It’s 7:40 p.m. on a Monday and I’m alone in my house except for the animals.

This morning, my father took us out to brunch and then drove off with my tiny sunshine. Spring break is this week and my folks invited her to visit them in South Carolina since they missed out on hosting her last summer.

I am accustomed to being home alone during the day, while she is at school. But from the time my “Miss L alarm” goes off on my phone at 3 p.m., my afternoons are filled with chattering and homework and cuddles missed since the bus pulled away at 7:35 a.m.

Grandparents were not a part of my growing up years so it’s always been important to me that the kids have these trips and stays. But even after 21 years’ worth, I still find that my arms and ears are a little empty while they are gone.