In 2009, for Bob's birthday, we went to the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. Bob was golfing lots back then. Traveling from Manhattan to Long Island meant taking several subways and trains. At stops, at the doors of the train or subway, the MTA (Metropolitan Transport Authority) has stenciled on the ground throughout the subway stations, Mind the Gap.
I think of metaphorical gaps like cracks in mountains--those abysses that things go to die in, those things that never seem to fill up.
Gaps are also black holes where everything and anything, with even the shakiest grip on our list of responsibilities, goes to die.
Lately, things have been falling through the gap in our lives. In 2019, Bob retired because he understood that he could no longer function at the height he once had. He was struggling with numbers and he felt his business, called The Little Store, was hindered because of him.
Also, by 2019, he couldn't come up with words.
"What does the word start with?" I'd say.
Sometimes prompting him would work. Sometimes not.
But at work, he needed to be able to communicate to his employees. It was September 2019 when he retired. That meant that I needed to oversee business. The store manager said she could do what Bob did. It was only after Covid that I realized the job was bigger than the manager. Thankfully, we also had a deli manager, Julie who was swinging into both jobs when needed--broader administrative duties but also operational duties. When Covid hit, I wasn't about to risk getting sick and bringing it home to Bob. I brought Covid home in 2023 but not in 2020. By 2023, we'd both been vaccinated several times.
In March 2023, with a new manager in place and me assuming a regular work week, things started to slip through gaps at home. Slowly but definitely. The cleaning was the first to slide into the gap. Then, landscaping and window washing. The aviaries, car cleaning, breaking down Chewy boxes. Showering. Into the gap. It's at this point, where I can honestly say, I could give two poops about the windows. I fear they may never recover.
By July 2022, with my Masters of Fine Arts under my belt. I jumped into store business. Within eight months, our new management structure was in place--me at the administrative/oversight helm, and the new store manager, Julie doing everything operational.
I hired a cleaner.
"Bob meet Jessica. She's going to clean the master bedroom area."
Bob was thrilled, I could tell because Jessica is pretty, young, and extremely nice.
I hired a landscaper.
"Remember Lupe, Bob? He used to help us when we first got married."
"Hey Bob, how you doing?"
Bob reached out his hand and Lupe held it in both of his.
With our new power team at the store in place and now at home, things still tilt toward the gap but I am quicker on my toes to catch them.
But here in lies the rub, if things tend to tilt toward the gap, then, probably, those things aren't as important as I once thought they were. The only truly important thing in my life is Bob. And God. Without God on the team, the gap would only deepen.
God bless you all, Susan.