Trust me. It’s got a beat you can dance to.
Yes, Larry and the boys departed for the beach first thing this morning, leaving poor little old me behind with nothing to do except go to work, come home, and then proceed to think complete thoughts FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FOUR YEARS.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I know it’s going to be great. I may even complete a sentence or two out loud while I’m at it. Just to see if my head explodes.
I confess I did get a little misty-eyed as I dropped the boys off at the airport (slowing down just enough so that all three could jump out of the car unscathed). Gus had turned to Larry moments before and said, “Dad. This is SO exciting!” Even Patrick, who will typically flip me the bird through the bars of his crib if I try to wake him before 6:00, was smiling behind his pacifier.
That’s because my kids worship their father. I guess most kids do. And Larry really is an exceptionally good Dad. Last I measured, he was nearly ten times more patient than I am. And at least 66% more mature.
Last night, for example. Gus and I were fighting over an apple. The last apple, specifically. I cut it in half because Patrick wanted some, and Gus, who “hates half-an-apples” lit the kitchen cabinets on fire with his mind.
So I raised my voice.
And he raised his higher.
He yelled louder.
I got red in the face.
He put a hex on me.
And so on and so forth until Larry came home and pulled us off each other and made us both apologize. I guess we’d had enough of each other for the day.
“I don’t know if I’m cut out for this,” I told Larry. “I’m not feeling the joy of motherhood. He’s driving me nuts.”
“The joy part of parenthood is just moments,” he said. “The in between just isn’t that magical. All parents feel the way you do.”
When the boys were finally asleep, I begged Larry to please not call me during every trial and tantrum while they were away. “I don’t want to feel your pain this week,” I said. “I feel guilty enough that I’m not going with you.”
He called me at 9:30 when they landed.
“They were perfect the whole flight,” he said. “It went as well as it could have possibly gone.”
“The goody bags were a hit. They were totally engaged. I even got to read a few pages of my book.”
“Wow. That’s great!”
Three hours later:
“You should have seen them at the beach! Gus actually swam in the ocean! And Patrick made a sandcastle. They are having the time of their lives. I doubt I’ll get them down for a nap, but that’s ok …”
Three hours later:
“They both took a three hour nap.”
“Okay. What the hell?”
I’ve always believed that the one thing you don’t plan for is the one thing that will happen. (Which explains why I invest so much time imagining every calamity imaginable, in some effort to ward off the worst.) All last week was spent what-iffing myself into a froth. What if Gus is too sick to go? What if the antibiotic he’s on doesn’t work? What if Patrick gets strep on Sunday night, and it’s too late to get an antibiotic? What if he gets a stomach bug and can’t go? Does he feel hot to you? He feels hot to me.”
The only thing I failed to imagine was that they would have a dream vacation without me.
While I was eating my quiet dinner tonight—the peaceful fantasy dinner I’ve been waiting for all month—Larry called again.
“Can you hear them?” he asked.
The sounds of a carnival came through, slightly muffled. But the sounds of joy were loud and clear.They were having one of those darn moments again.
“We’re on the boardwalk. Gus is so much braver than I thought,” Larry told me. “This ride they're on whips around a corner at the end, and his face when it happens is just priceless.”
Too bad that’s true.
Or I would have paid a week of silence just to see it.