Monday, October 17, 2011

When in Rome

Not my husband - but you get the idea
So my husband is traveling this week and telling us just how much of a burden this will be for him. He will miss us terribly while he is watching HBO in a quiet hotel room waiting for room service to arrive. It is a cross to bear, but he assures us he will make it through ... somehow.

It pains him to leave us, but his bag is packed two days ahead of time, the itinerary is posted on the bulletin board and I think he called the airlines a half dozen times to be certain there are no delays or cancellations. He is planning on arriving at the airport four or five hours in advance because of all the security — you can't be too careful these days.

He will miss all the dance and gymnastics classes that "we" (and I use the term loosely) need to shuttle the kids to; all my gourmet Hamburger Helper meals; all the lunch-making and homework complaints; all the bickering about the excessive texting and time on Facebook; all the happiness that fills a home in which two middle-school girls reside. Can you say estrogen overload? OK, now say it while having a hot flash and watching "Dance Moms." Fun!

Look, I know traveling can be exhausting, but so can refereeing an argument between your 14- and 12-year-old daughters who are doing a little "smackdown" to see who gets to ride shotgun.

It's hard trying to determine if you should keep counting to 10 or untangle the hair that is now wrapped around the emergency brake handle. Sometimes I could use another judge. But alas, he's busy enjoying all that extra leg room in business class.

So I will trudge through the week, waiting for his calls when he reports that he only has a few minutes to talk because the champagne reception is about to begin. That's brutal. Who wants to go to something like that when you can be home checking your kids' Language Arts journal response? I'm so glad I don't have to travel for work. Way too hard.

Since I don't want him to miss out on all the one-on-one parenting fun, I am planning a girls' weekend away. I don't want to go — I will simply sacrifice myself so that he, too, can soak up the joy that eludes him during these obligatory business trips. I will call him before I have to go to the silly spa to see how things are going. "So sorry, honey, Felipe is here. I really wish I were there to see the music video the girls produced to "Boom Boom Pow," but I have to get this massage over with. Adios, mi amor!"

He'll hang up thinking how awful it must be for me and how guilty he feels for having so much more fun. Then he'll hit himself over the head with a hammer.

For those of you who are thinking I'm being sarcastic or facetious, you must have teenage children and know a little bit about the family dynamic that is so "special" at this time.

It is hard to be away from people who think you don't know anything and that you embarrass them with every spoken word. It is difficult to leave such wise young sages. How did they get so smart at such a young age?

But somehow my husband and I muddle through life, even when they can't be with us to guide the way and help us avoid doing foolish things, like walking beside them. I know what you're thinking: "But how? How?" It's not easy, but sometimes I rely on things I learned before having kids. You know, just some silly stuff that I learned from all those years in college and the 25 years of real world experience that I have. It's not much, according to my kids, but I get by.

So time is running short as my husband is packing some last-minute items for his trip — a good book, his iPod and his workout clothes. I will slip in a picture of the family so he won't forget all the fun he is missing.

Poor guy.

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