Wednesday, February 29, 2012

When He Was All Alone...

It's all I can do to hold it together right now.  I can feel it burning in the back of my throat - a scream - or a blubbering sob that would leak snot down my face - and I want to hit somebody.  Hard.  When you trust, when you just go on blind faith, the last thing you expect is to have that broken.  Well it's broke and it ain't getting fixed.

When the after-school program runs I stay longer at work.  It's simple.  My obligation to pick up my children is post-poned by two hours.  Their obligation - those fine folks who run those fine programs - is to care for my children during this agreed upon time.  If a program is cancelled PARENTS MUST BE INFORMED!

I am beyond furious.  It breaks my heart that my son came home to an empty house - because no matter the circumstance, I have failed.  I have let down the boy who hangs all his faith on me being there.  It is NOT OKAY that he had to knock on the neighbours door and be The Abandoned One.  That he had to call his father with a lonely tale of left-behind.  That his father had to call me panicked and anxious.

And we're all losers in this.  He won't go back.  I won't send my child to a place that leaves me feeling unsafe and uninformed no matter that they run it with the best intentions.  The whole situation is inexcusable and has twisted a knot in my belly that's all tied up in mother-love.

When I hugged him, when I sucked up his hurt feelings into my embrace and felt the burn of my frustration, when he tried so hard to be brave and "no, I wasn't worried" I felt every piece of me sing with the need to protect him, to bubble-wrap him from the world and it's disappointments.  And while he let me hug him - me more upset than him - what he was probably thinking now that all was fine was, "well finally, now someone can get dinner on the table!"

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I Won't Give Up

Sometimes something can move you unexpectedly.  You can be thinking you're having a perfectly fine morning and then BAM, Jason Mraz has got you streaming tears through your makeup on your way to work.

I've heard it before.  Just never really listened.  And it punches me right in the chest and I can hardly breath and it's got to be the most beautiful gesture of love I've ever heard.

I'm checking my face in the rearview, seeing the evidence of my leaking gleaming back from red eyes and I'm praying that I won't have to explain the morning commute cry jag to anyone.  I mean, that's just embarrassing - being such a sap.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pizza Means I Love You

They think it's for them.  And it is.  But it's also for me.  Because I'm a cheese-ball-romantic, a light-the-candles-and-call-me-Valentine sap.  I'm a cut-the-pizza-dough-with-scissors-so-it's-shaped-like-a-heart kind of goof.

But they reap the benefit of my goofery and Zander asks, "Can we do this every night?" to which I say, "Of course not, then it wouldn't be special."

They gather around the table and we snap our "Love Crackers."
"What is dis ting anyway?" Liam asks.
"It's got fireworks in it," I tell him.
Of course, the SNAP isn't quite the display he was looking for but he pulls out a crown and that gains a "Whoa!"

It's not an expensive meal at a fancy restaurant.  We're not dressed up.  The floor isn't even clean.  But I would dare to say that this is what Valentine's day is really about...just this...these faces...these smiles...

Monday, February 13, 2012

His Version

"You don't want to give Valentines this year?"
"Nope.  I want ta give dem cups."
"Yeah, cups.  Valentine cups."
So, with the help of his little sister he set about to make the best Valentine's ever.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hockey Night In Durham Town

We have now experienced a hometown hockey game.  How we've lived here so long without, I'm not sure, but Friday night found us handing over our twelve dollars and letting the kids run along the bleachers to the perfect spot - there where the heaters didn't work and our bottoms were sure to freeze.  It felt very Canadian - there among our locals, their "Go Whites!" and their mittens.  Our breath danced in front of our faces.  When our team scored Zander punched the air.  We cupped hot chocolate while steam billowed.  The kids ate 25¢ licorice sticks..."I remember when you could get a Twizzler for 10¢," their daddy told them while we waited in line at the concession stand run by a woman and a calculator.  They were bored by the third period but they'd go again - even if we embarrassed them by singing along with Thunderstruck and stomping our feet.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Better Than Chocolate

Almost done now.  Only a few more strips and it'll all be done.  I'm laying back in the dirt, resting among the filth after a moment of wrestling myself out from under the tub drain.

"Are you dead?"

I squint through the dust dancing around the work light and can make out his silhouette - there at the bottom of the warped stairs.

"Maybe," I tell him, lifting up the glasses so I can see him better.  They're covered with insulation dust and condensation.  I wipe them with a dirty glove, smearing the mess against the frames and putting them back on.

"You're so sexy right now," he says and I just lay there until he goes away.

Of course I am.  What's sexier than a wife who handles the crap jobs like a man?  What's sexier than a fourth time in the earth because he still won't grow a pair?  This is the longest, stupidest job in the whole world!

I refill the staple gun twice.  Then it jams.  I switch to the other one.  The older one.  The one without the friendly ergonomic handle.  Are you kidding me?  I'm already exhausted and this one requires me to use two hands in order to sink each staple into the stud.  I am grunting.  I am sweating.  Tears are leaking out the side of my eyes because the glasses slipped and my eyeballs are being assaulted by tiny shards of glass. I am puffing out annoyed boils of air and finally I'm bracing my feet against a stud to put enough force behind my two-handed stapling.  ENOUGH!

I am birthed from the earth, a heaving zombie wishing I knew how to hate him.  When I blow my nose, all that comes out is dirt.  I stand in the shower, back aching, steam rising, coils of dirt swirling around the drain...

And it's not even done yet - that stupid, impossible gun jammed too and I just threw in the the dirt and gave up because I was pretty sure I was becoming asthmatic there in the pit and it was already past five o'clock and nobody else makes dinner around here...

Maybe it was guilt.  Maybe it was the image of me lying in that grave.  Maybe it had nothing to do with it.  But I come home from work the next day and he's IN THE KITCHEN DOING THE DISHES.  WASHING AND DRYING AND PUTTING AWAY!  Be still my beating heart.
The camera flashes and he glances up..."Hon!"
"What?" I say, "It's for your own good."
"Why?  Proof that I'm not a horrible husband?"

"Something like that..."  Because the truth is, no one would ever believe me - Scott Rusnak washing the dishes?  Not likely.

He could have brought me chocolates but that would just make me fat.  Truth is, the only thing I wanted to do at that moment was hire a babysitter...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sick House

"Mommy, I need mowr water...Mommy, I need mowr water..."
It probably takes her ten fractured yells before I can pull myself from beneath the quilt and stumble in slippers to her side.  There are great chasms beneath her eyes, shadows of ill that make me call her baby.  "Are you feeling any better?" I ask her after I fill her cup.
"Not vewee dood."  And her voice is cracked and her little fingers stretch for love.  I gather her for a moment and feel the drifting of my eyes as three am pulls lids back towards slumber.  She suckles her cup like a newborn and rubs her golden head into the curve of my shoulder.  Her sleeping sounds like nightmares, in the rasp of soreness and the sigh of fever.  I hold her until my head nods to my chest.
I lay her back down, in her nest of pink and Dora and polka dots and she turns to her side, curling her hand into a little fist to fight the sick.
"Feel better," I say as I kiss her hair.
"Otay," she whispers, not opening her eyes.

But morning dawns and she's not better.  Three children line my bed with their sad faces, glassy eyes and clammy foreheads.  I make soup and jello.  I change the channel when they ask.  I make you poor boy faces and hand out extra hugs.  The sun shines crisp and warm through the kitchen window but blue skies don't brighten worn eyes.  I administer the medicine.  She licks her lips.  "I'm all better now," she says but her head falls back on the pillow and her eyes slowly close.  Even Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs can't compete with the need to rest.

"You guys need to get better!" I tell them.
Zander rolls glazed, over-dialated eyes, miming his attitude as he pulls the quilt higher...Right mom, whatever, what do you think we're trying to do here?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Last night I watched the premiere of The River.

I was so scared that I had to play sudoku on my phone at the same time so I didn't have to look at the screen.

I think I might burn all the dolls in my house.