The snow and ice pounded my hotel window last night. What looks like a winter wonderland actually sounds like an aggressive shudder of cold and misery.
I’m in Maine and this is a Nor’easter, the most violent of the storms in the final throes of winter.
It’s not hard to imagine the depth of desperation a storm such as this could dig. Isolated, stranded, freezing, scared.
But the people here go on about life cheerfully and diligently. They warn us to be careful on the ice and cautious on the roads. They don’t suggest we’ll never leave the hotel, our flights will be canceled, we’ll need an emergency escape plan.
Life here has learned to adapt to the weather. They say spring finally comes in May. I tell them it was 70 degrees in Columbia yesterday. They just smile.
The storm puts me in mind of home.
My most creative work allows me to stay at home in my jammies, meet the school bus at 3, have dinner made and chores done.
But my most lucrative work requires travel.
This week Charlie and Hollie have had to go about their routine without me to piece their lives together. Without me to fill in the gaps.
They’ve had some help which is awesome. Two years ago we didn’t have the network in Columbia to enable me to travel, but we’ve sown the seeds and can now count on several parties to assist.
I like travel. I like being in Maine. Even in the Nor’easter.
I like seeing new places, meeting new people, and forcing the kind of adaption at home that my absence requires.
I like seeing Charlie and Hollie over Skype, the way they are connected in their survival mission. The way they tease one another for not doing things the way Mom would have done them.
I feel strongly that they should have a life together which doesn’t include me.
I feel strongly that they should be independent of me and of one another.
In our solitude we can develop strength. That strength is much easier to cultivate when we know we have support should something go awry. When we know the challenge we face is only temporary.
I would not want them to have to cope without me under any other circumstances but these.
This separation is only five days. Like the storm it will soon blow over. What’s left behind are the little changes to our family, the personal leadership, that cannot be orchestrated in the sameness and comfort of routine. These lessons must be scraped and pushed and piled and melted like the snow.
We’re adapting and we’re all better for it. I miss them and they say they miss me and I remind them that we're building a life and this is part of that process. They nod approvingly, tell me they love me, and disconnect.
I curl up into the hotel bed and wish I were home. The snow blows against the window and the storm seems relentless. But I know it will pass.