I got home from work late last night. Like 1am late. Of course, I couldn’t go right to bed so it was more like 2/230am that I finally was asleep. At about 5am Ava woke up and wanted milkies. At 630am Landon let it be known that he peed all over his clothes peed on the couch and peed on the blanket in the living room. At 704am Landon and Livi were both jumping on me with their little knees and little feet jabbing me in the balls, trying to wake me up. By 720am I heard Livi upstairs wailing that Daddy pushed her down when the reality of it was that Daddy was flailing in pain and perhaps maybe Livi was caught with a stray limb during that process. Finally by 830am there was no more denying that the end had come. Ashley turned on the lights and flipped off my blankets and declared that it was time to get up. Matter-of-factly saying, 1. I was to immediately get out of bed, 2. The kids all have full diapers (except for Landon of course) 3. Nobody has eaten breakfast yet and 4. She was hopping in the shower because she can’t be late for her dentist appointment.
It’s kind of like waking up on the day of your execution. There’s no hope. No talking your way out of it. No planning or plotting that might change how good or how bad the day’s going to be. No – the fix is in, bud. Your day’s gonna suck pretty hard and it’s starting right from the get-go. Did I mention it’s a day before Thanksgiving so there’s a hefty amount of packing and cleaning that needs done before we head out of town for a few days. Great.
I was able to adjust fairly well after about 90 minutes and five cups of Keurig Crap Coffee. The kids had something that resembled breakfast (Fruit Loops in snack cups and part of a banana), diapers were changed, and they all had at least shirts on.
I started folding clothes to pack and I began to realize that this dentist appointment was still going on. I texted Ashley to see what was up and she informed me she was getting a root canal. That’s cool. I can probably say goodbye to that Starbucks she promised to bring home. So I brewed a 6th cup of Keurig Crap and continued folding with Baby Einsteins blaring at volume 35.
By the time Ashley got home I was pretty proud of myself. I finally got real food in everyone’s bellies, everyone was now fully dressed, and nobody died or got seriously injured. I greeted Ashley compassionately and asked how she was feeling after the root canal. I decided not to ask about the lack of Starbucks and went straight into bragging about my progress on getting the kids ready and completing pre-travel chores. I was very happy with my progress and even happier that I could continue on my current course at my pace because Ashley was probably going to be docile for the rest of the afternoon to just let me do my thing. In no time, we’d be off on a fun trip out of town with Starbucks in hand to enjoy a nice little time off with-
“Did you even do anything while I was gone?” Ashley snapped, breaking my little daydream into a million-trillion sad little pieces. I didn’t even try to scrape any of those pieces back together because I knew that good feeling was gone for good. What follows is a painfully familiar series of events – it’s right before a fun family trip, and Ashley is going to be compulsively freaking out about infinitesimal details that don’t actually even really matter. The only unique little wrinkle this time is that Mommy hasn’t eaten all day and will probably NOT be eating anything substantial for the rest of the day on account of her happy little dental procedure.
The feeling I got upon realizing this was like that feeling you get when you’re cranking up to the top of that first hill on the first coaster you ride at Cedar Point. A deep, gut-wrenching pain of regret, remorse, how-did-I-get-here, unadulterated, anguish. Not only were we knee-deep in the throws of a family trip, during which we deal with the normal amount of crazy Mommy, we have now exponentiated its effect by ensuring that Mommy was very hungry and would likely remain hungry for the rest of the day.
I continued milling around the house trying to get the last of the chores done and find some sort of happy place amid the hangriness. Ava ripped off her diaper and spilled her poo all over the floor so I cleaned that up. Somehow the washer broke itself and the dryer wasn’t drying, though it is inconclusive as to whether or not the dryer was officially “broken” or if it was just “not working”.
I asked her if she wanted a sandwich and she said no, then asked if I was crazy and didn’t I remember she just had a root canal? When I came back downstairs with the last of the luggage packed, I asked Mommy if she wanted me to make some soup or something real quick. She asked if I was kidding and complained that we were never going to leave and, See this happens every time we want to do something important – you never get anything done. So I turned and started to put the kids’ shoes on.
When I was loading the kids in the car, Hungry Mommy asked if we were even ready to go – I didn’t answer because I felt that the answer was, well, self-evident. (That course of action was the wrong choice, by the way) By the time I was done buckling them in she was drilling me on what I had- and had-not packed and I started debating whether it was too early to switch from coffee to vodka.
Traffic was a lot worse than I had imagined and fifteen minutes of errands took more than forty-five minutes. First we stopped at CVS to drop off Ashley’s post-root canal prescriptions, then donated a basket-full of toys, then back to the grocery store for some snacks for the drive, then back home because we forgot the juice cups (For which I was emphatically reminded that I forgot the juice cups), then back to CVS to pick up the prescriptions. By this time, the kids were all screaming for something different (all of which were needs that could not be fulfilled while driving) and Ava was now waking up from the nap she was supposed to take during the long road trip that still had not yet begun. I asked Hungry Mommy what she wanted to eat and she said, Nothing – she can’t eat anything right now her mouth hurts worse than a c-section. So I made the executive decision to go get takeout from Noodles.
It took some convincing, but Mommy finally agreed to try to maybe take a bite or two. That first bite was like magic – her shoulders dropped and the crease in her brow eased. Her lips moved from a purse, to a frown, to a smile. And a wave of relief rushed right through the van. “Mm!” Not-So-Hungry Mommy said to me, then offered her bowl of noodles across the seat, “This is really good! You wanna try a bite?” So I tried a bite and it wasn’t really that good but whatever. The kids were laughing and playing with their toys in no time and I even soon had a Starbucks in my hand. Mommy cranked up the music and we were all singing and laughing together, on our way to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family.
While the day didn’t start out too great, by mid-afternoon we were on our way to another happy ending. And the Hangry Mommy will be quite well taken care of over the next 3 days as we will be trolling from one family function to the next, stuffing ourselves with all of our favorite foods. We’ll watch some good football and tell funny stories about each other. Best of all, I can spend these days remembering how thankful I am that I have a beautiful, happy family to sing and celebrate with. I have a beautiful, funny, caring wife in Ashley who doesn’t let even an impromptu root canal damper the festivities.