My husband went on a quick business trip last week. I hate it when he goes away.
I miss having another rational human being in the house. Sometimes my favorite thing about him is that he is older than 8. But the upside to his being gone is the sense of power I develop at being able to run my household entirely on my own. I can get everyone up, dressed, fed, out, cleaned, carpooled, entertained, comforted, etc. all by myself. And even though single parenting makes for hectic times, I always feel supremely capable and accomplished by the end of the day.
Not so this time. In the first hours of his departure I ran into several situations that threw into question my ‘I am Mama, hear me roar’ attitude. The first was an abnormally large spider challenging my authority from within my very own kitchen sink. I do not like bugs in my home. I will dig for buckets of creatures in the yard, but I feel utterly disrespected and creeped out when anything with more than 2 legs walks into my home. So bug killing falls squarely inside the camp of ‘things my husband does’ (this is a really boring camp where participants spend days doing taxes and changing light bulbs). But he was gone, and the spider was very much here, so I did what any self-respecting, roaring mother would do – I drowned that sucker good. This is Mama’s house, do not mess.
I had nary a moment to pat myself on the back and do my ‘heebie-jeebie dance’ which is when I shake off icky things — kind of like the hokey-pokey but more spastic — when my roar was quieted yet again. My three year old called from the bathroom with news that the very full potty was not flushing. Now, I am no stranger to smelly things. I can change a gross diaper and not even need the heebie-jeebie dance. But I felt let down by the toilet that had just upped and quit on me without warning. We had a deal, Potty — I spare you from the children for their first 3 years and then you take it from there. What gives? Betrayed by my potty, abandoned by my man, and left with no choice, I rolled up my sleeves, and plunged for my life. Not on my watch, Potty!
Soon after, we got in the car to continue our Sunday of Fun. I slipped the key into the car and – nothing. I am told that the official term for what happened is that the engine did not turn over. But using official terms is for people who prefer not to embarrass themselves in front of mechanics by imitating the noises that their cars make, subsequently revealing their ignorance of how to pop the hood let alone name anything that lives underneath it. Suffice it to say that the car went ki-ki-chi-pi-ki-chi-pa-pa-pa and then was quiet. Now I can drown and plunge with the best of them, but I could not roar my way out of this one. I was stumped and defeated. But when I looked back at my children’s expectant faces I heard the words that called me to battle like nothing else could. ‘Oh man, I wish Daddy were here’.
I swiftly took command of the situation by acting in the manner of unskilled drivers everywhere who are locked in struggle against their automobile. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and at the precise moment that I started turning the key, I did a series of rapid fire ‘please-please-please-please-please-please’. And – Success! We took a moment to do our ‘raise the roof’ dance, (think heebie-jeebie but more circular in motion), and then pulled out of the driveway to my roar of ‘Daddy who?’
So yes, friends, I can do it all. I am Mama, killer of spiders, plunger of potties, starter of cars, maker of dinner, kisser of wounds, blower of noses, friend to the contagious and the all-around gross, and interpretive dancer/choreographer extraordinaire.
My wish is that one day the full range of my talents will be brought into the limelight and given their full due. Just once I would like it to be me who stands in front of the flashing cameras and the adoring crowd, feigning humility, saying something to the effect of, ‘Oh no, I only care for a small army, it’s no big deal, really’.
But I’m not greedy. I would settle for a minor disaster occurring on my husband’s watch that prompts one of my kids to whisper, ‘Oh man, I wish Mommy were here’.