I just missed him. He’s out the door now and I won’t see him until 2:45 when he lumbers through the door with his big feet; sifting through the mail like he knows what anything means, looking for a New Yorker or a The Week to talk about their covers, one of our favorite past times.
It’s quiet now; it’s 6:35 and he left while I was getting a cardigan. I thought I had more time. I just went upstairs for less than a minute, the water was still pouring into the pitcher to make more lemonade. I thought he didn’t walk out the door until 6:35. He left at 6:32. His interest in leaving earlier and hugging less and hiding out more in his room is increasing. The Washington Post has a fantastic photo on the front page of a bald eagle, his favorite raptor when he was younger, scooping a fish out of the water near the Shenandoah and left it by his oatmeal. I don’t know if he saw it. I wrote this post about him and his staggering growth almost two years ago.
His brothers wanted me to wake them up a half-hour earlier to take a shower. I’m feeling selfish. I like the quiet. It’s either right now or super late at night when I get to be alone. Did you see the moon last night? It was gorgeous. I just saw it again when I brought in the papers.
I don’t normally do this 5:50-6:32 a.m. shift with my Thing 1. His father does, but his father is upstairs sleeping off his wrist surgery. He injured himself during an age denial or flat-out age rejection activity at his parent’s beach house the last week in August. 500mg of Percocet and 25 mg of a pharmacy-grade antihistamine making things easier, supposedly preparing the body for the transition from when his nerve block wears off. Mr. Grass Oil is a wonderful father, better than any I knew when I was growing up; he is a blessing to me, to us all.
I tip my hat to single mothers and to those whose spouses have ultra-demanding jobs. I don’t know how they do it. We came home from the hospital and my stitched-up husband was greeted by the boys like a hero returning from war. Lots of small jumps up and down, “Daddy! You’re home! How are you? Daddy!” sweet strokes of kindness, awareness of his injury, ushered in by gentle and sincere excitement. I looked at them all with gratitude. After the flurry, Mr. Grass Oil went up to bed and surrounded himself with pillows in much the same fashion as I did when I brought home a son from the labor and delivery floor at the hospital and insisted on its sleeping on my chest for weeks.
It grew quieter, the boys were still pinging off the excitement from our arrival.
Nervous chatter, gentle taps from Thing 2. “How was your day, Mama? Was your drive home ok? … Thing 1 was mean to me, Mom,” is what I got.
“The day was good, thanks! You know, I read some of the paper, I went to yoga, I went to –”
“He told me to get off the PS3 when I wasn’t ready to…” he interrupted.
“After yoga I took the car to the shop for inspection and then your fath–”
“I was in the middle of a mission. I had my new cheat-codes book and everything. Just because he’s oldest …”
“I TOOK THE CAR IN FOR INSPECTION AND THEN I FOUGHT A BADGER WITH MY BARE HANDS. AFTER THAT I WENT TO THE HOSPITAL WITH YOUR DAD TO HAVE MY FACE REMOVED. ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?”
It’s one of my pet peeves. Don’t ask me how I’m doing, don’t feign interest in a conversation if you’re not gonna listen to my story. And that fight with the badger was epic.
“He didn’t even give me a countdown, like you do… He just came in and said, ‘Get off. Now.'”
“I saw it out by the garbage. It had already killed a beaver because it was wearing its pelt as its own, but I knew it was a badger because of how it loped and beavers don’t have claws like that. They’re supposed to be endangered… or something, right? So I walked up to it with my dustbuster and I said, ‘Badger, get your stupid claws off my garbage can. Now.’ And you know what she said? She said, ‘Honey badger don’t care.’ Just like that! She talked just like one in the youTube video…”
He started to laugh.
It’s how I try to defuse fights around here.
It doesn’t always work. Sometimes I get sucked in, like a hurricane feeding off the weather systems as it approaches land. It’s hard to fight that draw. To be able to vent whatever frustrations you’re feeling at the moment or whatever comes to mind, frankly, based on the energy of someone else’s rant on the sting of inequality. Single moms work hard. I’m just 18 hours into this gig and it’s not fun. I can do it, and I may end up enjoying it because it’s so early and quiet, but every day, even on the weekends? And those parents whose spouses are in the military… mad props, peeps.
It’s 7:03 now. I better go. It’s time for my official shift to begin. If Things 2 and 3 are late they make it hard for the rest of the day. Thing 3 is always the hardest to wake; he’s a night owl like me. Getting him a Kindle with a lighted cover for his birthday two weeks ago wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but it wasn’t the smartest either. Look at the book review he gave at 10:37 the other night which posted to my email because all the Kindles are on my account:
His little apple doth not rolleth far from my tree.
It’s 7:06. I better go. I don’t want to, but I have to. I have a couple more things to say on here, but I’ll put it together at another time. This was nice, writing in the silence.
PS – for being such good readers, here’s the Honey Badger video on youTube … it’s quite funny.