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When my marriage ended several years ago, I had my first opportunity to live entirely by myself.  After living with others for 60+ years, I expected to miss their presence.  Instead, I was amazed at the peace of living alone.   I have always enjoyed my own company, but when living with family I had to carve out special places and times for myself.  After my move, the opposite was true.

Solo meals became small celebrations.  A cup of tea out in the garden brought more than just fresh air and sunshine.  I discovered a few brave toads who were nearly as curious about me as I was about them.  I ate tomatoes straight off the vine as I tended my very special organic veggies.  In the cooler days of summer I actually put on my swimsuit and lay out in the sun (with a book, of course). Having peace and quiet was effortless.

When my granddaughters would come to visit, we would bring out so many special toys, books, and treats that they would always have to go home before we were through playing.  I was so blessed to have them barely a mile down the road, and we saw each other often.

Last year I decided to join forces with my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters — for economic as well as child-care reasons.  So I am back living in a family again, and solitude is once more a rare commodity.  This morning everyone else slept in, and I quietly slipped into the kitchen, made a cup of tea, and settled down on the couch to read.  It was unexpected, unstructured, and joyous.

An hour or so later Olivia awoke, ran into the living room with her bright and shiny smile and her favorite stuffed puppy, and snuggled up in my lap.  I had been alone long enough…it was time again to join the family.