I’m being a bit cranky. In fact, I’m being a down right ass today. It’s not even a righteous anger, an anger that you can get behind. An anger that has some sort of morality basis to it. Like when I’m angry that my sports team loses because they can’t find it in their hearts to spend just a bit of extra money to sign the one piece of the puzzle that we need. As a result, the team loses and when the team loses people stop buying tickets. And when people stop buying tickets then people get laid off, suppliers don’t get as many orders and they lay off people too. This causes good hard working Americans to lose their homes and selling their bodies on the streets. See, a good righteous anger. When my team loses, Americans become homeless.
But the my general crankiness is not that kind of righteous anger as I have made peace with my crappy teams. It’s just been a hard week and I’m being a butthole. I know this to which makes it worse. I’m upset because I am upset, suddenly I realize that I may be a woman with my mood swings.
I’ve been painting the house over the last week, on top of the SAHD thing. Normally, this isn’t a big deal. I love it when my kids help me for the most part. I know that it’s going to take longer and chances are someone is going to get hurt, but we have a good time doing it anyway.
But here on this last day, I’m tired of parenting and I’m tired of painting. Both of which I have been doing mostly by myself this week. After 8 days of it, my nerves start to get a little fried.
I knew that when I accepted this SAHD job that there would be some late nights where there would be no relief. Normally, my wife would come home and eat dinner with us. We would talk about the day, share stories and have some adult conversation. Then the kids would hurl something at somebody’s head and fun would ensue. But the parenting isn’t usually all on my shoulders after 6 or on the weekends. I could expect some respite when doing something delicate, like not getting paint on the floor or my face.
However part of the gig is that sometimes our wives have to bust thier hump just a bit harder to provide for the family, a responsibility that we all have to take seriously and that some of us have lived on the other end of. I understood that going into this and accept it. But it still doesn’t help when frankly, I’m just flat out tired and just want to finish the stupid paint job.
We went a good nice brown for the last rooms. Of course, I call it brown my wife calls it eggshell beige. I don’t know that that is but I do know what brown looks like. For example, currently my walls are brown as is the front part of my shirt where my son threw the paintbrush at me when he was done. My daugter’s left arm is also brown because who wouldn’t want to paint their left arm when dad is turning up the radio and like an idiot turned his back for a minute. Her hair is also brown which goes well with her normal brown hair. Word of advice, never tell a 6 year old to not stick their head into a wall of wet paint. It plants the idea and usually bad things will happen. We need a bath, which will shortly contain brown water which will go very well with my brown mood.
I’m trying to listen to the streaming cast of the March Madness tournament, one of the joys of my year. I can’t quit tell if Duke is losing or if a duck is oozing because in between commercial breaks the kids decide this is the best time to play “scream as loud and as often as you can.” They seem to stop when commercials come one and then they get back to the wall that I am letting them paint so they can “help.” It’s the wall with the tarp underneath, which is over 2 different old sheets, which is also over a thick plastic floor covering. I have found being extra cautious with my children is a good idea. About every 10 seconds or so I have to climb down off my ladder to give them more paint or to wipe up something that has spilled or to ask why her brother has a brown mark covering his face like some jungle bushman hunting jaguars. The answer of course is “um, I don’t know” followed by a series of giggles. Needless to say, the last day of painting is going slowly and I’m a bit frustrated. It would help if my wife was here at the moment.
But again, I knew that there would be weeks like this. Weeks where she would get home way past dinner time and the extent of my adult conversation would be about the quality story telling of Dora. That is this week as my wife hasn’t even made it to bed time. I knew that she would have to do advertising things with advertising people at advertising places. Sometimes that means staying at the office working on a campaign and sometimes that means taking perspective new clients out to have steak dinners. Me, well, me, I’m just painting painfully slowly. I’m tired. I’m a bit lonely. I’m cranky. Is this what I signed up for? I want steak too.
We are almost done now. All I have to do is the top of the walls and curse myself for being so damned short on a short damn ladder. This would be a lot easier if I was 6 foot 4 and had some hot swimsuit model handing me beers. You have to admit, that would make it easier. But I don’t know any swimsuit models and I’m not 6 feet tall. I’m 5’9″ with short arms and a shorter ladder. My kids have calmed down some though and my daughter has decided that she is done painting, my first break of the week. She knows it’s been a rough week on me and she does love her dad. So she says that she knows what will be fun while I finish painting. Seh says that she will read to me. I grunt because I’m tired and I just want to finish.
She picks Green Eggs and Ham. She is reading aloud to me. 3 pages in and I notice something. She hasn’t asked me what a word meant. She hasn’t asked me how to pronounce a word. She hasn’t asked anything at all. She’s just reading to me. All on her own. Just to her dad.
She’s in kindergarten and she has been learning to read all year. We read with her every night but this time she is moving right along. She is reading it like I would read it. She is reading about a mouse, a house, a boat and a goat. She is doing voices for Sam I am, she is making sounds for trains that go in the rain. Her brother is sitting at her feet while my daughter explains that foxes don’t eat in boxes.
I stop painting and I’m watching her read, all on her own, like I’m not even there, just because she thought her Dad would like a story. I realize very clearly here, that this is what I signed up for. This moment. This moment that is mine. This moment that truthfully I get all the time. Screw steak dinners, this is it, this is the gold right here. These are the things that I get to be a part of that my wife has to miss. That is her sacrifice just so I can witness and be a part of things like this. I get long weeks sometimes and I get eggshell beige kids when I paint, but I get this and this is mine. My crankiness and anger turns to sadness, sadness that life won’t let my wife be a part of all these types of things, that she only gets a fraction of the awesomeness that I get. I get long weeks but I get this and this is worth it, listening to my daughter read to me. Just for me. This is what we get boys, this is the payoff for being the stay at home dad.
And it’s worth it, it’s worth every penny that I don’t make since I quit my job 4 years ago.