And it is evening again.
When we were first married, it was the evenings I loved the most. Dinner made, waiting for you to come home to be with me for reading, or studying, or listening to the radio (remember the program about how people came to know Jesus? I don’t remember the name now, but I remember the man’s voice).
Then one baby. Evenings were spent trying to get her to sleep. Then we would spend more time together, reading to each other.
Then another baby. Less reading, more bottles, baby schedules, reading Dr. Spock while holding a crying son. Another baby, and then the rest of the litter and our evenings together as a couple simply evolved into family evenings. Time spent playing games, watching TV or a movie, going out together, planning our next road trip…it was all good. Even with diapers, the chicken pox, traveling, colds, Bible studies, church work, you working late, trying to live on a small budget, juggling children’s schedules, moving across the country…well, it was all good. Evenings were a few precious hours where we could reconnect.
The hard years settled in at some point. It went south. All of it. The hopes and expectations we had were somehow shattered into conflict, fear, and the final descent of not really knowing who “we” were anymore. Don Henley would say I lost me and you lost you. Evenings became something silent, looming, burdensome through the whole day. My days became a dread of the evenings. When you were heading home, I worried about dinner. Would it be good enough? Another evening of silence, is that what we were in for? I never knew what the evening would really be like, until I was heading up the creaky stairs to bed, alone. Again. I came to loathe evenings.
Then, we split up. The evenings were full of questions to me then: what will we do? What does a separation look like? What does a divorce look like? What about the children? And the worst question I had to answer: what did I do to get here, and how can I take on the responsibility of what I did wrong? That line of thinking turned into many tears after going to bed. I had nearly three years of those evenings.
We are apart now, for the remainder of our years here. No more board games, traveling together, feeling that connection of growing up together. Over a quarter of a century of evenings we have shared, and it’s all finished up now. Not finished like it should have been-our last evening together should have been when we were both 90 years old, and we fell asleep next to each other.
I have survived it. My evenings are not quite what I would like still, but they do contain something that I had not seen in years: peace. Quiet. Solitude. Alone, yes. Wishing someone else besides the dog or the cat wanted my company, yes. Wishing I could go back and be a better wife and a better mother, without a doubt. Since I do not have access to the Tardis, I must soldier on, working to build my evenings to be something that will once again reflect joy in my life.
I have every hope you will find joy in your evenings again. I truly do.