Black Fried Day

“Soooo, when do you have to head back home?”

“Mom, I live here.”

“Oh.”

Today is Black Fried Day, that special day of the year when I start wondering when they are all going back to where they came from: the land of bickering butt faces. 

Unfortunately that land is HERE, where they were created and this is the gathering season where they conglomerate and feast off each other’s worst traits and cackle with delight. I have no one else to blame but myself for them being butt faces. Because their dad has been hiding in the bathroom pretending to poop for the last two hours. 

It’s probably just my pre-pre-pre to the pre-diabetes kicking in. Yesterday I ate all the food and drank all the wine, so today I am fog-brained, without humor or personal space. The happy glow of yesterday has worn off,  when a loud and colorful fight over the youngest using the oldest’s coffee cup for his hot chocolate would have been funny.

The fight interrupted crucial recovery time in my office where I was waiting for the ibuprofen and coffee to give me some hope of being a nice person today. 

Stomping out to the living room, I threatened to take the youngest’s technology away for the rest of his life if he didn’t stop swearing and smack talking at his brother. But when I looked at the oldest, I paused. Stumped. There was nothing I could do to punish the oldest. He already lives in hell, otherwise known as a corner of our basement with no door, while he ‘gathers himself’. 

Still, I felt the need to get him where it hurts the most (because that is what we do here). 

“Actually that’s MY coffee cup. ALL of the cups in the cupboard are mine. Except the one that is your dad’s. You’re welcome for getting to use them.”

My daughter, who was sitting in the living room ALSO drinking from one of MY coffee cups, said with a self righteous smirk on her face “Really mom? You’re only fueling this.” 

This same girl asked us yesterday what Grant and I talked about when no kids were around. “Do you run out of things to say when we aren’t around? Do you just go silent?”

The always witty fifth born said we probably just sit next to each other in our tv chairs and show each other funnies on our phones and guffaw. (He didn’t actually say guffaw-that’s creative embellishment on my end.) 

I imagine it’s probably weird for the kids to think we have a life outside of them. How dull for us it must be in their eyes. 

Little do they know we have a very cool life that doesn’t include any of them.

The secret society of Grant and Heather.

Picture us this coming Sunday night, the half three who still live with us have gone to their separate corners for the night, the other three finally gone to their home away from home. Me sipping wine from the oldest’s coffee cup with wicked pleasure. 

We both sigh heavily. 

“I miss them so much when they aren’t all in the same room.” I say. 

We sigh again. 

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” we both say in unison, Grant with a raised eyebrow and me with a knowing smirk as we hunker down all comfy next to each other in our tv chairs and start peacefully scrolling on our phones, sharing funnies and guffawing.

What’s Five More Minutes? (A Creative Reenactment)

Heather had thought there would be some breathing space (a.k.a. time to get some of the work done she was PAID to do) once she dropped the kids off at school.

Silly.

Within 20 minutes of dropping the three little boys off at school the phone rings.

Its the school. The one she was just at.

Her littlest one is on the line:  “Om. Un oth th thinth fel owt oth iy outh”

“Um, what?”

“I udent urt ut ad’s anna e ad.”

It sounds like he has marbles in his mouth which makes her think about the musical “My Fair Lady”…Audrey Hepburn…she was so beautiful…the rain in Spain…one of her favorites…she drifts off for a second.

“Om??”

“Oh. Sorry sweety. What’s wrong with your mouth? Slow down and quit talking like a weirdo.”

He clears his throat dramatically and continues slowly: “A iece um i outh a a orfaoanis ut in ame ow.”

Now she understands. The orthodontist put a metal expander in the upper part of his mouth to begin the process of getting his constantly moving little jaw aligned better. Something must have broken on it. “Did you sneak Laffy Taffy again? Is this why you are calling me and not your dad? Orthodontist stuff is a blue job. You know that.”

There is a long pause which means he is guilty.

“Is it giving you pain or are you just worried you are in trouble?”

“I’m worried dad’s gonna kill me.” It’s a miracle, the drama boy can suddenly speak clearly.

“Okay. Good. Go back to class. We will deal with the broken part and your dad later. No kid has been killed to date so you’re probably safe on this one. But NO MORE chewy stuff dude.”

“K. Love you mom.”

“K. Love you too.”

She hangs up only to see that there are three texts from her one and only daughter.

“I forgot to take my face medicine this morning!”

“What should I DO?”

“Mom! This is a crisis! Why are you not responding?”

Heather sighs. The medicine is crucial to her daughter. It’s getting her beautiful face clear so she can worry about other important things like when her braces will come off and how soon she can get contacts and pass her driving test so she can get her license and not need her mother anymore. Heather turns the car around to head back to the house to retrieve the miracle pill, dictating to SIRI a text:

“I will bring it to you after my 10 am appointment.  If you take it at lunch you will be fine.”

“Thanks mom. Loves ya.”

Heather gets back to the house to find both dogs guiltily lounging on the couches. The old yellow lab thinks she is in big trouble and starts coughing. Stress makes her cough more than usual. Then she starts shaking and needs some comforting. There was a time that couch lounging did get her in trouble but not now during her last days. But as Heather strokes and soothes the old girl she glares at the dopey black lab which is enough to make him shamefully creep off the couch and get in his $80 luxury dog bed.

Dog soothing accomplished she puts daughter’s pill in a baggy and TRIES to ignore all the dishes that have been left on the counter from breakfast but then does them. What’s another five minutes?

Dishes done, floor swept, pill baggy in hand Heather calmly heads downtown to her ten o’clock appointment. When she is almost there she receives yet another phone call from the younger boys’ school. This time it is from fifth born boy child who tearfully says he has forgotten his band instrument. Band is after lunch and he will get a bad grade if he doesn’t have his $50 pawn shop cornet to blow badly on. Seriously? Their school was four blocks from the house. But twenty five minutes from downtown. “Shit” she thinks but doesn’t say out loud. If she even speaks sternly to him he will cry which is embarrassing when you are at school.  Luckily she is still in dog soothing mode. “I will drop it off at the office before lunch sweetie.” and she hears her blue eyed blondie son sigh with relief.

Heather finishes her downtown appointment by 10:45 am and zips to the high school and meets her daughter at the bench and does the drug deal. Back to the house by 11:10 am she finds the band instrument under a pile of dirty clothes which she throws in the washing machine. The dirty clothes. Not the horn. What’s five more minutes?

When she drops the horn off at the office she sees that the littlest one is sitting outside the principal’s office. Again. She considers walking away but figures she will be late to her lunch appointment anyway.

“What did you do now buddy?” His teacher doesn’t understand his creatively rambunctious spirit and Heather is pretty sure the woman follows him around waiting for him to do something stupid.

“I was flicking my origami football across the room. A lot.”

“And THAT’S why you’re here? That’s seems like a silly reason to be sent to the principal’s office.”

“Well. When I got in trouble for that, my teacher told me to erase the board as punishment.”

“And??”

“Well, I erased the board like she told me too…”

“And???”

“Well I guess I wasn’t supposed to erase the stuff that had been up there all year, just the stuff from the day.” He is smirking.

“Sooo…I have an appointment at noon…you got this?”

“Oh yeah. I’ll be fine. There’s only eight weeks left of school. I won’t let her break my spirit mom.”

“Well. Maybe you should tone your spirit down for eight weeks. You erased the whole board on purpose, yes? What would happen if you did something like that at home?”

“You’d threaten to beat me but then send me to my room.”

“Yeah. Okay. Well.  We’ll talk more after school. I gotta go. It will probably be  an early bedtime for you tonight. Stop being dumb. Be respectful to your teacher. Eight weeks dude.”

“K. Bye mom. I love you.” His chubby cheeks face is all serious at the thought of how hard it will be to not do stupid things for eight whole weeks. Fourth grade is hard.

She drives away feeling kind of sad for him. But his teacher WON’T break his spirit. That’s the five siblings’ job. And so far they have only made him stronger. SIRI informs her lunch appointment that she will be five minutes late.

Heather enjoys a nice lunch with a long time customer/friend trying to ignore her phone that is vibrating and beeping in her purse. If it’s work it can wait till after lunch. But the way the day has gone so far she figures she’d better make sure there were not any more kid issues. “Will you excuse me for a minute?” She says to her friend. “I just need to figure out why this thing is so active.”

Sure enough, in addition to a whole bunch of work stuff, number two son is at job number two with excruciating shoulder pain. There are five texts from him:

“I have serious pain in my shoulder…”

“Hello? Are you there?”

“Is there anyway you could get me one of those warming pain patches and bring it to work?”

“Hello?”

“Ummm. Does this mean no? Thanks. Thanks a lot.”

And the school has called again. Number four son has left a message to remind her that he has his incoming freshman Honors English placement test at the high school at 3:30pm today. As though she would forget such a thing. He has major trust issues.

“Shit. I completely forgot about that” she whispers. Her friend asks if everything is ok. She grins. “It’s kid emergency day. It typically comes in sixes and usually happens when there is only one parent in town. There should only be one crisis left but number six son had two in one day so I might be off the hook.”

“What were you thinking having so many kids?” her friend asks her with a smile. He knows how much she adores her children.

Her phone beeps again. It’s her oldest. A simple text:

“Just wanted to tell you I love you mom. Hope your day is going good.”

She shows her friend the last text, beaming. “Too much thinking gets in the way of the creative spirit, don’t you think? I’m so glad I wasn’t thinking.”

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