Jack and Caroline love Whit.
It’s cute when the kids tackle him when he walks in the door at the end of the day.
Cute, too, when they text him from my phone: hi dAd its jaCk do yoU mis me I mis yOu!!!!!
Kind of cute when Caroline says the house feels sort of empty while he’s on a trip.
Little less cute when Jack says, “I can’t wait for Daddy to come home because he plays with us.”
(You’ve got to be kidding me. I have carpal tunnel syndrome from throwing the damn torpedo to you in the pool for three hours.)
Very uncute when Caroline says, “Daddy never makes us go to church like you do but he says prayers at night with us better than you do.”
(Seriously? Well, guess what? I’m a CATHOLIC SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER. I’m kind of committed to going to church, and my religion doesn’t allow for too much ad libbing. Daddy’s a Presbyterian. Church is optional and they like to make prayers funny so people stay interested.)
And then decidedly rotten: “Next time, you go on a trip and Daddy can stay home with us.”
Oh, children, gather 'round while I tell you a story:
Once upon a time, there was a smart woman with a fantastic job and a cute figure. Perky boobs and a perk-y job...fun coworkers, courtside seats, great travel, excellent restaurants. She gave Daddy a special kind of hug (only twice, really, I swear to it) and she was blessed with two adorable children.
Her figure went to hell, and so did her perky boobs. So she could spend all her time, energy, money and sanity on those adorable children, she quit her job. Her salary vanished and her budget took a nosedive. In the next nine years, she got approximately four nights, in the aggregate, of uninterrupted sleep. She entered a world of joy: smiles, hugs, even “I love you”s from those children. She also entered a world of poop, puke and fevers.
This (absolutely amazing and selfless) mom did things she hated, just to make the children happy. She famously received an accidental enema by jumping off a high dive, despite her crippling fear of heights, because her children asked her to try it. She played with worms and applied medicine when “my bottom itches.” She listened to explanations of why boogers are interesting and answered questions like, “When I die, will bugs eat my eyeballs?”
Nothing was too small to receive her undivided attention. No boo boo went un-band-aided, no tears went unwiped. No hugs went ungiven and no cheeks went unkissed.
That mother gave her entire self to her children. In fact, for years her only personal outlets were long runs and a wordy blog.
That mother was told, in so many words and not in so many words, that she wasn’t exactly the favorite parent.
Guess what, sweet children?
That mother cleaned out every piggy bank she could find in her house and went to Vegas for a month with her friends. While she was hitting the roulette table, that superhero daddy was soothing scared children in the wake of nightmares, getting water, diffusing temper tantrums, focusing on food groups, caring for the dog, the fish, the frogs and the guinea pig, paying the bills, cleaning the house and planning fun 15-hour chunks of the day for those kids.
Think he had time or energy to play with them for hours on end? Nope. Think his prayers were funny? Only to the mommy, because she knew he was praying for her to come home.
The moral of the story, my dears?
A mommy in Vegas is a very, very happy mommy, and a daddy at home is a very, very crabby daddy.
Everyone begged that mommy to come home.
Especially those children.
So, really, just zip it with all the "Daddy's my favorite" talk all the time.
Because I’m this close to booking my ticket.
And you will cry. All of you.