I sat on the concrete porch, the late-day sun warming my face. Pen in hand, I pored over a business book, highlighting words to remember.

As each car passed on the street, I looked up in search of the familiar.My kids had been gone since Monday, their second summer vacation week with their father. All week, I’d been working, exercising, catching up with friends and with myself, and calling my little ones to hear their sing-song voices and know they were ok.

In turn, they were surrounded by beauty – the mountains of Banff, a gondola-ride over snow-caps, a dip in a cold pool, hot dogs roasted over the open fire.

When the blue truck pulled into my driveway Friday evening, I tossed my book inside the house and walked barefoot to greet them. They were asleep in their carseats, heads tilted. My ex smiled at me and shrugged his shoulders.

Asher was the first to open his eyes. “Mommy!” He threw his arms around me. Avy lifted Eliana from her seat and she nudged her eyes awake. She smiled when she saw me and reached her arms out.

By then I was holding Shaya, in a dead sleep against my shoulder. With my free arm, I embraced my girl.

All through the night, I got spontaneous hugs. Shaya slept for another hour on the couch. I watched Asher’s digital-camera video-tour of the trip and heard their excited stories. When Shaya awoke, he would not let me put him down.

Finally, the four of us lit the candles and covered our eyes. We recited the Hebrew blessing to inaugurate the Sabbath aloud, our voices in unison. Then we held hands and sang the silly made-up song I created as a post-candlelighting ritual when Asher was little. We danced in a circle, then fell into each other at the end. I can’t remember a happier time.

So many people’s eyes go wide and their voices drop when they hear I got divorced. “OH,” they say. “I’m sorry!”

I shake my head to let them know it’s not like that. Although no little girl dreams of her grown-up life as including the demise of a marriage and a dream fluttering skyward like a captive bird set free, every day I realize how right this decision was.

We are all adjusting, figuring out how to survive and how to transcend the moments.

Those happy faces, those little bodies sleeping beside me Friday night. Asher’s full-body hugs, Eliana’s endless smile, Shaya’s neck-cuddles.

They had a great week with their father. And they were so happy to be home with me. 


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