On Monday I turned 29 for the fifth time, and I finally got the birthday present I've always wanted. Or at least the present I've been wanting for the past 2 years. I got a day off.
I've been really fortunate to have friends and family who love the kids and who are willing to watch them for an evening or over a weekend. But the weekdays come, John goes to work, and I start another routine 14-hour day of wearily changing diapers, feeding kids, and trying unsuccessfully to keep the house from looking like a demilitarized zone.
Monday morning I let John sleep in, and I had the kids until he came downstairs at around 10am or so. I'd like to say that I had no problems letting my husband sleep in and was chipper about spending my birthday doing what I do every day. But I was surly and felt utterly drained. When John came downstairs he told me that one of his birthday presents to me would be to come home early. I looked at him and cried.
Probably not the reaction he was expecting. I begged him to take the day off instead of coming home early. And then something happened that I had not expected. He agreed.
It's funny what hope and optimism can do for one's energy level. Instead of being (and looking like I was at) death's door, I suddenly bounded into the shower, put on nice clothes, and barely said goodbye before hitting the road. I felt like I had been let out of prison. Instead of asking Eric "Do you want to eat some oatmeal for breakfast?" I was asking myself, "What do you want to do today?"
And sadly... I really didn't know.
I decided to hit a bookstore and perhaps use free WiFi in a Starbucks to Skype some friends who live overseas, but the bloody coffee shop was full of retirees on their own personal computers and every chair was full. Huh. Now what? Shopping? Hey! The kids aren't with me! I can run errands!
Every person in the world with kids is going, "That's exactly what I would do." And every person without kids is saying, "Are you nuts??? Do something YOU want to do!"
I actually did go to places like Babies R Us, and then felt foolish after the fact when I called John and he mentioned he had taken both kids to run errands in my place. What a guy. After running around for a few hours, I got my second greatest birthday present- a phone call from my friend M who is currently in Nigeria. I got to talk to her uninterrupted for an hour . It was awesome.
I finally spent most of the late afternoon in another bookstore's coffee shop, curled up with a Stephanie Plum novel. A nice but misogynistic man sitting next to me decided to give me his long, but lovely theory on how children have gone to hell since women started working outside of the home. Had it been any other stressful day in my life, I would have stabbed him in the eye with my plastic straw and run him over with the double-stroller while screaming, "You do know I'm a woman, right?!" But I was feeling relaxed and happy so I smiled and nodded while thinking of stabbing him with the straw.
Unfortunately, the day ended on a sad note. John called to tell me Rachel had a fever of 104 degrees. 3 days later she had sores inside her mouth which means we have yet another round of hand, foot, and mouth disease to contend with. This time it wasn't from the play area of the gym but from the church nursery. Good grief, doesn't ANYONE sterilize play areas anymore?? Another 2-3 weeks of mommy being home-bound, and that's IF Eric doesn't get it again. No play-dates, no Bible study with free childcare on Wednesdays. What a pile of suck. I am now looking forward to one of my best friends coming in from Kansas City on Tuesday. I have this fantasy of John coming home early and taking the kids, putting them to bed by himself without difficulty while I go out to dinner at a restaurant without crayons. I keep sane by looking forward to these moments that come every so often. It's the little things...