It used to be, when Steve was away with work or with SARAID (the urban search and rescue team he is part of), the time would hang heavy. I still don't like it when he's away at night - for some reason, I feel sure that the house would choose to burn down when he's not here, just to test my efficiency at rescuing three small children when I only have two hands.
But I've learnt to really value the times I get to myself, too. For a start, I can tidy. It might be rudimentary, and mostly involve throwing his things into his wardrobe and closing the door, but it makes a huge difference! And it's such fun when he gets home and opens the door to an avalanche. There would be laughs all around, if only he'd find a sense of humour about it. Then, I get the evening to myself. Evenings are so short, anyway, once the children are all in bed, and lunches packed, and bags prepared for tomorrow, and a load of washing in (in case tomorrow is dry)...and I'm a morning person, so it's not the best time of day.
It's still my own time though. It's lovely to be able to be selfish, and not need to talk to him about his day, or have to share his tv habits. Apparently it's quite antisocial when I disappear into the study all evening, every evening, so I have to make a show.
So, when he's away, I get to choose - control of the remote for once, or immerse myself in my writing for the whole evening, every evening.
The only problem is, if I'm writing, I often stay up ridiculously late, unable to type that final full stop. And then I miss Steve, because there's only one responsible adult to wake everyone up the next morning, and she's half asleep...