Thursday, September 30, 2010

I could put out an eye with these

I have been feeling a little boxed in lately. There is not one room in the house where I am truly alone other than the bathroom, and even that gets dicey depending on which dog is on my heels.

No, I am not referring to my husband.

It gets a little frustrating to walk into your bedroom, ready to: a) talk about my day; b) say something dirty to see if he is truly listening; or c) just change my clothes without stepping around bodies, or actually paying attention to my husband's frantic eye contact/head motion to not finish my thought out loud or flash him because there is someone right on my heels directly behind me that I didn't notice in my eagerness to *ahem* share.

If I get a drink, someone wants one too; if I take out the ice cream, everyone else wants some too; if I head for the computer, someone else is already on get the picture. It's life in a big family in a small house, I'm the Mom, I know, I know, I signed up for this gig and I'm stuck with it for the duration. I know.

But I am allowed to let it get to me once in a while.

The thing that made me snap happened one evening happened after I'd come home from work to find my husband had been called in to work. I'd walked into my bedroom, and, after having closed the door behind me (but not completely shut or locked it), I changed the channel and went into the bathroom to change my clothes. I took my shirt off but realized I needed the sleeping bra. Ridiculous to some, it really isn't much, just like a tshirt, really, but I just can't imagine being um, free, with all these kids around, all wanting a hug at some point of the night..nope, can't do it. I had my pants on, and my bra on (nothing scandalous, a beige plunge somewhat-false-advertising but who cares, it does make for a nice rack) when I opened the bathroom door and was half a step out when I see Nolan sitting on the edge of the bed, not five feet away, about to look over and start talking to me. Of course he'd changed the channel, too.

I don't think I have moved that fast in my entire life, and the force of the door closing was lost in the level of my "GET OUT!"

He was gone when I stepped out three seconds later.

I got changed and as I was walking down the hall to find him, we bumped into each other.

"Look, Boy," I said, remarkably calmly, "You will get an eyeful of something that will scar you for life if you do not knock on the door or at least, at least, knock on the bathroom door and say 'Hey, Mom, I'm out here' before you plant yourself in my room. THE DOOR IS CLOSED. FOR. A. REASON."

When my husband made it home, I went on a rant. "I want my own room. I want my own computer that no one else ever ever touches. I want my own t.v. ....." I trailed off when the solution became clear to me.

"I want my own apartment. Hey! That's exactly what we need. We could leave for a couple of hours, here and there, and just hang out. I could actually sex you up whenever I want and not worry that someone is just around the corner. We could talk, uninterruptedly making it through a conversation without losing our train of thought because we stopped to sign something or deal with ;what's for dinner?'!" We wouldn't abandon anyone, we would just have a place to go that is just ours. For like a grown up timeout."

Of course my husband just smiled, patted me on top of the head....and changed the channel.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Stop looking at him like that, he's only a baby

I was waiting for Ben to collect his instrument and backpack out of the van this morning when I dropped the crew off at the high school. I looked into my rearview mirror, to watch him get it. It's early when I drop them off, and I am still pretty sleepy, which means I am not beyond driving away before he's completely done, hatchback up and all.

I looked at the line of cars behind me and about two cars back, I see one of the girls I know--her hair is longer and I think she might be a senior this year. I was smiling to myself about how much she has changed since I first met her when I saw her cast a furtive glance at my van.

And push her hair over her shoulder and look back into her car (she was getting out too). And then look out of the corner of her eye at my car. As I watched her movements, hair swoosh- look-wait, don't look--no, I gotta look, it suddenly dawned on me what was happening.

Nolan and the others had walked away. This girl was eyeballing Ben, the boy wonder.

Ben has grown pretty tall over the summer and I predict he will be taller than Nolan by the end of the year. Big green eyes, nice smile---I have to admit that he is a good looking boy. But I am his Mom, of course I think he's a looker.

It appears someone else thinks so too.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Strangers like family

It was like a scene from a movie:

The freeway had little traffic, a beautiful dawn was lightening the sky, and I had a van full of teenagers I was driving to the dreaded zero hour talking about their weekend plans. I saw a highway patrol motor officer coming up behind me and instinctively checked my speedometer to confirm I wasn't over the limit, then I continued on listening to the chatter of the kids.

I felt him rather than saw him slow down a bit as he passed me and looked over just in time to see him turn and give me a prolonged half-salute/wave. I smiled, returning the greeting, touched by the moment. As I watched him get smaller on the horizon, I swallowed the lump in my throat, reciting a little prayer that no matter what his day might bring him, that at the end of it, he be returned......safely home.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

And then there are laughs that amuse only me

We had "Meet the Teacher" recently at the elementary school. We always go just to make sure the teacher assignments are what I thought (ahem, unofficially requested) them to be. Since I have volunteered so much in the past, some of the teachers are old favorites, and I like to say hello.
Of course, I didn't leave work on time, so I was late, and the kids had already gone around to meet their teachers. I decided to make the rounds anyway and as we were heading back to the car, I ran into one, an old favorite who has a child Nolan's age. We've compared notes over the years about what the kids are doing and my two that are still there really enjoy his class, so I was a little surprised that as he came up to me, smiling, holding out his hand, he looked like he was struggling to remember my name.

"Hi," *pause* "Eri...Erika," he said, stammering a little. He had that look on his face people get when they know they are saying the wrong thing but it's too late and they've committed, so they say it anyway. He shook my hand a little awkwardly, so I said, in a low voice:

"I thought we agreed never to repeat my stage name."

Had he been paying attention and not looking over my shoulder to take in the chaos around us, it would have been pretty funny. Instead, he turned his attention back to me and asked "What?"

"I said, 'How was your summer?'"

Monday, August 2, 2010

An impromptu laugh

I was laying in my bed earlier this evening with Audrey. I was stroking her hair and talking to her about her day. She is impatient about really, really wanting us to get a kitten. She asks about once a week, and I know her Dad is close to caving. Well, maybe not super close, but she looks at him, and pleads, and I can feel his resolve slip a little each time.

It's like watching an iceberg melt. It might take a while, but it still melts.

"Mommy, please can we get a kitty? Pleeeeeaaase?" she asked.

"Sweetie, no, not now."

"Why not?

"Because it's not the right time. We have 3 dogs. Coco wouldn't do well with a cat. And then there's the litterbox...."

"But I'll take care of it, I promise!"

"No, baby, I don't think so. You're gonna have to wait a while before we get a cat."

"Why do I have to wait a while? Why do I have to wait?"

"Because it's not always a good thing to get what you want right away. Sometimes, you have to wait to get what you really want...."

At this point, her Daddy exited the bathroom, and at just that moment, I continued: "...and eventually, if it works out, you get it. Your Daddy is still waiting for The Perfect Wife."

I looked over to see if he heard me just in time to see him lower his head and grin widely. Even after all this time, it is still nice to see him laugh at something I said like that, to render him speechless with something simple.

"Your Mama is perfect," he said.

Of course he did. He was just at the level of the bed that if he hadn't said that, or something, he'd have been speechless....and doubled over.