Along with all the other cowboys, my husband has been camped out on the ranch to work cows for several weeks. In his absence, I have contemplated the deeper meaning of life, engaged in daily yet meaningful soul-searching, and set aside time each day to reflect on what family means to me.
Also, I call my mom a lot. Only to tell her really important things, like that my two-year-old son can slap himself on the chest and say “ma!” to indicate himself. And that my four-year-old daughter learned a new knock-knock joke that doesn’t make sense, but I laughed anyway.
When I’m not updating my mom on her grandkids’ antics in real time, (you don’t need Twitter if I have your phone number), I’m making blankets and potholders. I taught my daughter Grace to hand sew little stuffed animals, and together we have been assembling care packages for friends and family both far and near. If we know you, might one day meet you, or have heard about you, it’s reasonable to expect a package from us in the mail. We ship on Wednesdays.
After sewing time, I continue Grace’s education in the womanly arts by teaching her to binge watch Friends while eating chocolate chips straight out of the bag. That last part still happens when Jim is home, but with him gone I actually get to eat some of the chocolate chips.
Don’t you hate it when you get a good burn on your spouse, but it’s kind of a waste because they are camped out far from home, sleeping in a tipi and eating out of a chuckwagon? So aggravating.
Besides hogging all the chocolate, I’m rediscovering other things I used to enjoy before cohabiting with a man, like walking into the kitchen and finding all the cabinet doors closed. The dish rag is always properly draped over the sink divider, and I no longer find a complete set of clothes on the floor in front of the recliner.
Sadly, no one brings me a morning cup of coffee, and the scent of Old Spice deodorant wafts into the air every time I open the medicine cabinet, which makes me miss Jim. I also spend too much time playing “Truck Engine Or Airplane?” every time I hear a rumble in the distance. Worst of all, I had to solve the problem of How Did The Horses Get Out? all by myself.
Because of course the horses got out. It’s an unwritten law of ranch life that the livestock will get out and play when the cowboy husband is away. When I looked out the front window in my pajamas and slippers and saw a buckskin and a roan nibbling grass on the wrong side of the fence, I opened the door and said “Hey, guys! Jim’s been gone 10 days, what took you so long?”
I baited the stray equines back in with a bucketful of grain, then did what any strong-willed, self-sufficient Woman of the West would do. I called my neighbors and asked for help. Pat and Leddy came over and rode the fence line of the horse pasture, then I cooked a chicken pot pie and we visited for a couple hours. When they got up to leave, Grace threw her body across the door, which was a testament to how much she liked them.
Or maybe it illustrated how long it’s been since we’ve seen other humans. When Jim gets home, I can tell him “Welcome back, honey! We had company over for lunch while you were gone, and I only had to cut one fence to get them to come out here!”
He’ll be thrilled.
I call this look “Perplexed” and I use it when trying to figure out if the distant sound is a truck engine bringing my husband back to me or an airplane flying overhead. I also use it multiple other times throughout each day, like when I’m trying to figure out why I am sitting by a tree looking through a broken window pane.