Today is take-your-child-to-work day. Caroline wheeled and dealed until Whit realized he had no choice but to strap her in his car and head to the office. I negotiated a lunchtime release so he can get a tiny bit of work done since he does, after all, pay the mortgage (and the grocery bill, and the electric bill, and every other bill. With the exception of the little bit of money I manage to bring in every month. And no, I will reassure my mother-in-law, it’s not earned by flashing my boobs on the Beltway, which I have often threatened to do when we’re short on cash.)
So Caroline put on a new outfit (that I, in my type-A way, already bought her for our big fourth of July celebration, because there was free shipping on Mother’s Day and we found something we both liked), including the new shoes on which the purchase of the outfit was predicated (shoes that I, personally, would wear because they’re very cute beaded sandals), and I watched her little blonde ponytail bounce out to the car behind Whit. She is beside herself with excitement.
This is what’s funny: she has a totally unrealistic view of what today is going to be like. I think she imagines that they will pull up to a gleaming building, and be whisked, George-Jetson-style, from the car. I think she thinks they’ll whoosh to the sky in a high-speed elevator, which will be filled with people clamoring to talk to Whit. I think then she thinks she’ll be told to pipe up with any good ideas during a top-secret, high-security meeting discussing matters of national importance. Then I think she thinks she’ll be paraded down the halls and all his colleagues will throw candy in her path. Then, in Sharpay style, I think she expects a grand lunch served on heirloom china. Then a limo will chauffer her back to school.
This is what I think will really happen: they’ll get stuck in traffic. Whit will answer his phone and say, “Mmm hmmm” a lot, but not say one intelligible thing that’s interesting. I think they’ll walk from the parking garage to a regular elevator and go to his office, completely undisturbed by nonexistent adoring fans, where she’ll see a lot of family pictures, a computer, a conference table and a dead plant. I think he’s going to have the important meetings but I think she’ll be sitting outside with a secretary (he did actually tell her to bring her DSi, which illustrates a major spousal difference – I would have made her bring a book).
Then I think he’ll introduce her to his friends, and yes, they’ll give her candy, because that office is filled with two things: candy and beer, and I would divorce/sue/kill him if he gave her beer, which he wouldn’t do anyway because he’s more protective than I am. (No. I don’t understand the candy/beer thing. I thought the internety office culture died out a while ago.) Then I think they will go to lunch, but I think Whit won’t eat because he has to take his secretary out to lunch for Administrative Professional’s Day as soon as Caroline leaves. Then I will chauffer her back to school, in my dirty SUV with popcorn and crackers littering the back seat.
And then the really funny part is that when asked about the day, she will honestly remember scenario A. Because to her, a day in the life of Daddy is a glamourous day well spent, no matter what you actually do.