Sometimes I get frustrated because B&B can’t read my mind. I don’t truly think he should be able to read my mind. Not the obscure things like my silk sleeveless blouse has been at the cleaner’s for 6 months. But there are certain…more obvious…things I think go without saying.
B&B: “I have to tell you, I am so ffff…I am so angry that I can’t get this MMA event on network TV!”
Me: Attempting to remove the sarcasm from my voice, “Oh, I feel terrible for you…for US, that we can’t stay up until 1AM and watch those cage fights together.”
I keep my eyebrows high, and I smile and nod…not in agreement, but in a congratulatory manner. He just tripped on a curse. And caught himself before using the F word in front of all of our eavesdropping offspring. This is good because school (and most of society) frown on a 3 year old peppering his learning of the ABC’s with f bombs.
Verb: “H, I, J, K, L and M and P. Ah, fuck, I forgot the N. Huh? And the O? Let’s take it from the top, OK?”
This is hypothetical. To my knowledge, it hasn’t happened. Yet.
We recently had one of those moments. A bad one. A failure to communicate? Doubtful. An unspoken understanding between parents? Probable. B&B feels I should have explicitly communicated my thoughts…and I feel this is a case in which his common sense should have dusted itself off and come out for a cameo.
But maybe I’m overreacting.
B&B is a busy guy. Busy hands, busy thoughts. Relaxing doesn’t come easily to him. There is always some project he has going on around the house, which is good because he likes to stay busy. He mutters around the house on the weekends….“I need to rewire this…I need to replace the valve on that…I need to replace that toilet, I’ve been meaning to do that. I need to get on the picnic table, then get on the ladder to trim those cypresses…I need to track down my sawzall. Do you know who borrowed my sawzall, Beth?” Busy, busy. Meanwhile, I just nod in agreement and stay out of his way.
Oh, and I make sure his life insurance payments are made on time.
This busy-ness is fine with me because he likes his projects. Keeps his mind sharp. This is not fine with the kids because they want B&B to play with them. All weekend long. Particularly Waldorf. That boy loves his Daddy. Pure worship. B&B forgets sometimes that he has 4 little men who watch and imitate his every move. So, when the holidays were approaching, and the time had rolled around for the annual hanging of the lights, I pulled B&B aside…
B&B: Anxious, “What, am I in trouble? What did I do? You’re not going out today, are you? Don’t leave me alone with these idiots. I have things I need to do. And I’m on a roll here, so let me get to it.”
Me: Shaking my head, “No, you’re not in trouble. No, I’m not going anywhere today. I was just going to suggest that you invite Waldorf outside to do the lights with you. He needs some Dad time. I know you could do it faster working alone, but he’ll feel like a superstar if you allow him to help you.”
B&B: Pensive, “What should I have him do?”
B&B likes to give our house the “Boathouse Row” treatment, trimming the entire house in white lights. It’s quite a process. It involves a great deal of climbing, walking on the roof (in B&B’s case, it’s never walking, it’s always upright jogging, all 6’2 of him), hundreds of clips, at least 20 strands of lights, more cursing than I’ve heard since watching Eddie Murphy Raw. And…wait for it…the handmade map. The coveted map. He misplaces the map each year and is forced to make a new one. Every year, after having been on the roof for the better part of 6 hours, he storms back inside, blaming 4 of those hours on rewriting this year’s map. Last year, I had a moment of genius, and stored the map with the indoor holiday decorations. My territory. It took me 90 seconds to bring it down from the attic.
Me: Animated, “You could have him read off the map to you!”
B&B: Excited, “Good call. Waldorf! Hat, coat, gloves, shoes! Daddy needs your help!”
One down, three to entertain. Waldorf will be thrilled, and I’ll make cookies with these guys. I will get to the laundry in a month or so….
Two hours later, cookies are cooling and lunch is sitting on the table, waiting to be eaten. I head outside to let the elves know that it’s lunchtime.
Me: “Waldorf? Lunch time!”
Nothing. I see a ladder. With no 10 year old at the bottom of it. I walk around the house one way. Another ladder. Without a 10 year old at the bottom of it. I walk around the house the other way. Nothing.
Waldorf must be in the bathroom, I just didn’t hear him pass me in the kitchen.
I head back inside, check the bathrooms. No Waldorf.
Me: “Guys? Have you seen Waldorf? Is he in here?”
Kenyan: “I don’t know.”
Interrogator: “What, Mom?”
Verb: “WALDORF!!! He’s not in here, Mom.”
I close my eyes, listening. I hear two voices. Two sets of feet.
Nope. No way. There is no way.
I head back outside, a little more urgently.
I married a smart man. A man with a genius IQ.
Sounds like the voices are coming from the roof. Along with the footsteps. One heavy pair, one light pair.
I refuse to believe it. Because there’s no way it’s true.
I look up. Above the door. Above the windows. Above the gutters. All the way up. It hurts my neck to look so high.
My first born son is sitting on the roof, next to B&B, waving to me.
Jesus Christ algoddamnmighty. The father of our child invited our baby up on the roof with him.
This time, I am going to kill him. For real.
Now if there is one thing I know, it’s the value of NOT giving B&B a come to Jesus in front of the kids. It doesn’t help anyone. They don’t need to see their father emasculated and their Mom’s little bit of crazy rear its ugly head. Of equal importance is telling B&B in very clear (albeit whispered) words that I am not at all comfortable with his allowing our child on the roof of our house. These are the words I, mistakenly, thought went without saying. The unspoken understanding.
Apparently, with Boathouse Row on the docket, all bets are off.
So I stand directly below them in the event that I have to be a human shield for my falling child.
And I try desperately to make eye contact with B&B, I from the ground, he on the roof.
Me: With my eyes, “I am going to kill you. Can you read my eyes? These are the eyes of the person who is going to kill you. Take a good look at them.”
But his Lasik procedure has gone bad, and he’s not wearing his new glasses. So I know he can’t see my threatening eye signals.
Instead I am forced to use my voice, minus its hysterical pitch, to beckon them from the roof.
Me: “Guys! Lunch is ready! Come down very carefully, please! Today is not a good day to go to the hospital!”
A quick aside, many of my conversations with my children and B&B end with “today is not a good day to go to the hospital!” I toss it around frequently and casually, the way that others remark, “See you tomorrow!” But it’s warranted. Every time.
Waldorf completely ignores the ladder. Hangs from the lowest section of the roof, then lets his hands go, landing squarely on his feet. Which are now the same size as mine. My oldest boy is lit up from the inside out. True happiness. Unadulterated joy at working alongside the man he reveres most on this earth. B&B is equally thrilled. The annual map making-induced stress is nonexistent. He has found a willing helper in our oldest son.
B&B: “I’ll tell you, this guy is a great helper! I’m actually having fun up there this year!”
The two of them are engaged in back slapping, high fiving, butt slapping, chest pounding, farting. The works.
Me: “Waldorf, your soup is inside, go ahead in and eat it. I want to show Daddy something on the side of the house.”
B&B’s face lights up. He has been working hard all morning. Also spending quality time with Waldorf. Papa thinks he’s getting paid.
B&B: “You want to show me something, huh?” Eyebrows raised.
You’ve lost your brilliant mind, big guy.
I level him with my eyes.
B&B: Face falling, “Uh oh. 30 seconds ago, I was 80% sure I was getting lucky. Now I’m 75% sure I’m in trouble. But I don’t know what I did.” (a little homage to Modern Family here..thank you, Phil, for this ridiculous line that we use so frequently now in our home)
Me: Speaking quietly, yet venomously,“He was on the roof. With you. And you were aware that he was on the roof. Yet, you did not order him immediately and carefully off the roof. Please explain this to me in language that I can understand.”
I cross my arms.
B&B: “It was your idea that he help me with the map!”
Me: “From. The. Ground.”
Silence. Arm crossing.
B&B: “I shouldn’t have let him on the roof?”
Now your brain is working.
Silence. More arm crossing.
B&B: “Alright. I probably shouldn’t have let him on the roof.”
Let the common sense wash over you. It’s nice, isn’t it? Push that crazy out.
Silence. Slightly less arm crossing.
B&B: “You’re right. I shouldn’t have let him on the roof.”
OK, I’ve tortured him enough.
Official end of arm crossing.
Me: “Thank you. Come on inside, your soup is ready too.”
B&B: Relieved he’s been forgiven, “Are you sure you don’t want to show me something on the side of the house?” Eyebrows raised again.
I smile and shake my head. Confident that this is one of those times my husband cannot read my mind.
Don’t hold your breath. Dumbass.
Oh, my gosh, Bethany! LOVE it! All I could think of was chevy chase in christmas vacation! Relieved no one got hurt! Another fabulous post! Keep them coming! You are so talented!
Yes, the Griswold family Christmas indeed. Thanks for your support, Em!
I love the male-bonding, congratulatory gestures…although I would like to offer the suggestion that they replace the farting with a fist-bump as it is likely a little more socially acceptable. But those two might disagree.
And the idea that he was gonna get lucky – outdoors, in broad daylight, in December? What does he think this is, college?
Ave, they do a jump in the air chest bump thing too. One of these days it will land B&B in the hospital, take that one to the bank.
Ah, the getting lucky outdoors…that’s B&B hoping I’ll flash him. The chances of that in broad daylight…in ANY light…are 0.
So funny! I can just imagine seeing my child on the roof! I don’t think I could have held it back! Love this!
Maryanne, in some ways Waldorf is so typically the oldest child. And in some ways he is so very much his father’s son. The latter is what makes me nervous. I don’t need another thrill seeker in my house, thank you very much.
LOVE this one! Our husbands are much too alike. There are so many times I have been completely blown by how completely oblivious to common sense the hubs can be. He is also one of the smartest people I know and for the most part, a very responsible parent. Except when he is on vacation and letting our then 7 year old son, sit on his booster seat in the front passenger seat, while he drives on an “adventure road” in the newly rented convertible Jeep Rubicon. I was told this after the fact. The funniest thing was the hubs was the one who told me while my 7 year old was giving him the “shhhh, quiet” signals that my husband was clueless to.
FTLOG! Front seat? Of a convertible?! I would have lost my wig. This is one of the reasons I mutter to myself constantly. Thanks for reading, Momma!