My husband is out of town. He is in Puerto Rico for his grandmother's funeral. He left Thursday morning and will be back on Tuesday afternoon. I have decided in his absence that he is never allowed to leave me -- as in permanently -- because I cannot hack this whole single parent thing with 4 kids.
A lot of my life is like a single parent -- my husband is usually asleep or at work, so much of the mundane parent work is mine to handle. I do mornings by myself because he is not home from work yet. I do homework, dinner, bath time, and bedtime by myself because he is asleep. But he is here. If I need to go to the store for anything, I tell the kids that I will be back in 20 minutes and to not answer the door and to only wake dad up if it is an emergency. On the weekends, although he sometimes works, he is often home to help with all of the chaos that permeates our lives with four kids. I have really missed him these last few days that were a little more chaotic than normal.
Friday, my oldest daughter brought home a party invitation. For a slumber party. THAT NIGHT. My first thought was that I wanted to tell this kid's mom "Wow, thanks for the warning." I called one of the other moms and asked if she had gotten this invitation, and she said that it had actually gone out 2 days ago. Still not a lot of time, but had my daughter taken it out of her backpack to give it to me I would have known about it a little earlier. Then the other mom tells me that this is a birthday party. WHAT?? It is now 4:00 on Friday afternoon, the party starts at 5:30. I had no gift. Crap. Luckily, this other mom I was talking to just happened to be at Target and offered to grab something for my kid to give. She also offered to give her a ride to the party. Whew. Thank God for friends.
I already had plans for Saturday. It was the Kindergarten Roundup for the school district that we live in -- sort of an early registration thing so that your kid is already set to go for next Fall and I had planned to take my younger daughter to it by ourselves. My oldest son was going to spend the night with his best friend and hang out the next morning until we got done at the Roundup. The other 2 were going to go to another friend's house Saturday morning so I could focus on my daughter. So I called the mom of the little party girl to see if maybe my older daughter could just hang out there until we got done. When I got her on the phone, I apologized for not RSVPing sooner, but explained that I had not even seen the invitation until that afternoon. Then I told her of the issue of my husband being out of town, and the Roundup the next day, and asked her what time she was asking parents to pick up their kids the next morning. "Oh," she said, "we have a lot of family things planned for tomorrow, so I was thinking 8 or 8:30." WHAT?? You have a lot of family plans tomorrow? Why then would you even think of having 12 or so 8 year old girls over for a slumber party the night before?? I get ONE day to sleep in during a normal week -- Saturday. I was already going to have to get up and go to the Roundup thing, but since hubby was out of town, I would have had to get up, get the other kids up and ready, and go pick up my daughter from this slumber party. So my friend steps up and offers to bring my daughter home too.
Now, the oldest boy went home from school with his best friend. But the dad had asked if he could bring both boys over to my house around 6:00 because he had to go play softball and the mom would not be off work until after 7:00. After I handled the party crisis, I texted him to verify what time he was coming to drop them off and he said a little bit after 6:00. I told him that was good because I needed to get a shower. I then called my friend who was picking up my daughter and bringing the gift and I told her that I was in such dire need of a shower that I was starting to offend myself, and that I needed to get a shower before the boys got there. I told her that my daughter was ready, and that I had fixed a small gift bag to put the gift in for the party (she had told me that she was going to grab a DVD), so she should not freak out if she didn't see me when she came to get her. It was 5:00. I got in the shower, thinking that everything was under control and sort of congratulating myself on having good friends and making it all work out.
As soon as I shut off the water, my 3 year old bursts into the bathroom saying that someone is banging on the door and wants to know if he can answer it. Annoyed and wondering who the heck is at the door, I quickly wrap myself in my towel and go look through the peephole to see my son and his best friend standing on the porch. I am confused. It is only 5:15, not 6:15. I am still naked (except for the towel), so I crack the door and the dad, who is in his car at the curb, yells up "Sorry! I tried to call! My game starts at 6:00, I thought it was at 7:00." REALLY?? Well, you couldn't get me on the phone because I was in the freaking shower that you told me I had time to take. I told the boys to wait a minute and the dad drives off. I had the 3 year old let them in after I had taken my naked self back to my bedroom.
The rest of the night is a fairly typical Friday night. I get up the next morning and get myself ready to go to the Roundup before going into wake up the 2 little ones. Oldest girl comes home and I can tell that she is going to be a grump today because she obviously didn't sleep much at the party. I go in to get the little ones up and the 3 year old has a fever and green crusty, slimy, crud coming out of his nose. Great. So I text my other friend who had agreed to keep the kids and let her know that he is sick. I tell her the truth -- 3 year old is sick and I don't know what to do. She offers to come over to my house to watch them. Again -- I have amazing friends.
Saturday proceeded as usual -- me trying to get the kids to clean up and them avoiding any and all of their chores, me getting annoyed and angry but with no "enforcer" to back me up. They finally got busy when after hours of goofing off, I walked in with a trash bag and began throwing EVERYTHING away. They were stunned and frightened. I had warned them, but they had not believed me. My kids love me and their dad, but for some reason, their dad will always carry more authority than me. Probably because they are so used to me -- I am ALWAYS telling them to do things. Then, the 5 year old and her devious little 3 year old brother took a green dinosaur stamp that she had gotten at the Roundup and stamped all over the walls, the doors, and the furniture in his bedroom. They did this while I was cleaning the kitchen and while they were supposed to be cleaning the room. I tried everything I could think of to clean it off the walls, before finally discovering the solution -- Soft Scrub with Bleach, a scrub brush, and a LOT of elbow grease. After a little more than 2 hours, almost all of the green stamps were gone and I had ruined a T-shirt and a pair of Yoga pants (luckily I still have about 9 more pair). But I lost it after that. I became a screaming lunatic. Then I was a blubbering idiot feeling guilty about losing my temper at everything my kids were (and were not) doing to try my patience. Then Sunday I was practically bedridden with cramps (partially explaining the extreme emotions from the previous day).
Throughout all of this, I realized that most of this would have never happened or would have been nothing but a series of minor annoyances (if that) if my husband were here. All of Friday's inconveniences would have been tempered by my ability to leave the house even though he would have been asleep. Saturday he could have stayed with the sick kid or he could have taken the 5 year old to the Roundup. On Saturday, the kids would have been more focused on their chores instead of how to get out of doing them, the 2 little ones would have never been out of an adult's line of site long enough to redecorate the walls, and when I was about to lose it, he would have been here so that I could go hide in my room for a while and calm down.
So, yeah. I am very thankful for him. And I am ready for him to come home.
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