He left for the other coast on July 13, which is to say: a hundred years ago. Here are just a few of the things I’ve learned in the past month of temporary single parenting:
• Check your gas tank, because no one else will.
• The second your husband leaves, every hard-to-reach light bulb in the house will burn out in despair. He’s GONE?? Oh, woe! Henceforth shall I shine no more! :::pop:::
• You and your five children will never, ever be on time for church.
• But laundry is easy, if you know the secret.
• The days will be long, and yet every Wednesday morning you will swear it has only been ten minutes since the LAST time you woke up in a panic because the garbage trucks were driving by your house and you forgot to put the trash out again.
• Except for the week you remember to put it out early, because that will be the week the waste disposal company decides to change its pickup day to Monday, which means you have already missed it again.
• You will not turn on the TV all month, because there is nothing to watch worth watching alone.
• If you post too many pictures of the baby doing new and adorable things, you will break his heart.
• If you do not post them, you will also break his heart.
• You will attempt to take your mind off how much you miss him by introducing your children to all the showtunes you never played while he was around because they drive him crazy.
• It won’t work.
• But the kids will think you are the coolest mom ever, because you know all the words to every song in Annie. And Fiddler on the Roof. And Les Miz. And Snoopy. But not Oklahoma, because that wouldn’t be cool.
• You will be shocked to discover how many different things in your house run on batteries—batteries which have apparently made a suicide pact with the light bulbs. You will begin to wonder how your husband ever had time to get any work done, what with all the shopping for and replacing of light bulbs and batteries he must have been doing when you didn’t notice.
• Sooner or later there will come a night when it takes you until 10:30 to finally get all the kids in bed, and afterward you will pace the house like a caged tiger because you NEED CHOCOLATE and you are OUT. You are out, of course, because you ate every bit in the house, right down to the bag of chocolate chips that was supposed to become cookies for your neighbor. (When you write about it, you will hope that your neighbor does not read your blog.) You’ll be on the phone with your husband and he’ll want to know what on earth is making that sound in the background, like the sound of kitchen cabinets being ripped out of the wall and shaken upside down. And you will explain that you are OUT OF CHOCOLATE. These are words that must always be said in capitals all the time because they are TRAGIC.
There will be a short silence on his end of the phone, and then he will say in a voice so tender it makes you want to cry (or else eat a lot more chocolate): "Go look in my office. On the shelf."
And you will find there what he stashed away for you before he left, because he knew this day would come, and he will never, ever let you down.
How does he love me? Let me count the bars.
Goodbye, Almost Heaven–Hello, West Virginia
My Birthday Boys
Rose petal, rock, leaf, bat
high-tide highlights, week of may 8