The girls were well enough to go to school today. The entire time I was getting them ready I was feeling something. Was I getting sick too? Too much coffee? Need to eat? I said good-bye and watched them walk up the driveway with Erik and my eyes filled with tears. I felt actual, physical pain in my heart. I closed the door and wondered around my filthy house. Safa is napping. A quite house. The very thing I've been waiting for. The thing that rarely happens. And so now I have it and all I feel is lonely. And not lonely because I'm alone. I love being alone. Lonely because my girls are gone. Lonely for them and their silliness and their voices. Sometime, later today, when they are back home I will forget having felt this way. I will feel overwhelmed and tired and someone will cough in my face. Do I possess the self-awareness to stop and at least remember this moment? I think I do. Will it open my heart and draw a compassionate, measured response in the face of whatever I'm in the face of? We'll see. What I feel right now, as I sit in a quiet house with a heavy heart is this: I am tethered to my children. And they to me. And their distance is a reminder of that tether. It is long and it is strong.