Back in the saddle this morning. So much catch-up to do. The day was over before I knew it started... and then...
(cue: refer to "The Nights are the Hardest")
TJ was so wonderful tonight after things settled down around here. Monday is his day to be at home with his Aunt Dana and her 4 boys, who generously will make it their routine to make the half-hour early Monday commute from Wheaton so he can start each week in his own house while I kick off the work week in my office in Schaumburg. He's trying to make sense of this new routine, I think-- pretty "punchy", over-stimulated, rather abrasive... not "himself". Yes, he's only just 3. But I know my boy, and he's wrestling. Perhaps it's a little of psychological projection, (I'm wrestling, therefore I perceive him as wrestling as well), but not entirely. He misses his mommy. And he doesn't know how to behave in the midst of it.
But after things quieted down (around dinner time after Dana and the boys went home), and he had me and only me to himself, he graduated back into his usual thoughtful, inspiring, lovey little self. He was CONSTANTLY giving me kisses and smiling at me. We cooked a GREAT dinner together, thanks to the fresh chicken, potatoes, and asparagus that Dana left for us. (And a little help with some wild mushrooms and prosciutto I dug up at Trader Joe's on my shopping/re-stocking excursion on the way home from work.) We had so much fun, and he cleared his plate, except for a few bites of chicken I "helped" him finish. Then a bath that-- to his delight-- I ran WAY too deep (mommy would've scolded me). He didn't put up a fight as I dried him off and put on his jammies. He knew it was off to the basement for peanuts and baseball.
The Cubbies had the night off, so we rooted in futility for the Brewers to lose, in hopes they would drop another half-game back on our boys. No dice. BUT... TJ hit about a dozen home runs (complete with slides into 2nd, 3rd, AND home plate) in our side-game as we watched. Then we played a little band as I picked up the guitar for the first time in over a month. (The fingers are still tingling a little.) I think I sufficiently wore him out, because he didn't put up a fight even once as I took him up to his bed, gave him his paci (a habit I hope he grows out of so I don't have to "break" him of it), and read him a book as I rocked him in our chair. In the middle of our prayer after the book, he spontaneously began asking a lot of questions about mommy. Not totally spontaneously, I guess. He happened to notice a sweatshirt of hers that has probably been hanging in that same spot in the guest room-- just within view of the rocking chair-- for about 3 months now. He asked why it was there.
"Because Mommy doesn't need it in Heaven."
"Because it's never cold in Heaven." I of course had anticipated this question/response from him. "The sun is always shining, and Mommy is never cold. So she left that sweatshirt right there, because she doesn't need it."
"But how did she GET to Heaven?" He asked. He always asks his question as if it's the OBVIOUS question to ask... like the 800 pound gorilla in the room... yet they are always so beautifully spontaneous.
"God carried her in His arms. Like Daddy carries you up the stairs at bedtime. And He was giving her kisses on her cheek and whispering 'I love you'." I nuzzled him and whispered in his ear as I do when I carry him to bed. "And she is SMILING very big right now, watching us rock. And her ouchies are all better now!"
That was apparently a good enough answer for him, because he grinned behind his paci and just stared at the sweatshirt through his door in the other room. While I wiped the tears off my cheek.
He's asleep now. And night sets in...
Tonight I'm more pissed than sad. Pissed that "life goes on". Pissed at the stack of bills that awaited me as I walked down the stairs following that beautiful little exchange. Pissed at the insurance company and the hospital for BOTH informing me that a portion of some bill from 3 months ago is now delinquent because they can't figure out whose fault it is that one of Leslie's hospital stays wasn't pre-certified.
Spouses of deceased policy holders or dependents should be exempt from such bull*&^@!#. Oh... and we should be exempt from paying bills that were mailed and came due in the month that we were in the hospital and then retreating for "bereavement" or whatever. Oh... and we should be exempt from the flu. And bad weather. And telemarketers. And door-to-door salesman. (Guarantee that dude wishes he never asked TJ where his Mommy was.) (I almost feel sorry for him.)
Of course... then the tugging of the Spirit, and I eventually feel guilty and repent of my bitterness and lack of grace. What good does that do anyone? What good does that do me in my situation? I don't want to take it out on anyone, really. I just want a little escape. I really just want to go walk the dog and look at the moon and have a beer... but isn't it neglect or something, to leave the house unlocked and unattended-- if even for 10 or 15 minutes-- while your 3-year-old sleeps alone in his room? You know, he's fully capable of getting out of his crib by himself... and getting himself down the stairs... and opening the storm door... Yeah, maybe I'll just let the dog out back tonight.
Listen to me. This is "Day 1"-- in about 27 Kajillion (God help me)-- of "the rest of our life". And I need an escape. I just got back from a freaking 3-week vacation. And I need escape. The flesh is weak...
Props to you single parents out there who've been managing this way for years, and have years to go before you're visiting the grand kids and taking trips to Vegas with your other single-parent friends... (is that how it's supposed to go?) How do you do it?
I know, I know... God provides. In our weakness...
I seriously need to figure out a way to get the dishes done, the bills paid, the mind focused, and my body ready to sleep by the time I get him to bed. These nights alone just may take their toll after awhile.
Or maybe it's just a bad night.