From the vault (Originally posted in 2010)
Last week J was in Costa Rica on a surf trip. He ran that by me one night when I was on my third glass of wine and he had just handed me a new pair of diamond earrings and I remember him clearly saying that on Wednesday of the week he was gone George Clooney would be coming by to babysit. Me. Not the kids. The earrings and the Clooney crap must have been the third glass of wine. Either that or I lost the earrings and George doesn’t have a GPS system.
By the time he arrived home in the middle of the night on Friday, I was in need of a dip in the lake of Stefanie. But. With him home helping all weekend, my stress level dropped back down to normal. Which means still high, which is normal for me. We had a nice weekend of family time and then Monday, a holiday, rolled around. Three glorious days of family time.
Except. Monday morning J informed me he needed some time to get ready for work on Tuesday. Hey. No problem babe. The house is really quiet after midnight. I didn’t say that. Instead. I took the kids all morning so he could work. Fry’s for a return. Costco. The grocery. Pouring down rain. They say when you are writing always assume that your readers are smart and don’t over explain. So. I won’t need to tell you about my stress levels here. Because. You already know.
Tuesday morning I had to wake Keenan up seven times, no one had any clothes, I had washed them all, but they were still wrinkled in the laundry baskets awaiting someone to fold them and seriously do I have to remind teenage boys five times EVERY morning to brush their teeth? When do they get girlfriends to do that? Oh. And. Colton cried hysterically for two straight hours because I am a dumbass and told him at six o’clock in the morning that we were going to the dentist. He is PETRIFIED of the dentist. Why. DEAR GOD. Why did I tell him?
J had just left for a peaceful day of working with adults and I was standing in the pantry staring at the vodka when I heard the beeping of a truck reversing down our driveway. Then an idea so terrible it was perfect formed in my head. Much to the boys’ horror, I dropped the vodka bottle, ran down the driveway and wrapped myself around Lorenzo, our fabulous trash guy’s ankles and begged him to, “PLEASE GOD take me with you.”
He gently unwrapped me, brushed the dirt off my sweater, removed a twig from my hair and in the kindest voice, encouraged me to go back to my family. “You can do it,” he said. As the boys’ stared from the door, I made my trek back up the hill. I stopped after a few steps, looked back at Lorenzo longingly, but he just gave me an encouraging nod towards the kids and I continued on. Ok. Some of that may not be true. I can’t lie. I never dropped the vodka bottle.
I loaded the kids in the car, dropped the older boys at their schools and Colton and I headed to the dreaded dentist’s office. We talked all the way there about the new toothbrush and stickers he would be getting and how cool it was that like his BIG OLDER brothers, he was brave enough to go to the dentist.
By the time we got there, he actually had a smile on his face. We got into the room and he seemed somewhat excited about the whole experience. They put a movie on for him, put on his earphones and Colton calmly laid back to relax and enjoy the ride. They hygienist began cleaning his teeth and everything was going swimmingly. I began to peruse my phone to see if there was mention in People magazine of George Clooney aimlessly driving through my neighborhood, when I caught something out of the corner of my eye.
The hygienist flicked a piece of plaque right into his eye. I watched it leave his mouth and then in slow motion, as I dove across the room to try and intercept it, the damn thing arced into the air and landed straight in the middle of his left eye ball.
To make matters worse, she went digging into his eye with her big rubber gloved hands. He started flailing his arms and screaming and all I could think about was Lorenzo. Why did he forsake me? Ultimately Colton cried the plaque out of his eye, calmed down and though I will probably never again get him to the dentist without a tranquilizer (the promise of a sticker sure isn’t going to cover it), we were able to finish the appointment.
But. Wait. That’s not all folks.
I managed to get through the day by reminding myself OVER and OVER that tomorrow was Wednesday and I would have five glorious hours with all three kids in school. Hang in there I said to myself every time I passed a mirror.
Around two o’clock as I was gathering my things to start the rounds of carpool and singing “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow,” I glanced over and noticed that Colton’s eye had a pinkish tint to it. NOT the one that had been bludgeoned by plaque. The other one. Upon closer inspection I saw goop in his eye. No. No. Oh God. Say it isn’t so. PINK EYE. Yep. For some crazy reason after a head cold, Colton gets an eye infection. What the hell is that?
I dropped to my knees, threw my hands in the air and screamed, “WHY ME?” Damn that Lorenzo. I could be knee deep in other peoples’ trash, smell like rotten eggs and be soaking wet from head to toe from the 50 inches of rain coming down. Why didn’t he take me? Why is life so unfair?
I pulled myself together, forced the dreams of trash collecting out of my mind and headed out to do afternoon carpool rounds. The rain was coming down like I had never seen in southern California. Carpool was a dumpster fire, Colton was screaming the whole time because I put eye drops in his eyes before we left and he was still pissed off. Keenan got into the car and threw a fit because I didn’t make Noah get in the back seat. Noah started mouthing off to Keenan, which led to the two of them fighting. In the car. In the pouring down rain. While Colton was screaming.
I pulled the car over, threw it in park and yelled one word at the top of my lungs. “HEY.” Then. Silence. Complete. Shocked. Glorious. Silence.
I put the car in drive. Merged back into traffic. And still. Silence. Then. I heard the tiny voice of Colton from the back seat. I glanced back to see that he had his hands folded in prayer form, his eyes closed and his head lowered. “Dear God,” he started. “My mom is mean. Amen.”
Noah started giggling in the front seat, then Keenan started guffawing from the back. I couldn’t help myself, though I tried. Because I was not yet ready to stop wallowing in self pity. I started laughing. So hard, in fact, that I was crying. Or maybe I was just crying. Not sure. Colton had no idea why everyone was laughing, but was thrilled that his crazy mother wasn’t screaming, so he started laughing.
And that is all it took to right the world. The running joke in our home is now. “Dear God. Mom is mean. Amen.”
My prayer is a bit different. It goes. “Dear God. Thank you for these fabulous children that love me through it all. Mostly. Thank you for their unbelievable sense of humor. Without it, they would surely run away. Oh. And one more thing. Please don’t let Lorenzo report me.”