I’ve been away for a few days. I left the husband and the children and the chickens and the goats, and I flew away to beautiful British Columbia to speak at a women’s workshop, and it was wonderful. Traveling with two of my favourite people, laughing and sharing and killing time together in airports. Being reacquainted with old friends and meeting new ones, and staying up way too late with Michelle in the evenings and still feeling like we didn’t have enough visiting time.

And the Once Upon a Time story workshop, a full day of sharing space and time and words with thirty beautiful women, it has come and gone. And back I have flown, and this morning I awake to my real life.

I awake to the children and the coffee and the windy Saskatchewan morning. And I shake my head a little to remind myself of where and who I am. I walk into my kitchen, pull the old yellow bowl out of the cupboard, and I make the morning pancakes. The boys are full of the stories I missed. Of last Friday, when Dad picked Carter up in the semi and they spent the day together, hauling fertilizer and such. And oh yes, the swimming pool opened! And Clayton came to spend the night. And Tyson and Garrett spent an afternoon together, working on Garrett’s old bike, trying to get it running. And I listen.

Then out they go, to begin the day. Lyndon is hoping to get the barn roofed, but the wind may cause some problems. In my quiet kitchen, as I wash Susan’s casserole dish, I am thankful for her and her thoughtful feeding of my family while I was away. In the background I hear the peeping and cheeping of the baby ducks and turkeys in my upstairs bathroom. Soon they can go out to the barn. Not soon enough, I think.

I mix up some cookies and as I stir and bake, I think of the women I spent time with just a few days ago. I think of Gretta and her boys. And I say a little prayer for her, and for her friends who attended the workshop with her. And I wonder if Lorie’s training for her new job went well. And I think of Anita, who I haven’t seen for thirty years, and I pray for her upcoming move. And I wish I’d had more time to get to know Susan and Molly and Erin and Melissa and Mitsy and Linda and …

The timer dings and the cookies come out of the oven and the boys and their dad come in for coffee. And my real life steals over me, quietly and sweetly.