Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Burning the midnight oil?

From (almost) right after college graduation (almost) until my water broke with Caroline, I had a full-time, corporate job. Or several.

So I understand that working can suck. I understand 15-hour days and crappy commutes and unreasonable bosses and deadlines and unreliable team members and huge projects and fire drills and the stress that can be a full-time, corporate job.

But I also stayed in suites at the Waldorf Astoria and rode camels around the pyramids in Egypt and was escorted through the Colombian jungle by armed guards and had courtside seats and expense account dinners and lots of happy hours with people I genuinely liked and respected, so I also understand that working can NOT suck in a very big way.

Some husbands can sometimes pretend like business travel is a real drag. Keep talking, buster.

My husband is on a two-week-long business trip. It happens to be the last two weeks of school, so he has missed plays and concerts and father/son baseball games and his 45th birthday and all the drama and excitement that is The End of The Year.

(Now, he is working hard. I know that. And he really misses us. But that’s not funny, so we’ll ignore it right now.)

These two weeks have been fun, but a little stressful for me. Okay, REALLY stressful for me. And throughout my busy, stressful days, I’ve gotten texts from my husband. Here’s just a sampling:

"You would like this place. It’s right on the water and the sun is setting soon. Gorgeous."

"I want a sailboat."

"Rumrunners are dangerous drinks."

"(My coworker) has man boobs. He’s asleep on the beach."

"Just ate conch fritters, salad and grouper – delicious – I’m stuffed!"

"I’m sunburned."

"I think we’re going to try to go scuba diving."

"Need to get cleaned up and head out to a nice dinner."

"Boarding a plane; have a few hours to just relax."

"This voluptuous waitress won’t get off my lap."

(Okay, I made that last one up. But let’s face it, the guy is having fun.)

My texts back to him:

"American Express wants to know if your card was stolen. The charges are through the roof."

"The dog’s legs gave out on our walk and he scraped his nose on the asphalt."

"I have to take my dad back to the ER."

"I think I saw a rat outside."

"The kids won’t go to bed."

"It’s going to rain on the last day of school, all the outdoor parties are canceled and they’re gonna lose their minds."

"Am I a bad mother if the kids eat hot dogs for dinner...again?"

"I thought I was putting eye drops in my eye. It was albuterol."

"I think I’m blind."

He texted back:

"I’m on Bourbon Street."

That man is going to be really, really early for Mardi Gras 2013, isn't he??

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sometimes love looks a lot like a cup of coffee.

On the occasions Whit gets up with the kids (or, should I say, gets up with Jack, who wakes up before dawn every morning and then comes in and “cuddles” so aggressively that one quickly gives up on sleep and goes downstairs with him), my husband does a sweet thing and prepares my coffee, perfectly, and brings it to me. It’s a fabulous way to wake up. A rare treat? Perhaps. But a welcome one.

Whit is out of town for a l-o-o-o-ng time and I have been exhausted. When Jack was standing by my bed at 6:00 sharp this morning, I barely registered his presence. I assumed he’d hop into the bed and start bugging me to wake up and go with him to get a blanket/get cereal/find the remote control/watch Phineas and Ferb. It didn’t even pierce my tired consciousness that, instead, he left my room and went downstairs by himself.

Later, there was a tapping on my shoulder.

"Mommy? It’s me, Jack." (This is his standard greeting.)

"Mmmm hmmmm..."

Jack, proud: I made you coffee!

Me, waking up fast: You did what?

Jack: Well, Daddy’s not here, and you’re tired, and coffee wakes you up (I’ve never actually told him that, so the difference in my energy level must be drastic).

Me: But how did you do that?

Jack: Well, I poured it in the cup when the machine was done gurgling, and I spilled some but it didn’t burn me, and I put some of the sugar in it and some of the milk and I took a big spoon and stirred it up and walked up here very carefully.

He looked at me hopefully: Do you like it? Is it good? Is it like Daddy makes it?

Honestly, I could barely answer him. It’s been a hard couple of weeks, and this act of pure love, and pure kindness, was just about my undoing.

"It’s the best cup of coffee I ever had."

He high-fived me and ran downstairs, his good deed forgotten.

As I went through another stressful day, all I had to do was picture a seven-year-old boy carefully carrying hot coffee up the steps to his mom. Every time I pictured it, my heart melted, and the stress abated for that minute.

Is parenting hard? Yup. Thankless? Pretty much. Worth every second, just so you get to experience the heart-melting minutes? You’d better believe it.

Thanks, Jack. You may not know it, but you made my day today. And likely my tomorrow.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Maybe he's smart in other ways

Jack brought home a poem he wrote in school. The assignment was to use rhyming words in his writing:

My mom is nice.
She likes making rice.
She has lice.