Friday, May 11, 2007

and the day is saved by the ring of a telephone

yesterday morning broke too early.

i had my will appointment, and some running around to do, and was looking forward to getting out of the house and doing whatever i felt like for a few hours while the kids were in school.

until i heard no. 1's cough from the other room.

dammit. this wasn't your average, run-of-the-mill cough, that i might be able to disguise with lozenges and toddle him off to school as if nothing were out of the ordinary. this was a hefty cough. a bordering-on-gagging cough. the kind of cough that would land him in the nurse's office mere seconds after arriving at school, and interrupt the morning run i had planned with a call to come pick him up.

so i put him on the couch with his blanket and binkie, and a quilt to cover him, put in a new hope, and tell him he needs to rest. no. 2 quickly wisens to the situation and insists that he, too, must stay home from school. i should fight this, probably. dress him a patatas (sorta like saying kicking and screaming, or fighting), force him onto the bus.

but since my wife has left, both the kids are extra clingy, and i am just too exhausted to fight this battle.

i sigh, give in, and set him up on the other couch.

with slumped shoulders, i call the school. then i sigh heavily as i wait for the bus to arrive so i can tell the driver they won't be going. the biggest blow is calling the legal office to reschedule, and finding out that due to the volume of deployments, there aren't any open appointments for military dependants for some time. they will call me when one is available.

about an hour later, the kids are wrestling around on the floor, and no. 1's cough is down to a level where i could have disguised it and sent him off to school and gotten away with it.


they then have sufficient energy to run me ragged for the rest of the day, and i long for their bedtime.

but the solace of bedtime is short-lived, as i hear the sounds of wrestling and shrieking and general mayhem emanating from within. i enter, and tell them in no uncertain terms that they need to be in their own beds and quiet. i leave.

i have barely shut the door and turned my back when i hear shrieking and bedframes creaking again.

this continues for two-and-a-half hours, shrieking and banging, me pausing my movie yet again, me raging with increasing volume at each visit to replies of "ok, daddy" "yes, daddy" while the usual hour of my wife's crackly, voice-delayed call falls further and further behind, with the funk welling up in me tenfold, until it all boils over and i shout at my kids that i will take an axe to their video games and burn their toys and give their movies to needy children if they don't fucking lay down in their own fucking beds and be quiet!

no. 1 stares at me, wide- and wet-eyed, and no. 2 just straight-up bursts into tears. i slam the door, still cursing under my breath. i take three steps down the hall, stop, rub my face, sigh, turn, and walk back to the door.

"daddy still loves you guys, ok? you need to listen to daddy, and do what he asks, but i will always love you, and i just wanted you to know that. now, can you please stay in your beds, quietly, and, preferably, asleep?"

they nod, say "yes, daddy." this time with more sincerity, and i give them hugs and kisses anew, and tell them again that i love them, and that mommy loves them.

i all but drag myself out to the couch to finish my movie, while thinking, "come on, it's not like she can call every day. i mean, she's at work. you should just figure she's not calling today. you should quit being such a big fucking pansy, c'mon."

but the funk has settled in tight, and the backs of my eyes burn, and i feel whatever energy i had draining into the floor like spilled juice.

the movie is over, and i decide to go to bed at a decent hour, maybe read some before calling it a night.

the phone rings. the only person who would call me at this hour... it is! yeeeaaaaaah!!! it is, it is.

we have the longest conversation we've had since she left, and the funk weakens, breaks up, dissipates like fog in the presence of the sun.

i sleep like a baby.

darth sardonic

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Blogger jenny said...

Your kids will wake in the morning and not remember what an ogre you were last night. It is tough when your wife or hubby is away and you are the only one that takes care of the kids day in and day out. I've been there-- yelling at the kids when they just wont go to sleep, and then the guilt piles up and I think to myself, "I suck".

Hang in there, your kids love you and they miss her as much as you do.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So recognizable. This post has made me feel like a fellow-human again instead of a bitch who yells at her kid. Thank you. And hang in there. If your wife reads this blog, she's sobbing right now and loving you more than ever.

9:58 AM  
Blogger DJ Kirkby said...

WOW!!! Powerful...

10:23 PM  
Blogger Elsie Button said...

blimin eck, I was almost in tears! you sound like a fantastic dad, it must be really hard. i love your writing. thanks for commenting on mine by the way. i will link you too if that's ok?

3:35 AM  
Blogger darth sardonic said...

elsie i would be more than honored. ty one and all for the support and compliments. happy mom's day, which i will probably blog about tomorrow or whatever. elsie, i will get you added soon.

6:14 PM  
Blogger lady macleod said...

Huzzah! Great posting! I was laughing out loud, then thinking "we have all been there", then going "awww". Again, just brilliant. I am still smiling. Dads of the world unite and strive to hit the bar as you have raised it so high.

12:33 PM  
Blogger lady macleod said...

I have just noticed you placed me under the heading of your "pals". Thank you. I am honored.

12:41 PM  

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