I am both overwhelmingly excited and undeniably terrified. I don’t know whether to smile or puke. Tomorrow, I am driving my husband to the airport so he can embark on his first trip overseas for six. whole. days. SIX!
Maybe you remember what happened last time the love of my life went away without me. Sure, I can keep my act together for a bit, but come bedtime only my scalp will be visible above the comforter as I listen intently between my muffled breathes for the slightest sound of zombies, burglars or chainsaw wielding drug addicts.
But I couldn’t say no to the opportunity. Tony’s never been to Europe, and his employer offered to send him to Poland for a conference with all expenses paid. And when he wanted to tack on an extra day just for sight-seeing? They said no problem. He’ll be giving a presentation on something related to whatever it is he does all day on his computer and hobnobbing with lots of other people who also do programming things I can’t begin to understand. I could never stand in the way of this excursion, no matter how much sleep I will lose worrying about plane crashes, kidnappings and loose Polish women pick-pocketing his wallet.
We figured out the video chatting and he’s worked hard to convince me that Poland is modern now, so my visions of a dial-up network powered by hamster wheels is outdated. He’ll use his phone to update a temporary blog with pictures and details of his exciting adventures while I’m here doing all my usual mom-ish hooplah.
I’m prepared for the long nights of worrying. What’s gnawing at my insides now is the thought of the “witching hour” just before supper, when I know backup won’t be arriving by 5:45 p.m. I’m starting to panic about what will happen to our usual evening routine. Tony spearheads clearing the table (with the kids help), leading family prayers and reading a family bedtime story. I’m certainly not idle in the evenings, but the kids attention shifts from me to Papa, and I get a bit of a break from the constant “mamamamamamamamamama!” that dominates the rest of my day.
But now, I won’t have the Daddy buffer. It’s just me. Granted, I know my in-laws will be around more to help out, and my mom is coming in town but the dynamic in the house will radically change. I’m “on” 24/7 for the next six days. There’ll be no asking Tony to check on Fulton at 4 a.m. when one of his machines (false) alarms again. No one to wrestle with Bryon when his sisters start screaming. And no one to swagger up next to me, pull me close and tell me how beautiful I am as I sport my greasy ponytail and granny style night-gown. And then quickly pull away because Addie burst in the room announcing she can’t sleep again….
The goal will be to not allow my frustrations to overwhelm our limited communications. The last thing Tony needs is his snappy wife detailing Addie, Edie and Byron’s brawl on the deck while Fulton and Teddy scream in the background. And I’ll have to keep my nimble fingers in check to not leave snarky comments on every scenic photo he’s sure to post. “Pffpt, your exposure sucks. The sunset here was stellar; that is when Teddy wasn’t repeatedly stabbing me in the eye with a Hot Wheels. Glad you’re having such a great time. The children will be enrolled in public school by the time you land. Love you.”
On the upside, I should have plenty of time to write with the whole not sleeping thing and all. Stay tuned for the documentation of my gradual descent into madness. Friends, if I’m not at Mass on Sunday, assume I’m holed up in the basement with panic and come rescue me. Filthy children running around the yard at all hours are not a sign of distress; that’s business as usual, and probably a good indication that we’re all coping just fine and avoiding the nighttime zombies.