Every day around lunchtime Julia starts asking if she can wait on the porch for Dave to get home from work. She asks me about six thousand times between then and four-fifteen when I finally let her go outside to listen for her dad’s truck as it chugs its way up the street.
Last week was rather long and arduous and by the time 4 p.m. rolled around on Friday, I was ready to jump on the weekend like a fat kid on a Smartie.
Oliver was cranky and clumsy, on an all-day mission to wind up in a body cast and Julia, at her whiny and emotional best, had been crying for goddamn ever because she wanted to wait on the porch for my husband.
Like he does every afternoon, he called from his cell to tell me he was on his way home. I could hardly hear him over my screaming children and barked at him to call when he was close to home before abruptly hanging up and running to catch Oliver as he fell backward off the couch.
His head bounced off the floor before I made it to him and a goose-egg started to swell, complementing the one sticking out of his forehead from an altercation with the fireplace.
I sat down in the middle of the floor, rocked him as he howled and started the Bedtime Countdown in my head: three more hours until they go to bed, three more hours until they go to bed, three more hours until they go to bed… Julia came over and stood beside me, red-eyed from crying. “Can I go on the porch now?” she whimpered. “Not yet, sweetie. Daddy’s going to call when he’s close,”
I said over Oliver’s screams. Her face crumpled and she broke into heaving sobs. Again. “I w-w-want to w-w-wait for d-d-d-DADDY!” she wailed. I was just about to rip clumps of my hair out and start screaming with them but the phone rang. Dave. My salvation. He’s close! I can send Julia outside and then I’ll only have one screaming child to deal with! I lunged for the phone, aware that my expectations might be a little too high…
“Thank god you’re close,” I sighed. “Oh, no, I’m not close at all,” he said. “What? Where are you?” I asked before turning to Julia to tell her that no, Daddy wasn’t close and she couldn’t go out on the porch yet. Cue sobs. Again. “I’m not even on the highway yet.
There’s an awesome rainbow outside, babe! I’ve never seen anything like this before! I pulled over to take a picture of it! I’ll bet you guys can see it from there – get the kids and take them outside to see the pretty rainbow…woah…what’s going on over there? I really need to find my balance…SOON!
Why is everybody crying?” Now, I could have sprung forward and herded my hysterical children outside to hold hands and admire the pretty rainbow while thanking my husband for alerting us to the natural beauty arching across the sky, but does that sound like something I would do? Hell no. Instead, I shouted, “A rainbow? A pretty rainbow? F*** the pretty rainbow, Dave. Get yourself back on the highway and come home. NOW.” The love. It’s flooding out of my house. At least…so it seems.