Paterfamilias and I were exchanging smiles of contentment. "It feels so nice," PF says to me, "just to have her in the house again."
Alpha daughter has come home for a week--to attend a two-day conference and do some research. Her first day home is devoted to recovering from jet lag--she's been living in Germany for the year-- and preparing her presentation for a conference panel. PF and I work on our own projects, but there is time for a quick lunch together, an afternoon cup of tea, and dinner. What a treat. Without her family in tow, we are able to enjoy the one-on-one fullness of her presence. Our conversations take a different direction than when husband and child are present. Not necessarily better--but more familial and more direct. No doubt about it, it is a treat to have our daughter to ourselves, even if it's only a few days.
A few hours will do it as well. Last Spring, Uber son was in town unexpectedly--another panel at another conference (thanks be for panels)--and we were able to squeeze in dinner together before his flight home. There we were, talking about family, who was doing what and conversing one-on-one--no interruptions from anyone but the waiter.
These moments of togetherness are not exactly a step back in time--our children are grown up with families, careers and big-time responsibilities, and that's some of what we talk about. We love our grandchildren and our children's spouses. But these visits are a fleeting and precious moment in time when we don't have to share our children with anyone.