had such a difference cadence. Each cadence was made more rich because Tony was not here.

With my daughter, I oculd not have been so focused on her, which we both really needed and enjoyed. When Tony and I first started courting, it was not easy on my daughter. She did not enjoy sharing me with someone else. She has gotten over this jealousy but just as I did not want to compete with any of her other (three) mothers on this visit, neither would it have been particularly pleasant for her to have to compete for my attention.

At C. and P.’s, the constant need for translation, not only into English, but also of stories and memories, would have been much-too-much third-wheel. We would have spent time explaining who was who, what was what, where was where; though that likely would have had its enjoyable, and possibly comic, moments, it would have made shallow the recollection and connection.

And here, at the home of my best friend of so long ago? Well, it would be like Tony doing the polka while we were attempting to salsa. Completely wrong rhythm.

There are young children here, two of them, who have been a joy to play with, to make laugh, to read aloud, to lead into delight, to pick cherries with in their own backyard and strawberries nearby. These children have made amazing advances in their capacities due to the amazing and nurturing universe their parents have created around them, due to severe disabilities they have had since birth.

Tony is a good man, but it is my understanding that adjusting one’s life style to young children is something of the past for him. Now that his own children are adults and mine are teenagers, he has little inclination to do otherwise. I, on the other hand, carry brightly-colored toys in my purse in case I run into random children who might benefit. This does not make me a better person, just better adapted to a visit at my dear friends’ house.

In sum, I must say I am looking forward to the next leg of my journey, accompanied by my beloved and reflecting our life together: his book reading tomorrow night at the London Shambhala Center, high tea at an art gallery the next day, and MacBeth at the Globe later in the week (high praise to big sister for finding tickets when it was sold out). All that is true, and…

…let us praise a (temporarily) absent husband.

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