Last weekend, my wife took a “girl’s trip” with some ladies from church. She needed a break from the day to day WAR she wages with three small children (5, 3, and 1).
I have no problem with her taking these breaks when needed…in fact I encourage it. However, since I do not have “tiger blood” running through my veins like Charlie Sheen apparently does, I know that my care for our children will only act as a stop gap until mommy gets home.
She is an incredible mommy, but when she leaves, my job is to keep the babies alive, make sure they are fed, play in the floor with them, and don’t LOSE one of them. Other than that, anything else that they get is a bonus.
They know that. I know that. Everyone is clear. C-R-Y-S-T-A-L.
How bad could it be? She left on a Friday night, so all I had to do was to put them to bed the first night. Then, keep them occupied for one full day, and she would be home on Sunday.
*I can do this. I am a perfectly capable, responsible father and they adore me.*
Friday night was a picture of perfection as all three children fell fast asleep. An intelligent person would have gone to bed early, realizing that the kids will wake them up around 7:00 am. Instead, I chose to watch every sporting event known to man (east coast and west coast) and did not crawl into bed until a little after 2:00 am.
I had a bachelor night. Watch all of the sports that you want, wear whatever you want, scratch wherever….you know the drill.
About the time the sun came up Saturday morning, I hear my son yelling “daddy??? I want to go downstairs. Come…and…get….meeeee…..pleeeeeeasse (pronounced peeeeeeezzze)”
As I tried to pry my head off of my pillow, which by the way was covered in a tee shirt because my pillow case was dirty, I caught a glimpse of the clock. 5:45 am. OUCH. That hurt. It still hurts as I type about it. I was BEAT, but since my son is the apple of my eye, I decided to get up, take him downstairs, make him breakfast, and let him watch Finding Nemo roll back over and go back to sleep. After hearing him ask, and Ask, and ASK, and DEMAND…I finally got up and took him downstairs. About that time, my girls woke up and joined us downstairs.
They were all hungry, but we could not eat because we had plans to go over to a neighbor’s house for pancakes. The neighbor is a phenomenal dude…he also has three kids, but he knows how to cook, clean, and take care of his kids better than I do. He also happens to be a 230 pound Green Beret, so even if he were a horrible dad, I would never say such a thing…nevermind write it. My kids had a blast at his house, and we returned home around lunchtime.
After lunchtime, everyone was exhausted, so I put the clan down for naps and they slept like I had given them ambien. Relax…I did NO SUCH THING.
They woke up feeling refreshed, and we had a nice night together. I prepared dinner for them and they ate like champs. Then, they went to sleep without any issues again. This time, I went to bed almost as soon as they did.
See….the meathead learns!
Once Sunday morning rolled around, the clock read 8:30 am and when I was finally conscious, I heard everyone talking, playing, etc…..I had overslept and they were doing “God knows what” by themselves. I was relieved to find them all safe and sound and playing nicely together. I then asked them “do you guys know what today is? Today is the day mommy comes home!”
They jumped around like I had told them that Mickey Mouse was at our front door waiting to take them to Disney World, after an all expenses paid shopping spree to Toys R Us to buy some toys for their trip to the North Pole on the Polar Express.
I felt the same way. So far, I had done well. Nobody was missing any teeth, and there were no tigers in our bathroom. Little reference to “The Hangover” movie there…if you haven’t seen it, check it out…unless you do not watch R rated movies. In that case, forget I said anything.
We ate, and watched TV, and played, and ate, and ate, and rolled around in the floor, and took naps, and relaxed and around 7 pm….we heard a key penetrate the lock to our front door.
The Hallelujah chorus was blaring in the background as mommy strolled into the door.
It is at this point that I will confess something: I thought I had done an incredible job. I thought I had exceeded all expectations. The children were safe, happy, and content all weekend. It felt good that I had done it all by my big self, and I wanted credit for it. I wanted Laura to N.O.T.I.C.E.
As we exchanged small talk (“How was your trip?” “Good. How were the babies?” “Great. We are all glad that you are home.”), Laura saw something and posed a perfectly reasonable question.
What is wrong with Ava’s hair?
When she said it, I saw it….a huge bird’s nest in the back of her long, beautiful blonde hair…but my answer was “I dunno.”
“Did you brush her hair?”
“No, why would I do that? You were only gone for 2 days. It didn’t need it. Also, Cole needs a bath and his skin treatment because he told me his feet were itching.”
“OK. When did you last give him a bath?”
“Ummmm, hmmm, let’s see…the last bath he had…..oh yeah, you did it.”
“You didn’t give any of our children baths?”
Are you starting to see where this is going? The dishes that were in the sink Friday when Laura left for Charleston were still in the sink, but they were now buried under 4 layers of “new” dirty dishes. Our babies had not had baths, had not had their hair brushed, their teeth brushed…nothing. I am ashamed to admit that I genuinely just did not think about it. You would think brushing my own teeth or combing my own hair would remind me to do the same for them, but somehow it did not. What a moron. Of course I know children need these things done for them but for some reason, it did not occur to me at the time. W – O – W
Here I was thinking I had done a great job of caring for our 3 blessings from Heaven, when in reality, I did everything wrong except calling DSS and inviting them over for dinner.
Wow, they NEED their mommy, and so do I. God has given her special skills to take care of 4 babies – 3 children and 1 grown man who might as well be drooling on himself in a fetal position in the corner of his den.
I am so thankful that she got the break that she needed deserved, but even more so, I am thankful that God gave her to us as we could not survive without her. Our family doesn’t work without her…literally.
So, welcome home mommy…they all survived a weekend with daddy. Barely.
Now, can you wash those dishes and give them all baths?? Their hair looks horrible.
photo credit: Southern Light Photography