This post is dedicated to my amazing and beautiful Wife. She is the rock of our little family. Thank you for spending the last three years at home, loving, teaching and raising our kids. You have the patience of a one legged man, running a marathon. I don’t know how you did it…
The house is dark.
I’m sitting on the toilet in my bedroom bathroom with the door open. My morning pee. Too tired to stand. One of life’s little pleasures. My wife is still sound asleep. My kids are probably dreaming of either lollipops or Swiper the Fox, tearing them limb from limb. From the sounds of it, today seems like any other day but it is not.
It’s the morning of the first day of school. I’m up before everyone, as usual. No surprises there. There is one very subtle difference that camouflages itself amidst the quiet. It’s only a detail that I will notice. It might seem small but to me it signifies a cosmic shift in my personal universe.
For the last three years, I have sat on the same toilet bowl; indulging in the same morning pee. From this vantage point, I have a direct line of vision to my wife’s side of the bed. In the first year, I was still able to see the time on her digital alarm clock. It’s the same alarm clock she’s had since she was in Junior High School. It looks like a miniature Boom Box. Its body is white and it has pink speakers with green trim. The colors always remind me of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. The dim, fluorescent light that emanates from the display, casts a soft green glow across my wife’s night table; making it easy to see the scattered Post-It notes and half empty sippy cups.
Sometime in between the first and second year, her alarm clock started blinking. The time wasn’t even accurate anymore. Probably the result of a power outage somewhere along the way. She never bothered to reset it. Why should she?
During the third year it became a running joke between us. The display on her alarm clock had gone dark for the first time in twenty some odd years, with the exception of maybe moving days or trips home from college. The truth of the matter was she didn’t need an alarm clock anymore.
We had made the decision (as we did with our first child) that she would stay at home with our second daughter until she was old enough for Pre-School. We thought that the school year preceding her third birthday was a perfect age for the transition.
I have to admit that I was often jealous of her and the fact that she didn’t need to set her alarm. Of course there were days when our kids would rise way before any alarm would dare yelp its morning buzz; Like a digital frog. Bastard kids. On those mornings, I would perfect the art of fake sleeping. A master of the Mexican standoff. I was in the clear. One of my perks as a working Dad, I suppose.
Now the day of reckoning is upon her. After three years of being a full time, stay at home Mom, it’s time for her to go back to work. To me, that seems like a big deal. You can’t just wake up one morning, after three years and switch it into high gear. Can you? Don’t you need some practice? Take some time and ease into it, no?
One week before her big day, I say to her:
“Don’t you want to set your alarm one morning this week and see if it works? Maybe get up a bit early to get your body back into the swing of things?”
To this, she replied:
That was it. Just a simple, “Nope.”
OK then. So be it. To each her own.
So here I am, sitting on the toilet, in my bedroom bathroom, with the door open. My morning pee. Too tired to stand but more than happy to sit, right here in my front row seat. Today is different. Once again, I can see the light of her alarm clock. Today it reads the correct time. There is no flashing. Only one minute to go…
I smile… This is going to be good.
On this morning, she just might be the one feeling Out-Numbered... Or not.