Mostly, I’ve gotten used to Saturday nights with a book or some work, cooking for one, resigned myself to being the only person that feeds the cats and walks Sophie the Dog who Loves Summer.

I have teenagers.

It’s good they have friends and places to go and that, more often than not, friends parents to drive them. I’m grateful.

I enjoy nibbling on cereal while reading a book, skipping to the gym without a thought of what’s left in the oven, listening to the music really loud without someone pointing out that I’m a hypocrite because that someone is always asked to turn down his really loud music. I pay the mortgage, and I have better taste.

I’m prepared for what comes next- the leaving, the migration out into the world and the cost of college. (Emotionally, I’m think I’m prepared for the cost of college. Financially, not even close.)

Mostly.

But tonight there’s snow and wind and dire warnings from the weatherman.
I roasted a turkey and found the gloves and dusted off the shovel.
They haven’t been home.

I ate a leg while I played candy crush. I listened Hamilton- the new hip hop musical everyone’s talking about and read the reviews because I couldn’t decide how much I liked it.
A lot.

I miss them more than anything and as soon as one of them walks in the door I’ll say something about laundry or homework or why are you late because I’m mad they haven’t missed me at all.

I need to start writing a novel, take up adult coloring, (yeah, that’ll happen. I didn’t color when I was 3) or adopt a dog that likes cold weather.

A few flakes- my heart feels as hollow as the house.

This just in- They are on the way home.

Tomorrow, there will be pancakes and arguments about who loads the dishwasher.

Tonight, I’m going to let the clean clothes stay on the stairs and the boots stay in the hall.

It’s the first snowstorm of 2016 and they’re on their way home.

I’d make cocoa but I think that would scare them away, they respond to kind gestures like wild deer, they scatter out the backdoor or upstairs to their rooms with body language that reads- what do you want from me? It is not currently in my nature to spend time with you.

So I will just welcome them home, and brush their hair out of their eyes, and ask them if they’d like me to throw their clothes in the dryer.

Sometimes bad weather makes the world feel lonely, don’t you think?


Stay warm.

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Tonight was all about dogs, daughters and dads.

I took Sophie the sweetest and a puppy named Gunner to Turners Pond for a ramble under the moon.

Katy and a friend followed behind, i don’t know if they agreed to come along because Katy is kind, and I spend a lot of time alone walking the dog. Or if the simple fact that the wind had stopped and the moonlit fooled her into thinking it was warmer than it was- I don’t know.

Ahead, the dogs and I ran, and slowed and sniffed (they sniffed, I watched them sniff and tried not to think about what they were sniffing) and ran and jogged and trotted and stopped.

I was listening to Neil Diamond.

I grew up listening to Neil Diamond. My dad died when I was 20, yet when I put the headphones in my ears, and put on Cracklin Rosie, and turned it UP, I could hear Dad’s voice, singing along. There was the most subtle hint of the South in his voice, and he stayed right on key.

So I walked around the pond five times. I was watching the dogs, running alongside the dogs, waiting for the dogs.

I was catching little pieces of Katy and her friend’s conversation. They are 12 year old girls and they do not giggle. At least not when I’m within earshot. I think they were discussing a science test, or how Katy never lets the power go below 1% on her phone, or what kind of dog they want when they grow up. Twelve year old girls, smart 12 year old girls, aren’t the most interesting subjects for eavesdropping.

Maybe they were speaking in code.

And right next to me, inside my head, was my dad. He was singing alongside Neil Diamond, and actually sounded better than the pop star. I was listening to one of more recent albums, way after Love on the Rocks.

I thought about switching to one of the records Dad and I used to listen to- Tap Root Manuscript, or Stones, so I could remember what Mr. Diamond sounded like in his prime.

But I wasn’t listening to “Solitary Man” or “Sweet Caroline”. I was remembering my dad’s voice, how he used to always sing “Something” by the Beatles in the shower leave records all over the dining room table, how proud he looked while he watched me play my flute and the night he spent four hours listening to the “Wild and Innocent and the EStreet Shuffle” in attempt to try to understand what I liked about Bruce Spring. “Julie, he can’t sing. I mean, really, he can’t sing.”

I hadn’t remembered my father’s voice for a long time until tonight.

Dogs, Daughters and Dad.

The last song I listened to was “Thank The Lord for the Night Time.” Dad always liked that song, I think it was pretty much his party anthem.

My wild nights are home with kids, or at the gym, or following Sophia around with a bag in my hand.

But I am my father’s daughter. I may go to bed early by his standards, but I never wake up until after dark.

That’s when I’m wide awake. That’s when I make time to listen.