And so to lighten the burden of labor on myself, I reluctantly answered, "yes."
This was the only clue that he would have about the remarkable weekend that was before him. I woke him up at 5:30am and told him that he and his carry-on suitcase had to be at the local airport in 45 minutes. I handed him two boarding passes, the second of which he couldn't peek at until he was on the first flight.
We had been planning for months, his great friend from college, Benom, and myself. We had exchanged emails and phone calls about backpacks and Nalgene bottles and extra clothes so the bears wouldn't pick up on "the scent of cooking" while he was sleeping.
This is not something that you tell a mother of four small children who is sending her husband away to the Smoky Mountains for the weekend.
He called me from the airport in Dallas during his short layover, and as excited as a little boy on his first camping trip, he proclaimed his
And that is the last time I heard from him until tonight. So I was not able to commiserate over the trials and challenges of the day, living in a new town, without a lot of friends to share the holiday with, and family that had other plans or had to work.
So let the Labor begin. Shortly after Caleb left the house, all four children woke up. And the short-order cook puts on her apron and prepares the oatmeal for Audrey. Then while simultaneously buttering McClaine and Avery's toast, I nursed Reece. And just as I finished, Audrey attempted to climb out of her highchair, covered with enough oatmeal to properly paper mache a life size human pinata.
I stripped off her clothes and threw them in the washer in time to get McClaine on the "big boy toilet" for a morning mess. Audrey, convinced she needs to potty train at the same time as McClaine, unravels half a roll of toilet paper and puts it in the training seat and then sits down and gives her best attempt at being a big girl.
Proper hygiene routines find two toddlers squabbling over the step stool to wash their hands and one topples off barely missing a plunge in the toilet, just as Avery screams for a second piece of toast.
7 AM. What to do with the rest of the day? The first day of four without my incredible husband and father of my lovies.
Just 30 minutes.
Maybe we should go outside, get nekie and make big mud puddles and use ropes to climb up the slide and just if, per chance, McClaine fell off the top of the slide, would I be able to catch him, while nursing Reece for the second time before NINE AM? Nope. And he fell and screamed his little head off, which caused Reece to scream her little head off, and just for funsy, Audrey joined in.
I knew I was in for a long, laborious weekend when I was preparing lunch for my kids at 10:15.
Picnic on the porch.
Begin the napping process at 11. Audrey first. McClaine in the crib (minor regression for mom's convenience- he has been in a bed since 2008), because he can't crawl out. Reece takes her usual cat nap for 20 minutes- just enough time for me and Avery to paint our toenails.
As every minute went by, I found myself losing more and more patience, trying with all my might to rely on the Holy Spirit and not my own energy, reminding myself of a caller who was chewed out by Dr. Laura for being grumpy when her husband went away for a weekend wedding. And it was only one o'clock.
Four o'clock on was just one long, loud blur. Feeding, nursing, bathing and bedding four children under five is a laborious task. I am thankful for Opa cooking dinner for us, and Oma washing the dishes after working a twelve hour shift.
You wouldn't think I would have the gumption to feed and dress my kids and make it to church by nine- but for purely selfish reasons,
But this also was laborious. So while three clean children tromped in the dirt of the driveway, I installed two car seats in my van, because, heaven forbid, Caleb take Avery and McClaine's booster seats in his car to the airport.
Have you ever tried to install car seats in the back of a van, at 8:45, in your pearls and stilettos, on an 85 degree Texas morning, while your children throw dirt at each other's church clothes?
It is really pleasant.
So, by the time we arrive at church, I am in need of some serious forgiveness and time of refreshing.
This post is getting laborious.
Fast forward to tonight when I finally talk to my husband about his awesome weekend.
"It was so wonderful, it was like we were dropped in a pristine picture. There were no mosquitoes, the weather was awesome, and there were thousands of trout."
"Oh honey, I am sorry I didn't tell you to bring your fishing pole."
"That's alright. I will bring it next year."
"Really?" I replied. "Next year?"
"Yeah," he said.
"Yeah. Your fishing pole, and your four kids."