Sidelined

A tug on my arm woke me up. The tug was immediately followed by Nicholas’ gentle voice saying, “I’m hungry Mommy.” The clock radio read 7:03 a.m. Donald was gone.

All it took to appease Nicholas was a bowl of corn flakes. I munched on my peanut butter and whole grain bread and watched him methodically use his spoon as he took great care not to spill any milk.

Donald returned at 7:40 a.m. with bagels and cream cheese. “They look divine. Except I can’t eat them. White flour,” I reminded him for the umpteenth time.

“I forgot. Sorry,” he said sheepishly.

“Nothing says sorry better than scrambled eggs,” I replied in my best Mary Poppins voice.

At 9 a.m. I was finally able to push Nicholas and Donald out the door. The neighborhood park was barely half a mile away, and if Nicholas didn’t get there by 10 a.m., he would be shimmying down the curtains.

I immediately fell back to sleep until 11 a.m. when they arrived home. The six hours from the night before and those two hours only added up to eight hours though, and I woke up groggy and instantly realizing that I was missing my seminar. Still feeling uneasy about the baby, I comforted myself by visualizing the grey and white wiggles from the sonogram the night before.

Donald was itching to play tennis and “hang out.”  Although the basketball courts were a five-minute drive from our house, the neighborhood bar was only an additional three-minute drive. I knew he’d be gone until dinnertime, but I smiled and kissed him good-bye.

By 4 p.m. Donald had been gone four hours, and Nicholas was restless. The rain had kept him inside Saturday, and he wanted to go to the park again. I didn’t have the strength to take him. Donald wasn’t answering his cell phone, but luckily Legos came to the rescue.

While Nicholas focused on making a roof, I fumed. What the hell was Donald thinking?  This was supposed to be my rare weekend off mommy duty.  He wasn’t supposed to have even been able to go out all day.  I spent all that time in the hospital going through another miscarriage scare and am supposed to be in bed all day, and he can’t pry himself away from his bar stool?

I caught myself spiraling further and further into negative thinking and struggled to refocus by watching the intent expression on Nicholas’ face as he methodically assembled a structure. For such an athletic child, it constantly amazed me that he could get lost for hours in his Legos.

Donald finally showed up at 6:30 p.m. and headed straight for the refrigerator to retrieve a cold Budweiser.

“You ruined my weekend. I had to stay in all weekend,” he said as he slammed cupboards while looking for his favorite beer huggie, the one from University of Texas at Austin, his alma mater.

“You are so full of shit. I missed most of my writing seminar. I spent hours alone in the ER and almost lost the baby. And you were out most of the day,” I blubbered.

“This is why I didn’t want another baby, more work for me.”

I burst into ugly sobs and left the room.

It’s the alcohol talking. He’s making dinner. If you’re lucky, he won’t burn down the house in the process.

I know he only partially means what he says, part of him is so excited about the baby, I can hear that in his voice when he tells other people we’re expecting and when he talks to Nicholas about having a sibling.

Is he lazy or just an alcoholic? Is it he’s stuck in a college sophomore mentality because that’s when he started partying so hard? Is that just his personality?

He has so many good qualities, I try and focus on them — but it doesn’t seem like he pushes himself to grow.

 

 

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Filed under "Baby Fever" - Excerpts from novel in progress

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