The New Abnormal

July 13, 2006 @ 8:50 pm | Filed under: ,

(Before I start talking about the tremendous change in our lives that began today, I should just mention in passing that we live in a fishbowl, surrounded by eagle-eyed neighbors, many with guns. One of them, the guy across the street, is a cop. Next to him is a retired gentleman who spends his days sitting on the front porch lovingly polishing his collection of rifles. The guy on our left is captain of the neighborhood watch. Every time I sneeze, a chorus of bless-you rings up and down the street, because these people have their ears open. Just, you know, putting that out there.)

So. Yesterday was Scott’s last day as a stay-at-home dad. I wrote a very long post about that, about how incredible it has been to have him at home full time these past eight years—a rhapsody about how he was there to rock newborn Rose while I wrote Little House by Boston Bay, there
to grind up Jane’s chemo pills and hide them in spoonfuls of (prepare
to gag) ketchup, there to haul yet another load of spitty baby clothes
to the laundromat
and there for so many other things that I realized it wasn’t a post, it was a novel, and anyway he’d be reading it in a lonely hotel room several states away and that probably wasn’t a nice thing to do to him on his first night away from the family he is so crazy about.

So I bailed on that post, for now. Maybe I’ll finish it someday or maybe I’ll just write the book. Not anytime soon because now I am flying solo with five little kids and a house to keep very very clean for that buyer who is even now thinking if only I can find a house with a blue room big enough to sleep six children, and a cunning basement office with nice big windows and an attractive laminate floor, and an abundance of prolific berry plants in the backyard not to mention a nesting pair of bluebirds every spring and also many compassionate and watchful neighbors such as an officer of the law and a captain of the neighborhood watch…if only I can find a house like that, I shall be tremendously happy.

I didn’t do much in the way of keeping the house clean today for that prospective buyer who will be so tremendously happy here—but not as happy as we have been because that is simply NOT POSSIBLE—because I had to spend the first part of the day pretending I wasn’t crying because daddy was leaving and the second part of the day wiping everyone’s tears because daddy had left. We attempted to console ourselves by setting up a brand new blog—for daddy’s eyes only!—because yes, geekiness is genetic and my children have inherited it in full force.

Later I discovered that Elizabeth had written a post just for me containing that exact advice: blog to ease the pain of separation. She also recommends making a point of "sharing the minutia" of our days while we’re apart, which makes me feel much better about having already had nine or ten cellphone conversations with Scott since he left. Because, you know, how could I NOT tell him about how I was just heaving a sigh of relief over having gotten four out of five kids to bed with just the very sleepy baby to go when Rose burst into the room (catapulting baby out of sleepy into oh so very wide awake and waking up Wonderboy in the process) to announce that Beanie had just thrown up all over her bed. "Oh, and also there’s some in my hair, Mommy."

The good news: Beanie isn’t sick. Apparently she was just laughing so hard it made her lose her dinner. The whole thing struck me as so ridiculously funny—that my inauguration into flying solo should be a Yaya-Sisterhoodesque frenzy of scrubbing vomit off one kid’s mattress and out of another kid’s hair at 9:30 at night with a kitchen full of dishes waiting for me—that I was overcome with giggles, which of course set all the girls off and almost made Beanie toss her cookies again. When I left the room, icky sheets on one arm and bright-eyed baby on the other, the girls were arguing about who would get to blog about this in the morning.

Well, ha, I beat them to it.

    Related Posts


10 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Elizabeth Foss says:

    Can I just mention that I warned you about the throwing up thing about an hour before it happened? Never fails. Now you’ve been initiated:-)

  2. Jennie C. says:

    Separations are hard. It always takes me about a week to pick my self up, dust myself off, and carry on with something resembling real life. Still, there’s always something missing. I guess this means you’ll have to do the laundry now, huh?

  3. Melissa Wiley says:

    Elizabeth, yes!!! You totally called it. Which is part of why I couldn’t stop laughing last night. It was too perfect. All uphill from here, eh?

  4. Karen E. says:

    The throwing up thing? It also happens EVERY TIME we get home (in the evening, of course, when all I want to do is get everyone into bed) from a long trip.

    Can’t you get one of those nice neighbors to come over and scrub up vomit?

  5. Leslie in Springfield says:

    We’ve logged a lot of time with Daddy gone, and it never failed that the difficult stuff happened when he was unavailable. It was a running joke with my friends, whenever I’d tell some story about vomiting or getting medicine into a child with a twitchy gag reflex or whatever, to ask, “Where was your husband?” “Out of town.” Biggest event he missed? The birth of our second child, 12 days before my due date (he thought he had time to squeeze in one more trip…). Good thing my parents’ visit had already begun! I’m so glad Rilla is already here, safe and sound, and that none of the kids are sick. If you need help (even with vomit-scrubbing), let out a shout or a post. I would be happy to help out another “temporarily solo” mom. I remember those days all too well.

  6. kelly says:

    Distance is so tough, but it sounds like you have good plans in place for keeping it sane! Best wishes to you all.

  7. KC Powers says:

    Isn’t it always the way to have a sick child or vomit the first day hubby is away? This happens to us all the time. Hope the rest of the time is all downhill from here on out.

  8. therese says:

    Don’t stress too much about trying to keep your house sparkling. When our house was on the market and we had to move within 2 weeks, a realtor called from our driveway and said she was passing by and her client wanted to see our house. I was totally overwhelmed – my house was a wreck – 3 kids under 4yo, toys and laundry and mess everywhere and baby asleep in his bed. Under duress I consented to letting them in. But I would only let them peak into the baby’s room so as not to wake him. 🙂 Three hours later we had a contract. He said he could see it was a ‘home for children’ and had taken a couple pictures, called his wife and they bought it. Two weeks later we were literally living in another city. God is good! Hope YOUR separation time from your dh will be SHORT! I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM WHO STRENGTHENS ME!!

  9. Steve the LLamabutcher says:

    Oh, you have to so completely write that book! It will be the follow up to the smash best seller on homeschooling. I can already see you guys on Oprah, with Scott having to mind his manners and wear socks.

    The thought of Scott having to wear socks on Oprah makes me smile every time.

  10. Kris says:

    I spent nearly three months as a single mom (only to *two* kids under four, though) while we made a cross state move. It was Not Easy to be mom and sole caretaker, plus handle real estate and moving details. And my husband actually managed a couple of weekend visits to give me a break. I feel for you, but all I can suggest is to maintain your sense of humor.