November 08, 2008
As Ralphie so poignantly stated, "My mother hasn't had a warm meal in twelve years." I have seen the evidence of this down through the years. My mother, along with countless others, has suffered from this malady that seems to afflict most women who have given of themselves and reproduced.
In recent years I have begun to watch this same syndrome take hold in my own little world. Fourteen years ago when Patrick arrived I was the typical consummate father; I did nothing... The baby is awake? Well go get him... He needs feeding? Well go feed him... You're tired? Well I've got a lot of important television to watch... Don't get me wrong, I changed plenty of diapers and I did quite a bit, more than most of the guys I knew. I have been the chauffeur, school parent, problem solver and disciplinarian right there with her, at least until my ability to accept stupidity in stride reached it's limit and I would simply walk away from the situation, and expect Julie to take over.. She's graceful that way. My problem was that I just didn't think about it. No sense of propriety at all. What was important was what I deemed to be so.
The first real thoughts of this that I had came about when James was born. Julie had a rough time with the pregnancy. Patrick was easy, she only missed one day of work. James was a monster from the moment of conception.. something that still hasn't changed... Yet his strong spirit comforts me some how. Watching Julie's struggle in making it through the pregnancy and delivery made me realize just what this woman had to put up with. So I set a plan in place and stuck to it. I was simply there.
Julie was on maternity leave and kept up with James during the week as I went to work. I would take over during the evening for a while, until it became time for bed, then she was back on duty. On Friday evenings I took over completely, until Sunday night when bedtime rolled around again. These weekends were generally spent wrapped up in diapers, bottles, crying and hoping for sleep... oh, and James was pretty needy too. Julie hit the bedroom and wasn't seen again until Sunday, which was fine with me, she needed the rest. Truth be known, I had a hell of a good time.
When maternity leave was over and Julie was itching to go back to work and get out of the house, we did the alternating nights thing. I still kept the weekend duty, I grew to love it. My mother had told me stories of being up all night with a sick or ornery child, passing them off to the morning shift, and going to work. I became a veteran at this. I lived in the big, comfy, lopsided chair in the front room. I had pretty good experience running on little sleep, but there's a big difference between losing sleep over the eternal chase of women and liquor and losing sleep for the love a small child that looks to you for their every need to be met. Although the end result is pretty much the same.. Zombie hood...
Over the past five years the game has been the same as it was with Patrick, they are different kids sure, but overall, it's the same patterns. Where the ball is bouncing now is the "mama, mama, mama, mama, mama" stage... and that's just me.... When you add a surly fourteen year old and a rampantly active four year old to the mix.. well, it gets pretty steep. It's the male gene that can't remember what it is that we have, or where exactly it's located at the moment we need it, even if we, ourselves, put it away. It's also this same gene that makes us stand in the middle of the room and break into a snarling fit when only one damn sock is located, blaming the little demons from walmart for following you home can only go so far.
These constant needs to be helped cause the dreaded phrase, "Mooooooooommm!" to pierce throughout the house at all hours of the day. Yes, I myself say that now, just so she will listen, she's become seemingly deaf to the call of her name, or the sound of my voice... She has but one request... "Just let me have five minutes so I can read more than one paragraph, PLEASE!"
I will run her out of here from time to time so she can gain these precious moments in the cave like solitude of the bedroom. That is bittersweet for two reasons, one - I can't see her - yes I'm infatuated, I admit it.... And two - she falls asleep in the quiet and still doesn't get past that one damn paragraph. Things have been rolling at full speed for some time so it's been hectic, yet pleasant. The list of priorities have shifted and it feels right. Karmic wheels do at last seem to be swinging toward a good direction. Yet there is still work to be done to shift imaginary responsibilities from Julie to the actual people who need things and can simply put forth a bit of effort to find the shit for themselves, but it's coming around...
Outlooks and attitudes have changed quite a bit over the last year, there seems to be an air of love and tolerance. Endless streams of talking heads on the television have been replaced with a loud raucous need for music, spidery evil gits have been replaced by people who radiate love and hold friendships close to their hearts where they deserve to dwell. Fences long unattended have been repaired. Fun, laughter and life seem to be everywhere. All it took was for eyes to be opened and hearts to listen, that was it, pretty simple stuff when you get right down to it.