When my hands are free, my heart is free to wander.
To the ocean, to the poolside, for an hour’s walk down the beach.
When my hands are free, my free will is unweighted.
I can eat what I want when I want it, and go to bed either early or late, depending on what it is I wish.
When my hands are free, I don’t negotiate or compromise. My feet move at exactly the pace I wish them to.
There is no “stuff” to remember. No diapers, no wipes, no stuffed animals they promised me they would hold, no water bottles or shed socks.
I’m not tied down, to anyone or anything. Which means my one hand is free to hold his- and I remember to.
When my hands are free, my mind is too. It allows me to think clearly, thoughtfully, about the gift that is these seven days without children, seven days with only him by my side.
When my hands are free there is no tug. No distraction, no yanking at my leg, my shirt or my last nerve. There is only space for him, for me, and the warm tropical breeze. And that is just enough.
There is room for silence, between the lapses of crashing cresting ocean waves.
When my hands are free, my left hip is free, and my chest is open, there is space for me to give of my love freely and fairly. There is space for our marriage.
And there always is. There has always been us. But here it’s not muddled by the need to micromanage or time manage or the necessity to pay the bills.
Here there is just time. And he and I. Open and available to fill it as we see fit, without guilt or shame or a second thought.
Because love never has and never will be a problem for us. He is my person. But it’s the nagging endless details of life that squish themselves between us, alongside grubby fingers and whining mouths, whom seem to take precedent.
Our marriage is not always loud enough to compete.
And so, as the snow continues to fall and my heart continues to pound harder, lifting shovel loads of snow for the 9000th time today, I’m looking back on our week in the sunshine.
Back to when my heart beat on butterflies’ wings again.
Back to when my left hand held a cold drink, my right hand his calloused hand, and my cheek reserved a spot on his left shoulder.
As he carves snow caves and wipes runny noses and passes another screaming child to me, I’ll still remember.
For a long while I’ll look back on our seven days in the sunshine, smile, and be grateful. I’ll remember how it gutted me, how it hurt to be away. But then I’ll remember the hardest things are often the right things, and we are worth it.
I’ll remember to keep us loud, too.
Because for seven whole days my hands were free. And I wasn’t forgetting anything, and that felt good.