Last autumn Jenny and Elena spent time away, providing an adult presence at Jenny’s mother’s house while Nancy and Kevin were on vacation. That trip was so successful that they scheduled another one to visit family on the west coast, again asking Jenny and Elena to come run the household. They have been there since last week, while I have only Jewel for company here. Jewel does her best to keep the volume up, but she just can’t match Elena’s energy.

The rhythm of life is abruptly different without them around. Jenny left a well-stocked fridge and freezer, which I’m working to empty. That gives me extra bonus time that I don’t have to spend on dinner. In turn, I’ve had time to work on projects that otherwise would have continued to languish neglected. Time still passes so quickly, and my overall productivity hasn’t matched my aspirations. I know that I’m expending some effort, because at night I’ve been falling asleep quickly and sleeping soundly; when I wake up, the covers on Jenny’s side of the bed are hardly disturbed.

Although I miss Jenny and Elena terribly, I appreciate the technology that keeps us close. I hooked my old video camera to the computer so it could run FaceTime, allowing me to video chat with them. I’ve especially enjoyed reading bedtime stories to them. One night she asked for Goodnight Moon, which I read. The next night she asked for a repeat performance, but I wanted to give her other options and suggested Barnyard Dance and The Paper Bag Princess instead. She continued to insist on Goodnight Moon, but after that one, she wanted to read the other two also. I tried to play dumb and say I didn’t have them, but she didn’t buy it. Needless to say, I eventually gave in and read the other two books.

Last night we didn’t get to see each other over the computer. I went into Baltimore–first I had for dinner with a good friend, with whom it was really nice to catch up. Afterwards I attended my father’s symphonic band concert at the MENC Eastern Division Conference. It was a fantastic performance, with tremendous energy. We had a great view of the lone oboist, and could tell that she was giving everything she had to the music. A few of the pieces featured guest soloists, including one who, according to the program, is one of the most prolific and accomplished euphonium players in the world. He gave a virtuoso performance–I don’t think I can imagine anyone playing the euphonium with more panache and skill.

I can’t wait for Jenny and Elena to return next week. I wish they had been able to attend the concert. Elena would have been completely mesmerized. Luckily, there will be more concerts this spring which we can attend together.


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