Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Straight aim

This is an ode to my lovely husband.

This is to tell you that he is an excellent husband and an extraordinary father. He changes diapers, he reads stories, he gives horsey rides and does dishes and packs lunches and soothes boo-boos and pushes swings and chases beach balls and remembers to say "I love you" and "you look pretty" and "that was a really smart question."

But let's go back to packing lunches. And paying bills and cuddling errant insomniacs at 2:30 am. He is truly a good man, and we know this, and we never know it so much as when he's gone or about to be so.

Case in point: this morning. Lovely husband was running late. He had to drop off E at kindergarten and get to the airport for his flight to California. Today is Wednesday, right? He'll be home on Tuesday. I was not taking this well. The kids were not taking this well. I was not taking this well, because I never do, but at least I keep my bodily fluids to myself over it.

Picture it: Sicily, 1932 the upstairs hall, 7:45. E is already in the lovely husband's car, which is already running on the driveway. We can see down the steps to the downstairs hall, where the lovely husband himself has re-entered the house three times with last-minute grabs for things he needs. Every time he comes back, little G becomes more and more enraged. He won't let me dress him for the day and he won't let me soothe him that his daddy has left and he won't let me wipe his gloppy cry-snot off his face and he won't do anything but yell the word NO! and clutch the bars of the upstairs gate and scream.

Meanwhile, L has been ready for so long that she is now undressing herself, because she's been sitting too long, she says, and she's hot. She is negating our preparedness. She is also doing so in front of her toddler brother, who pauses his screaming just long enough to get an idea. I am completely exasperated. "Please put your socks back on," I practically beg. No! she says with a smile on her face, and runs into her room for her Justin Beaver hat.

We are going to be late, I'm thinking in my head on endless, useless repeat. We are going to be late we are going to be late. Deep breath, Robin. You're going to be late for work and it's a done deal by now, so don't make it worse. Get everybody dressed calmly and get them in the car. Pep talk completed, I zen-mama myself into a serene smile and prepare to seamlessly dress and swoop the younger two kids into the car just as the lovely husband comes back into the house a final time. I will miss you, I think with equal parts sincerity and tooth-clenching, but please leave now, because G is about to start screaming again--

but no, it turns out, G has learned from his sister and has a whole new plan. For the first time in his entire 20-month existence, G takes off his diaper. L strips socks, he strips that and with the most intentional look on his face I have ever seen, he aims in the direction of my once-more-disappearing husband and--

pees straight down the stairs.

That would be 14 steps of carpet I left dripping with urine this morning as I serenely swooped my younger two in the car in my effort to be as little-late as possible. And my dear lovely husband, if only he weren't California bound, would have laughed and stopped to clean it.

Only six nights, Angry Baby. And your pants are staying on that whole time.

This post was inspired by Lost Edens, by Jamie Patterson, a memoir about struggling to save a marriage and eventually finding the strength to let go of it. I want you to know how grateful I am that while we have often struggled over things like the state of our carpets, we've never struggled over our marriage. As a member of From Left to Write book club, I received a copy of this book for review. You can read other members' posts inspired by Lost Edens on book club day, October 27, at From Left to Write.

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