Greetings from an Empty House

I’m alone in our house for the first time since I “officially” moved in. It’s only been a few months of building our routine together, but I can feel the difference of being alone already. It’s freeing and strange and lonely, all at the same time.

Is this what happens when you start to really live with someone? The house feels a little too empty, and I realize there are all kinds of things I can’t reach without Jimmy’s help, and I can’t read him the great passage from the book I’m reading.

I’ve always been one to embrace solitude and  independence. I like the quiet, my “me” time, and refuel by taking a hot bath with no interruptions. In many ways, I like to be left alone. However, for the past three months, I’ve had someone else to meet me after my alone time: when I get home from work, when I come downstairs, when I get back from the gym.  There’s something to be said for being greeted at the door. I have Arthur (my dog), of course, who does an amazing greet. I think that’s what I miss the most this weekend from Jimmy though: his greet.

Excuse the cliché, but absence does make the heart grow fonder, yet it also gives the mind time to reflect. As Jimmy and I enter into our last two months of engagement, I want to remember this sweet time in our lives and how we greet one another after a long day of work or pleasure. I hope we will always meet each other at the front door with a question about our day or night (I am teaching nights now). Or sometimes call from the kitchen because we’re busy at the stove. Some days we simply kiss and say, “I need a few minutes alone,” and we give those moments to each other (we’re both introverts, thank goodness).

Now that I’ve had time to think about it, our greets are really important in determining the direction of the rest of our night. We begin discussions there. We read each others’ emotions. Some synonyms for greet or to greet are “to be received in a specific way, to recognize, respond, and to communicate.” This very well could also be the definition for how to have a successful relationship. Don’t we all want our partners to communicate with us in a specific way and recognize us?

All of the family sitcoms from The Brady Bunch to The Cosby Show featured the act of greeting every show, especially The Cosby Show, from the grandparents to Bud to Claire arriving home from the office. They had an insane amount of company. Those Huxtables were warm people. I always secretly wanted to be Rudy.

Taking those few moments to pause and see each other after another day has passed is important. Gretchen Rubin in her Happiness Project blog uses the saying, “the days are long, but the years are short” in reference to parenting, but it also applies here. Marriage is long, “a marathon,” as Julianne Moore says in The Kids Are All Right, so we need to keep looking at each other, talking, and making the small efforts like walking to that door and opening it for one another.

There’s something to be said for feeling welcomed into your own home. It’s simple and wonderful. We could all take some guidance from our dogs.

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3 thoughts on “Greetings from an Empty House

  1. I’ve found over the years that when my marriage is going great, we run to the door to meet each other. When it’s going not great, the best we do is a “hey” shouted out from a random room of the house. They say that young children look at their parent’s face when the parent enters the room because the child is looking for the recognition of “I am loved.” I think it’s more than young children who do that.

    • Thanks. There is always an ebb and flow in relationships. We are definitely looking for acceptance from the ones we love. Honest guidance you give, Mrs. Levine.

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