Tonight I was domesticated. Domestic. Motherly and wifely and happy about it. I seriously think, sometimes, that 17 year old me would punch 31 year old me in the face. Or, um, at least make scornful and sarcastic comments behind my back while smoking cigarettes and being all kinds of broody. But what the hell did she know, anyhow?
I got home from work and minutes later Darrick was out the door, on his way to his MMA gym, where he does jiu jitsu most Tuesdays and Thursdays. Truth? I wish he was home on those evenings but I also treasure those few hours alone with my kids and the TV remote. Sometimes I use the hours to watch Princess movies with Luca and read books to Rohan. Sometimes, we meet a friend and wander around Target with a Starbucks latte for me and a chocolate milk for the sprouts. This week we're feeling the end-of-summer-holy-shit-the-bills-just-got-paid-and-we're-poor-until-next-week pinch, so I cooked dinner at home both nights. Cooking dinner at home = domesticated. At least, for me.
This night, after dinner of leftover chicken and corn for them and a veggie burger for me (yes I do still count heating leftovers as cooking and think any person who works 9 hours, commutes 2, and comes home to care for their family can call whatever-the-hell she wants 'cooking' so long as at least 1 thing on the plate is warm), we had an errand to run. I had a reimbursement check I needed to deposit, partly because, um, I wasn't exaggerating about being Holy Shit Broke, and partly because we needed food in the house.
Here's where I get nitty-gritty honest: My husband gets paid at the start of summer, and then a bonus check. Because we're working on debt pay-offs, we didn't budget exactly as we should have, meaning we had a fabulous buffer in our account until the 2nd of August, when I was paid (and he was not) and ALL our bills went through. Including, as it stands, our most expensive utility bill to date. Did I mention that when we were done shopping tonight, at 7:40 pm, it was 114 out? We're conscientious of our energy consumption and used less energy this July than last, but rates are up so the bill was almost $100 more than expected. Thus...overdraft protection saved us until next week when we both get paid and can breathe (a little more) easy again. So this reimbursement check was important because without it we weren't going to be buying groceries. But also because I was able to deposit it tonight while Hubby Dearest was occupied and unaware of the danger of overdrawing the account, and then able to shop without him there to freak the fuck out about every nickle and dime when we needed food, dammit. Love you, honey.
So there is that. And that is why I was at the store this evening, carefully picking plums to buy since my kids love them and they were 79 cents per pound, and skipping the $1.79/lb grapes that looked amazing. And as I debated between the $5.99/lb coffee and the $6.99/lb coffee, my deep concentration (ha) was interrupted by my kids, together in the 'car' front portion of the grocery cart, laughing hysterically at each other. And in that moment, I wasn't poor or worried about money or stressed over my job or even feeling fat or tired or desperately in need of a cup of coffee. In that moment, I was domestic and they were the grounding forces of my life. Their laughter lit up my skin in a trillion tiny goosebumps, and I peeked over the top of the cart to see two blonde heads, bowed together in laughter. I was admiring the deep burgundy skin of plums and smelling the rich coffee grounds and imagining my kids and my husband and myself, sitting together at our little round table in our little house that never looks like it's out of a magazine, spearing pieces of chicken and corn on each others' plates, my husband and I sharing looks over those blonde heads as we laughed that secret language parents have when one of the kids did something borderline naughty but nonetheless hilarious. And it isn't perfect. I lose my temper. Someone cries and someone bites and sometimes the two are connected. There will be a melt-down before bedtime, and a college-try at avoiding sleeping in her own room, and sometime between 9:45 pm and 1:15 am, he will wake and sit up and cry, and I will run to replace his Boppy and pat his back so he goes back to sleep.
And already, two minutes later, both kids are begging to be set freefrom the cart in the store where Rohan would no doubt remove his shoes and incur the wrath of the manager who checks him for shoes every time we go since that ONE time he may or may not have escaped down the crackers/cookies/chips aisle shoeless. And I may or may not have thought it was fucking adorable, and the manager may or may not have looked at me with disgust and barked out some nonsense about 'safety concerns' without shoes. And I won't even pretend differently here, but will admit I was shocked that (a) he was mad about the shoeless young toddler and (b) he didn't comment on how cute my kid is. And Luca would try to push the cart and probably knock something over, so instead I go from stopping mid-store to soak in the music of their laughter to rushing down 3 more aisles at warp-speed so we can Get The Hell Out Of There.
And Rohan? Well, I got 2 out of 3 aisles done before he managed to sneak out of his seat, contort his body under the belt buckling him in, and lean out the side, trailing an arm on the linoleum. Which made me laugh, and there I was, back at Domestic and Blissed.
When we walked out to unload the cart (8 bags, a gallon of milk, and a 12 pack of soda for less than $60, thank you very much), we overheard a woman yelling at her husband (brother? boyfriend? chauffeure? poor soul who was being paid to watch her?) in the parking lot, and though I missed the bulk of the conversation, Luca didn't. And so I put her in the car and let her climb in and buckle herself, as is the Law of 3 Year Olds, and I went to the other side to buckle Rohan, and as I was about to close his door, I heard her say, "Mama?"
"Yeah, sweetie babe?" I said back.
"Why the fuck did he park so far from the door?"
"That, Luca, is the million dollar question."