The one night a week our family has free never really ends up being free.
Tuesday evening I ran out the door at 5:45 without time to eat the dinner I made. I dashed to the 6:00 Math Interventionist meeting at Tink's elementary school followed by the 7:30 informational parent meeting at the church for Pink's Catholic Sacraments this Spring. Before sprinting directly to my book club (that I was already an hour late for) I was called home on the Bat Phone for a Code Brown. CB's diaper needed to be changed.
I snuck into the house, not wanting the kids to see me and become trapped in the vortex. I snuck past Tink's room where she lay reading aloud to her father. He gave me a silent nod and drew no attention to the woman creeping down the hallway to handle the pooh. I snuck past Pink's room where she lay reading to Rella, her tiny voice with its little lisp like a song. I entered CB's room where she smiled upon seeing me, a smile that filled her entire face with the full brightness of a sun. Where she jumped up off her bed and hugged me tight as if I had been gone a lifetime... which made her soiled diaper and my detoured route completely insignificant.
I only thought briefly about how crazy it is that I have to run home to change a diaper even though my youngest is 4 and my oldest is 17 and I should be far beyond that stage now.
Then I thought of all the things I could be called home for: a cell phone ring that splits open a daydream and you answer only to hear sobs of bad news; flames rendering everything to ash; a fatal diagnosis, a crash, a fall, a hemorrhage; an ambulance ride, a finale.
All the things you could be called home to do or see or fix or grieve. All the things that you think will never happen to you, but they happen to someone who thinks it will never happen to them.
I'll take the diaper, thank you.
The voices of my children reading snuggled safe in bed.
The hug of a daughter who cannot speak.
A husband who appreciates me every day.
The friends who await me with wine and laughter.
Last night was just another day in the life
and I have no complaints.