With two trips to Connecticut and a weekend out in Indiana for this past weekend’s Notre Dame-USC game (IRISH!), David had been away for the better part of two weeks. It’s good to have him home, even if it means there’s a couple extra pairs of shoes by the back door we get to trip over (he has big feet, so, you know. Big shoes). I don’t know if other parents feel like this when their spouses travel, but when he’s gone, I feel like I’m holding my breath for much of the day, just trying to keep everything–the kids, the chores, the pets, the errands–under some vague sense of control until bedtime. When he travels, by the end of the day, every cell in my body is sore–it’s the kind of tired that lets you know you’ve earned your keep on the planet that day. But it’s also the kind of tired that sometimes condones you serving the kids eggs and toast for dinner AGAIN, and possibly not showering until the day David arrives back home.
And because it’s impossible to stay on top of everything–especially when you have young kids, because seriously, these days you do the laundry just to wash the laundry. You cook the meal just to cook again in a couple hours. You clean off the table just to…well, you get the idea. Parenthood is Groundhog Day, the movie. I hated that movie. What was I saying? (See? I’m so used to repetition I find difficulty completing a linear thought anymore). I was saying that by the end of those two weeks, when David was tailgating in South Bend, I was, well, done. Finished. Crusty and needing a shower and a little traumatized because if one baby’s not up at night, another three-year-old is, and oh my gosh if I don’t get some sleep soon I will no longer be trusted to operate simple mechanical devices. I tried to turn on the coffee maker the other day and wondered why the food processor started moving. So, you know. It’s been a journey.
Friday night, the children were playing outside. We’d just finished Mod Podging some glitter all over a bunch of baby pumpkins (my house now looks like a Halloween-themed Pride parade and you can see the purple sparkles on our deck from space, but whatever. We OWNED that glitter project). It was 4:30, I walked inside, couldn’t find the countertops or the table for all the crap on top of them, walked back out of the house, and told the kids we were going out for dinner. I can’t remember if I was even wearing a proper enough bra to be out in public, but we were there, me and the three little ones, all tucked into a four-top eating our sandwiches and having comfortable, polite conversation like the most civilized of British gents at high tea, if British gents often discuss over their biscuits what Timmy did at recess.
I take a certain ownership over the food I give my family. I’ve slowly gone organic nutso (is that the technical term?) over our groceries ever since I found out that even Ritz crackers contain GMOs. The poor kids think Newman’s Own chocolate-creme cookies are Oreos. I gave them “real” Cocoa Krispies the other day and Saoirse was so excited to discover that “they taste like cookies.” I actually like to cook–chopping vegetables can be relaxing, and not just because there’s often a large glass of Malbec sitting on the counter nearby. But you can also use that as a sort of barometer for how my week is going. If I’m making you pumpkin chili (I STILL haven’t made that recipe, even though the eight-pound beast of a long-necked squash is still on my counter, mocking me every time I dig out a take-out menu), that probably means the kitchen is clean enough to prepare food in. It probably means my children are sitting at a tidy table, working on a craft while their brother plays on a dog hair-free floor. You know, it means I have a little bit of control over my life. Keep this in mind when I tell you about our eating tendencies this past weekend while David was whooping it up in South Bend.
So, Friday night: Isaacs, a local restaurant/deli chain. This meal included fluorescent rainbow-colored bread, PB&J, and marshmallows for the girls. Oh, and ice cream. Almost forgot about the ice cream.
Saturday morning: I made porridge. That was my feat for the weekend, solely because it meant working at a stove for twenty minutes.
Saturday afternoon: apple cider doughnuts (DOUGHNUTS FROM HEAVEN) and mulled cider and pulled pork sandwiches at a local orchard. Had to wait in line for an hour for them, but I WAS NOT COOKING, so, wait we did. Over the course of two days I ate four doughnuts. I am not bragging, nor bemoaning, just stating.
Saturday evening: Buffalo Wild Wings, with a Chik-fil-A milkshake aperitif.
Sunday morning: Chocolate cereal.
Sunday afternoon: leftover wings and fried pickles.
Sunday evening: stromboli from a local pizza shop.
I know you’re not judging me (right?). I know you now understand that we were at the end of a long couple of weeks. There were children who were awfully sick, children who refuse to sleep at night (see a) sickness, b) fear of the dark, c) wet sheets, and d) just want to hang out with Mom at 3:30 a.m. even though Mom refuses to open her eyes all the way and may actually be weeping). But David is home now, thank goodness, and I feel like finally we can start to settle back into our normal. I’ll take the pile of shoes by the back door if it means all the pieces of our family are back under one horribly messy roof.
As soon as I answer the door, I mean. The Pizza Hut delivery guy just pulled up.