Aaahhhhh Saturdays, or Sundays for that matter. The time when a man gets to stop working for the man and do what he wants to do. It’s the time for self fulfilment, relaxation, or just plan ol’ leave-me-the-hell-alone “me” time. On the Seventh day (or sixth, I swear to God I’m not choosy), he rested….
Ya, sure! That’s all fine and good if you’re single, or perhaps married to an independent woman who understands the sentiment above and appreciates a balance between couple time and individual time, and the critical need for both–yes, both!. Regardless, you’ve got to be childless. If you’ve got (a) kid(s), you might as well just forget about ANY “me” time. Don’t pine for it, don’t think about it, don’t hint at it (that will just cause a fight), accept it, it’s gone. It’s a distant memory of youth to be fondly remembered like watching a wet T-shirt contest on spring break, playing X-Box all night, beer pong, or sleeping in past 0600. Thinking about it will only make you feel worse. I have to think it’s something like joining the priesthood (better analogy than you think). I.e. you better not look or even think about the forbidden fruit that is a female’s anatomy because you’ll drive yourself into a crazy deep depression.
I used to play hockey, I have a workshop in my garage, I just got a new X-Box game for X-mas… Do I have any time for any of that? Not even a little bit. I did just make a batch of home-brew, but I’m still at a loss as to how I was able to do that. I did of course have a few boil overs, and F-ed a few things up, because right in the middle of it at a critical juncture, I hear, “John” (long drawn out, upward inflection) repeated several times. I answer, “what?,” but I know that’s not going to do it. For the uninitiated, when you are a dad, and you hear your name called, you might as well add-on the implied, “come!” as if you were a dog. After all, the pre-child portion of your marriage before you have kids is basically obedience school. Once you have proven your propensity and eagerness to obey, you are clearly ready. So, I run upstairs (it truly is a wonder I’m not in waaaay better shape), sit, smile, and wait for my next command. And then the question comes, “Would you like to (put him down), (go see what she wants), (talk about our plan for next few weeks), (etc…)?” I give my wife all the credit for trying to be sweet about it, but the overwhelmingly obvious answer is no. Actually, it’s F no, I don’t want to. As marriage communication is at least 60% implied tasks, and I have learned that such questions are really orders (see obedience school above), I forget about MY enjoyable endeavor and get back to work like a good boy. That’s the least I can do for her, after all she’s slaved away over the kids all week, while I’ve had the week “off” while at work.
And that’s the point isn’t it? I fully understand that my kids (the toddler mostly) is several handfuls (think that used to be such a wonderfully pleasant euphemism), and that my wife’ s job is demanding and exhausting. But, D it, so is mine, and it’s really really tough to wake up every Saturday and Sunday with the sobering reality that my second job awaits, and I’m the weekend shift.
Yesterday (Saturday) was the perfect example. I had been TDY (temporary duty–business trip, and by no means a vacation) trying a pretty complicated case which kept me up till 22-2300 each night, and forced me to be at top mental focus for very long periods of time. I flew home, went to physical training (0600) the next day and finished out the work week. My daughter, A, woke us up at 0530. I look over at my wife, but I can just tell from her body language that this one is on me if I’m hoping to have a nice day. I try to get my daughter back to sleep, but that’s not going to happen, and after getting out of my warm comfortable, firm, inviting, wonderful mattress every 10 minutes for an hour, I just say F it, get the little brat up, and head downstairs. I turn on the T.V., try to keep my brain turned off while making breakfast, but I see the laundry, dishes, other s lying around, and it’s just so nice when I think of those things on my own.
After the sun finally came up, we decided to make a day of it running errands (day of it means trying desperately to get home before my daughter, A’s, 1300 nap that there’s a 4 in 5 chance she’s not going to take). It was actually going to be a nice little Saturday, we planned on going to Costco to see if they had any time-eating, attention-grabbing, self-reading, princess books in an effort to make our impending six-hour flight bearable for everyone else on the plane (won’t be for us no matter what), Babies R Us, and maybe Fred Meyer, but I just didn’t know if there was going to be enough time.
All in all, my daughter told me she didn’t love me, made a huge scene in Costco when I told her she couldn’t have that sample (no I didn’t give in and give it to her), grabbed everything we passed, harassed her brother in his car seat waking him up, and so thoroughly pissed my wife and I off that she and I ended up at each other’s throats for the whole drive home.
We made angry lunches in complete silence, then I put my daughter, A, down while my wife nursed my son, J, and put him down (thank God I don’t lactate, cause that would be just one more weekend job for me). Finally, I went downstairs, made up with my wife, C, as best I could, and settled in for what I hoped would be a few hours of T.V. watching, web browsing, or whatever my now quite limited imagination could conjure. That lasted ohhhhhhh, 25 minutes. My son, J, S’ed himself, and would not go to sleep, A sounded like she was training elephants in her room, and before long, they were both up and once again demanding my time. (lesson of the day: don’t tell your wife that not having any time to yourself is unacceptable, and the kids will just have to wait–didn’t end well). My wife, the wonderfully thoughtful person she is (no really, she is) was delivering a homemade meal to another Army wife that had just given birth. Mercifully, she took my daughter, A, with her leaving me and my son, J, here alone. It was at that time I wrote the “about” section on this Blog, and that was done trying my best to tune out the constant fussing and whining he was making lying on his blanket right next to me. I hear Navy Seals are sometimes made to listen to baby cries for hours on end to help train for captivity and build mental tolerance. If that’s the case, I’m ready for BUDS right now, because I’d ace that evolution.
Anyway, after my wife, C, got home, she hinted at a brownie mix run, and I was all too happy to volunteer as that meant I would be able to replenish my defunct beer supply. Then she said, “Why don’t you take A with you.” While I could and can think of at least 99 different answers to that question, I scooped up the whinny little S, buckled her in the old family truckster and headed to Wal-Mart. On the way there, I had the opportunity to listen to a little 80’s rock, and fired it up. That was short-lived however, because not a few seconds in to the first refrain of Bon Jovi’s “Cowboy,” she was pestering me for her songs that are conveniently/ unfortunately loaded into the C.D. player. When I told her to have patience, she explained that she had in fact left them at home. At that moment I was reminded of the fact that her life expectancy is more than likely directly linked to her cuteness, because while I just wanted to introduce her cheek to the back side of my hand (I have never, would never, could never do such a think, but it’s much like seeing an armored truck with the back end open after you just got done drooling over that $3000 60″ TV you’d never have time to watch, you can’t help but fantasize every now and again), I had to laugh, because in all fairness, it was pretty funny.