Night is falling now, the glow in the sky slowly fading away to the west. The sun sets just a little bit earlier here than it does on the other side of the ridge that separates us from the Bay, the light blocked by the intervening hills. Over there you can see the sun sinking into the sea. I still think of it that way – the sun sinking into the sea, even though I know better, that it’s only just the turning of the planet. The turning that you can’t feel unless you lie very very still in the middle of a field at night with the stars spinning overhead.

I’m home alone, another supposed three-day weekend for Sabs cut short by a call in to work. This time, he’s been promised Christmas Eve off in exchange. We’ll see if that pans out or not.

These nights alone with kids are hard. So many times, I’ve wished for an extra pair of hands, just for five minutes so that I could spend more time and attention on any one given task, make sure that each of my boys is getting all of the attention he needs. Instead, it’s always a juggling act, and my hat is really off to every single parent out there who has to do this, without relief, ever.

In some ways, I dread nightfall, because I know that on the other side of it, is this crazy dance that we do. On weekdays, there’s me leaving work, rushing through the gathering dusk to catch trains and busses to get to each location where we’ve placed our precious little ones for safekeeping while we’re gone. Once I’ve secured them in the stroller, there’s the long, dark walk home in the growing winter chill and the chaos to come on the other end when we reach the warmth and security of the house. On weekends, it’s the slow unwinding of the clock, the countdown to the hour when Sabs has to leave for work, the give and take between getting more done around the house, and taking the time to really look at each other and hold hands while one of us bounces the baby and the other hugs the preschooler.

Though I know that this particular balance will not last forever, as long as Sabs remains on the career path he’s chosen, this is the way that things will be for a long time to come. Nightfall is no longer about gathering at the dinner table as a family, coming together to share at the end of a long day. It’s about winding down and getting ready for the next day, and the next, so that the hours we do have all together, are spent as wisely as they possibly can be.