Friday, October 10, 2008

The State of the Spouse

Remember Head Cold?

He of mercurial wit, who took Merrick by the hand and led him through 14 days of sickness? Endurance finally failed and Head Cold sighed, leaned against a wall and let little Merrick go. In the interim, there were 9 out of 10 school days with NO SCHOOL for the 5 year old.

The Matron barely noticed.

You see, Merrick is John's child. When the Matron tries to comfort her son, he says: "Where's Daddy?" The Matron asks Merrick if he wants dinner, a cookie, a new pony? "Will Daddy give it to me?"

Just this morning, the Matron said to her youngest: "Will you cuddle with your mama?"

Merrick: "If Daddy's not thewe."

So the Matron knows how lucky she is, thus mated.

Still.

The other day, she dined Out with several friends, middle-aged mamas in marriages that are well-aged. Ripe enough the danger of disease is there, the fetid edge. (she loves that word, fetid)

Near the end of the evening, came Wifely Complaint. Who cleans the toilet? Does the husband dump out the towel drawer and wipe underneath? When was the LAST TIME HE wiped the bottom of the cupboard with the garbage?

The Matron has her own relationship with these questions.

Was this last year? Six months? Or more?

John was "On Kid Duty," shuffling the crew out the door to school.

The Matron queried: "Do you have the note for the gym teacher about loaning our tennis rackets on October 15? Does Scarlett have an extra snack for Eleanor because Eleanor likes chocolate cookies? Why don't you have Merrick's yellow jacket instead of the white because yellow is his favorite color and did you know that Scarlett's substitute teacher needs volunteers to cut out templates for the third-graders? And Stryker has a playdate with Henry after school so you need to call his mom and write a note for the teacher, only the Dad is picking them up and it's library day for Merrick, Scarlett's math isn't correct and Stryker needs to turn in a permission slip for next Thursday's field trip."

To this, John turned and -- shall we say, Clarified:

I am not hard-wired that way. Make me a list. But on my own, I will never remember the note for the gym teacher about loaning our tennis rackets on October 15? Or that Scarlett has an extra snack for Eleanor because Eleanor likes chocolate cookies? I don't have Merrick's yellow jacket instead of the white because yellow is his favorite color and I didn't know that Scarlett's substitute teacher needs volunteers to cut out templates for the third-graders. And Stryker has a playdate with Henry after school so I need to call his mom and write a note for the teacher, only the Dad is picking them up and it's library day for Merrick, Scarlett's math isn't correct and Stryker needs to turn in a permission slip for next Thursday's field trip? This is news to me. Write it down and I'll get it. But if you expect me to be like this -- like you--you'll always be disapointed."

Click, click, light bulb, light bulb.

But today.

She knows he won't remember the blue t-shirt is special or that Stryker gives fruit snacks to his friend in the lunch room. And he'll be there every second for the sick kid, holding the hand and wiping the nose.

But.

Today, her dear husband forgot to pick up the children from school until the school secretary called to remind him.

12 comments:

Cherish said...

My second child is not mine either. He has been his dad's since he was born and to this day there is nothing I can do or say to change that. His dad lives in another house now though and only sees him twice each month. Crappy how that turned out.

I think forgetting to pick up the kids trumps cleaning out the garbage cupboard anyday!

smalltownmom said...

My younger son and I have an agreement... I can forget him ONCE...( usually on the early release day)...otherwise I am in trouble with him.

Last year he could call me on his cell phone if there was a problem. This year, cell phones are banned at his school. Helps teachers...obstructs parents. AAArrrggghhh.

thefirecat said...

Um, oops?

Heather said...

No matter how well my husband manages day-to-day aspects of parenthood he will still not grasp the full effect of mommyhood. He does not need to know when the children need to visit the doctor, the dentist etc. He doesn't know all their friends' names. He doesn't know the favorite toys or foods or shirts.

But they will always choose him first. At least the older two do. The baby still thinks the sun rises and sets with me (or the milk producers at least). So there's that.

Becky said...

Oopsy! And a sweet post.

justhay said...

I was forgotten at least twice a week. I survived. Kind of. I'd still keep him around...sick kids? My man won't go within 10 feet of them. But I keep him around, he does all that fun stuff that I am to busy/tired/crazy to do. It works.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

And do the nieces and nephews and Other People's Children like him better even though it is The Matron who remembers every child's birthday and always finds just the right Christmas gift?

I suspected as much.

Former Minnesota Maiden said...

Beautiful photo at the top of your blog. I sure do miss Minnesota!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Picking up the children must not have been on the list.

Daisy said...

parenting: never a dull moment.

Irene said...

Father's are so incredibly huggable and lovable and cool and intelligent. Didn't you know that? I was my father's child too, although he would have forgotten me too if my mother had not reminded him. I would have found my way home, though.

Swistle said...

All of my kids belong to their father as soon as they're not little tiny babies anymore. But my youngest is even more his dad's. He barely gives me the time of day if Daddy is home.