Tonight I don’t leave the house until twilight is falling.

I am never out at this time; when we walk home from school the mid-afternoon sun shines in our eyes and later dinner preparations render me housebound. When all those tasks are complete and the baby has been put down, it is night.

But on this evening the smaller children are having a sleepover, the teenager is with his friends, Mark is surfing. When I return home with my bit of newspaper and bag of chocolate the house is still.

Why, this is what it will be like when the small ones are teenagers and the big one is grown, I think.  All this quiet for me to fix my own dinner and do my own work. No rushing around to feed small mouths before they cry, no sports games sounding from iPhones or kids cartoons singing on and on on the TV.

Just me.

And all the time in the world.

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