Who knows what day it is? For the few readers who look forward to these little musings, my apologies for the delay. I typically need to be in a decent headspace to write these, and like many of you, I've been a little on edge lately. Therefore, I've had to keep putting this off as to not seem so overtly jaded. It is sometimes comforting, however, to read of situations similar to that of your own experience. That is why I wanted to write this now. While we are all dealing with the pandemic in our own unique way, we can still lean on each other for support through social media and other digital avenues. This blog happens to be my forum so, feel free to share your experiences in the comments below. It is truly cathartic. Look, I'll go first: Last night, I had to work the late shift. I can never go right to sleep after working these hours, so I had a beer or two (my mother reads these, so I'm being conservative) before heading up to bed. I shuffled through the dark bedroom and into the master bath to perform my routine before hitting the sack. Unfortunately, while I padded my way over to the bed, I noticed a tiny figure sprawled out on my side of the mattress. My five-year-old was there, snoring away. Even though I was exhausted, I couldn't bear to wake his tiny, sweet face. I sighed and ambled out to the hall and into the guest room (which is still in mid-transformation, so it's just a mattress resting on the floor of the tiny room). Needless to say, I did not sleep well.
As the mid-morning sun broke through the blinds the next day, I could hear my children searching for me, as I was not in my usual place of rest. It did not seem to occur to the eldest boy that it was because of him that I was not in my bed. The patter of small feet ran up and down the hall several times before they slowly creaked open the guest room door, revealing my secret location. "Good moooorning, Daddyyyy," the oldest says in his usual playful and drawn out way. Then, before I knew it, he was on me.
"I'm up, I'm up," I say sleepily, lifting him off of me and running my palm down my face. "Go on, I'll meet you downstairs."
He runs off and I head downstairs (after brushing my teeth, of course), and both boys immediately start telling me everything that had happened from their perspective in the last 24 hours as soon as my foot slaps the linoleum tile of the kitchen. I honestly don't remember any of it because I hadn't had a single sip of coffee yet. The downside of sleeping later is that my loquacious young boys have their energy level set at eleven before I can even crack one. I pour my coffee and take a seat in my usual living room chair. "Want to go outsiiiide?" the older boy asks, hopefully. I take a sip of my coffee and look out the window. It's beautiful, but my wife already left (pretty much as soon as I woke up) to head to the hardware store. She wanted to pick up some things for a painting project she planned on starting. All of this meant I'd have to watch them outside. God bless my wife and her patience; she earns these brief escapes, especially since I'm still going to work while she's home all day with the little troublemakers, but I'm not ready for this today. Resigning to my fate, I get the boys dressed and take my mug and a novel out to the deck, hoping they will play amongst themselves and leave me be for a few minutes. Predictably, no such luck. They buzz around me like the mayflies that swarm our yard–asking me to do this, or that, or the other thing. All the words still feel like they are underwater. Through it all, I hadn't even finished my coffee, and I read maybe two pages of the novel I was looking forward to reading by the time my wife returned. Thank God! She immediately went to work, scraping paint off the front steps, and I (not wanting to seem lazy) put the remains of my cold coffee in the sink and went to help her. I rebuilt those steps and railings years ago, but they were looking pretty ratty after last winter. My wife wanted to remedy that. I don't have a problem painting (mostly), but scraping is tedious and incessantly boring. She did let me off the hook (tired of listening to me groan obnoxiously about it), so instead, I went to clean up some of the trees I knocked down earlier in the week. The boys continued to circle us, grabbing my wife's phone and changing the music she was listening to (again, she is saintly at times), as well as walking in front of the wheelbarrow continually, as I attempted to dispose of the yard debris–to name a few things. Eventually, the sprinkler came out. The sprinkler has always been a significant point of contention between the boys. The oldest loves the sprinkler and everything water-related, while the younger does love pools and baths, but hates spraying water. And hate is the appropriate word. The eldest child cannot wrap his head around his brother's refusal of sprinkler fun and forever tries to drag him into the water as the young boy screams bloody murder at the slightest drop of water on his skin, glasses, or clothes.
I've already opened a beer at this point; it's a light beer, and it's afternoon. I'm okay. We're okay. We're all fine. Anyway, It's time for lunch. At least it's a perfect day for grilling-giving me a brief moment of solace. The way my wife arranged the furniture and cooking space this year on the deck gives me a more serene feeling of openness as I sear meat paddies on the grill and heat sausages on the top rack. That tranquil feeling dissipates quickly, however, once we're all together again in the living room. The boys argue over who gets what portion of food, and before my wife and I can barely scarf down our meals, they are back outside–harassing each other.
It's nearly 2 pm, and I have to shower for work. Of course, the oldest is playing with the hose again while I do so, sapping any water pressure from the upstairs bathroom, forcing me to keep my shower brief. Once clean, I go downstairs to do a little writing before I have to leave. The younger boy is inside. "Why aren't you outside, bud?" I ask him. "Daddy, I don't want to get wet," he says, accentuating every syllable. It's adorable. "You don't have to," I assure him. "Just stay away from where your brother is playing." "Okay," he says, sullenly. As he opens the front door, I watch in horror as a vicious stream of water propels from beyond the door, directly into the bespectacled face of my poor four-year-old. Water is everywhere. The tears come immediately. My wife flys around the corner of the house and wrestles the hose from the perpetrator, who somehow thought it would be hilarious to spray the garden hose gun into the house, drenching his brother, and everything else in the foyer. I console the soaking wet four-year-old in the kitchen, quickly trying to dry him off. "Daddy, he got me all wet!" he wails, "I don't want to be wet." "It's okay, It's just water," I tell him, patting his face and replacing his glasses. "It'll dry in the sun." "Okay," he whimpers. His brother comes in to apologize (at my wife's behest of course and complete with a rueful little smile), but the apology is not accepted, which seems to matter very little to the older boy, who turns to go back outside. My wife fills the kiddy pool before removing the hose from the yard, thus appeasing both children. After a few minutes the youngest works up the courage to go back out, and finally, it's time for me to pack my dinner and head off to work. "I want to watch Daddy back up!" the eldest exclaims when I tell them it's time for me to leave. "Yeah!" the younger one echoes. I back my truck up from the bottom of the driveway and watch the boys wave enthusiastically at me as I drive up the hill and out onto our street. Grins like Cheshire cats. All is forgiven and forgotten between them. Funny how that works with young siblings. As for me, I need some more time. I wave goodbye and blow kisses despite of everything. I will miss them, of course, but I'd be lying if I denied the slight sigh of relief that left my lungs as I put them in my rearview mirror. I love those boys more than anything in the world, but sometimes its all a little much.
Stay safe everyone, and although this may seem trite, we're all in this together. Bye!