We’re in the last season of my first year in Spain. Verano. I write this from my patio table, as sparrows flit from tree to tree, and the neighbor girl fights with the rooster to get the attention of her abuela.
And at this moment, I am alone. My husband is at work, the dog is snoozing in the sunshine, and both my children are in school.
It’s a sneak preview of the schedule for the fall. Both boys will attend school from 9 to 2, and I will have extended, daily, and uninterrupted time to myself. At home. For the first time since 2006.
For eight years, I have not worked outside of the home, in a traditional, forty-hours-a-week job. And so I ask the most banal, yet quietly earth-moving question: now what?
How do I use this gift of time? It is difficult to find substantial work here—I am not Spanish, and jobs on base and few and far between. The Spanish school system does not encourage volunteers.
And besides, I’m not sure that’s what I want to do anyway.
I want to write. Not fiction. Not articles about parenting. I know that there is a glow of an idea, flirting about. I can’t hold it, or verbalize it. But I know that I’m meant to write something. Something important, and good. I seek it, as others seek enlightenment. So, to catch this idea, I must write. Daily.
On a more practical note, I need to practice my Spanish. I need to sit down with a list of verbs and nouns, and study. It may be tedious. But if I return to the United States, and I am not fluent, well….I blew it.
Also? My kids are going to be fluent. Which means they will outwit me.
Perhaps most importantly, I need to sit at a cafe by myself, or ride my bike by the beach. I need to be comfortable with silence, and learn to recognize the sounds of the hours. I must buy olives at the market, and a hot loaf of bread, and prepare a lunch for only my lips.
To remember me, and value the stillness of these years.
Yet another new season awaits me.