When I get home from work, Audrey always runs up to me, arms outstretched: "Mooommmy! You're home!! Where you be?" So cute, it makes me not want to ever leave again. For at least 10 more minutes, because by then all the real or imagined injuries are being brought up to me, one by one, and it's all I can do to not walk back out the door again: "He pushed me." "I never got a turn." "He ate my last ___." And my personal favorite: "Daddy forgot to feed me," followed immediately by: "Can we get McDonald's?"
Sure, sugar, a Happy Meal for you will make me feel a lot better about leaving you.
"Why don't you find out what the kids want?" (just kidding--while Mr W will eat Mickey D's, it's usually Ryan that's doing all the campaigning for his favorite~)
It's a joyous thing, usually, when the working parent comes home. I know I look forward to relief from the troops, forward to maybe having a minute or two to breathe in between the myriad of tasks that I still need to complete. I'm not ashamed to admit that sometimes, I look forward to his return not only because, okay, I might want to see him; but also because sometimes, okay, I'm getting the hell out of here the second he's in the door.
Friday night was no exception. I'd had a crazy busy day; at the school all morning volunteering at our clothing exchange; then I stayed at the school for an assembly where Ryan got a little award (yay!); we went for ice cream to celebrate afterschool; dropped off some for Mr W at work; took everyone home for 40 minutes, then took all of them and Max to the vet (we were a three-ring circus there, I think our vet was thinking that she made the right choice becoming a vet and not a pediatrician with my crew); picked up one of Ryan's friends to come over and play; and finally sat down at 5 pm. Whew! Where'd the time go?
The last thing Mr W said to me was: "I'll try to get home as soon as I can, so you can go do your thing."
In our household, we try not to talk about what time he's actually coming home, because to do so certainly curses him with the call-from-hell that takes all night to wrap up. He's talented that way. I had a feeling as he said that, knowing he had a couple of reports to finish, that he wasn't gonna make it. I know better, I knew better, and yet when he didn't show up as promised, I still got mad.
So mad, in fact, that I managed to keep my distance, quietly, for the rest of the night after he finally got home. I had been busy all day, and Audrey had been crankalicious all day, and I just wanted my 30 minutes of pain, which was denied by his late homecoming.
See, I've started to run. <gasp, gasp>
I like to run. It's been a loooong time since I've done it, and I'm easing into it gradually. I have a little plan I'm following, outlined in "The Complete Book of Running for Women," by Claire Kowalchik. While it's not like I'm training for anything like a marathon or something, but it's important to me, and I look forward to it enough that I make time to do it. Friday, I was ready to go, and eager to see if I'd made any progress. 6 o clock came and went. Then 7, 7:30, ok, I'm beyond bitter, now I'm pissed. What, no phone at the PD, there, dude?
As I'm loading up Ryan's friend to take him home, Mr W is unloading his stuff in the driveway. And it's 7:50, so there's no way I'm going running now, I'd be up all night and have to work tomorrow. Hiss.
So instead of spurting it out just then, I stewed. And he said nothing at all about it either. Even better.
Saturday, when I got home from work, things were still tense. (duh) As he stood there folding the laundry, I finally just said, "Stop that, and come into the room. I need to tell you something, and I'd rather not be hissing at you all day about it."
We're walking into our bedroom, and I said, "Why am I mad at you?" To which he replied, "I have no idea."
You've got to be kidding, I thought. Tardy AND clueless? ("I'll take 'Your spouse's most endearing qualities' for $200, Alex.") I reminded him of the last thing he said to me the afternoon before, that he could've called to tell me he wasn't gonna make it so I could come up with another plan, and how I feel like a slave to his schedule. He got a little indignant with me, then said nothing. I hate it when he's so calm, and I'm trying to form sentences in between drying my eyes. ("I'll take the same category for $500, Alex.") We went back and forth, about he has no control over his schedule (ok, fine, true, but even I get tired of smiling politely and saying "sure, no problem" as I have to change my workdays AGAIN); about how I have to think about "who's gonna watch the kids?" when I have something to do, but he doesn't, because I'm here; rant, rant, back and forth, and we didn't disagree much, but just respected the other's position.
Then he said the words I'd been longing to hear ever since Nolan was 12 weeks old; ever since I had to load two sleeping babies at 4 am into my car for a 30 minute drive to their Nana's so I could be at work by 5 am; ever since I had to take a job I hated (b/c the one I had laid us off) for 6 months; ever since Audrey was born and I realized I can only juggle so much--- "Do you want to quit your job?"
Surprised myself. I said "No, of course not," without even blinking. Where'd that come from? First of all, we do need my income. Second of all, I like my job. Thirdly, I don't think I could sit tight letting him bear the burden of our fiscal needs when I am perfectly capable of working and contributing too. Finally, with his past injury at work, should something happen, and he have to medically retire because of it, I think it's more prudent that I continue to work, foot in the door, just in case I need to someday go back full time. All that, in a flash, I guess, before "No, of course not" crossed my lips.
Ultimately, he listened to me, and I listened to him, no punches were thrown, and we moved on to more important things.
Like making up. ("Make that the daily double, Alex.")