Today is Anthony’s birthday, and this morning I miss dialed his number by one digit while I was getting ready and woke up a stranger at 6:30 in the morning to wish them a happy birthday. While I finally did dial the right number he was in the shower, but I did manage to get Isobel to leave a voicemail that said, “Happy Birthday, Dada!”
Tomorrow, though, is the day I can’t wait for. Tomorrow, Anthony comes home. Here’s how I survied:
CHORES I involved Isobel in daily chores (feeding the cats, folding laundry, doing the dishes, etc.) While this makes things take longer, is frustrating, and frankly, drains me as I have to keep redoing the piles of laundry she jumps on, at this point, it’s the only way. I encourage independent play as much as possible, but after spending the day with Grandma, she wants to be with me. And I want to be with her. So there we are.
Taking the trash to the curb and pulling it back in again is impossible. When Isobel is in the front yard I have to watch her like a hawk and hold her hand to prevent her from running across the street. I can’t manage the unwieldy garbage and recycling bins and hold her at the same time. We no longer have the crib set up, so I can’t stick her there, either. In the end, my Dad took care of this chore.
My Mom took one for the team by keeping an eye on the litter boxes. It’s very hard to change the litter while constantly keeping a toddler from plunging her little hands into the grainy litter. I managed to do it only three times these past two weeks, Mom has done the rest.
SHOWERS Daily, I took 3-5 minute showers. My hair is long and it takes a while to wash, so I only have time to wash it when my Mom comes over to play with the baby. I usually wash my hair every other day, or every three days, depending. (Since I got pregnant, my hair became very, very dry and no longer tolerates daily washing.) I can count the times I’ve washed my hair on one hand.
EXERCISE Working out has only happened when either Grandma had the baby or when Isobel was napping. I can’t work out with her awake because she keeps charging the moving parts of machine to get to me.
DINNER I’ve made a homemade dinner from scratch all but two nights. I am immensely proud of myself. My goal is to have a homemade, sit-down dinner with the family every night. And we’ve done it. Isobel knows when it’s time for dinner, and she runs to take her seat at the table. We’ve had fried rice, stir-fries, home fries, baked eggs, chicken, lentil soup, BLTs, sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, rebaked potatoes, roast beef, hummus, roast vegetables with yogurt dill sauce, and quesadillas. There have been some minor crises getting dinner to the table at times, but we hung in there and we did it. A few nights, however, I have to admit that although Isobel ate, I had to skip dinner because she needed me and because things had to get done. Like last night. I’m pretty ravenous right now.
I know that what I did wasn’t special, and compared to challenges that so many face every day, it’s not even all that hard. I have all my limbs, my illness is manageable, and we have a roof over our heads in a safe neighborhood. My baby is healthy and happy. On nights when I struggled with the loneliness or with the doubled workload I thought about military families and all the single parents out there. This is their life, making it work, day after day, slogging through the chores and the long hours and the snotty noses for what is essentially a thankless job. You are amazing.