Today was Hal’s first day of work after three months of unemployment. Shockingly I’ve been able to make enough money these last few months to carry us along. This is something I have been unable to do since we’ve been a couple and it felt good. I don’t like feeling financially dependent on anyone and have been working my ass off to establish myself as someone, somewhere in the land of the lucrative. Not quite there yet but I’m making my way, shoots and ladders, style.
It isn’t uncommon for those working in production (Hal’s a Reality TV Story Producer) to go weeks, even months between shows. Last year Hal was out of work for six-months. We burned through our entire savings and a good chunk of credit to stay afloat last year so to say it was relief for Hal to get the “you’re hired” call this past Tuesday would be a waaaaay understatement. We were ecstatic. (I’m pretty sure I humped Hal’s leg in front of my kids.)
We promptly went out for Sushi to celebrate. (Archer dined on Rice, Fable ate tofu and Miso Soup.) Upon returning home I started to feel funny. At first I thought it was the sushi, but no… It was something else. I was nervous. Even sad. The kind of sad that happens when you’re packing up boxes to move. The kind of nervous that happens before a big test. I had gotten so accustomed to us all being together and I was sad to see it end.
I was also worried I would be unable to do it all by myself.
In the last three months Hal had become my go-to for getting the kids to bed, for finding the toys I had lost, for helping me remember to schedule doctor appointments and my mind. (I’m impossibly absent-minded, forgetful and disastrous in the way of organization and finding lost things. You may say that I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one.) I was worried that without him, I would fall.
Hal’s being home allowed me the hours during the day to write and work and take meetings, have a life outside of mothering and I was grateful, so grateful. I left Fable with Hal, sometimes for hours at a time and felt no guilt whatsoever. On the contrary, I loved hearing Hal’s stories of the two of them together, pictures on his phone of them grabbing coffee at sidewalk cafes, taking walks around the neighborhood, playing on the stoop.
Sure we had our tough days, fighting, too many cooks in the two-bedroom apartment but mainly it was a lovefest. An empty-pocketed lovefest but a love fest nonetheless.
Today was Hal’s first day working outside the home and my nervous stomach? Totally warranted.
I was a total disaster. I was late to school and late to lunch and forgot my change when it came time to load the parking meter. I lost three of Fable’s toys, including a headband, got stranded with a poopy diaper and no wipes and on our afternoon walk with the dogs, had to carry Archer four blocks after he fell and cut his knee. (This wouldn’t be a big deal if I wasn’t also pushing a stroller with one hand and walking two dogs in the other.) It was hot and I was tired and my phone wouldn’t stop vibrating and I didn’t know where it was and I stepped on my sunglasses and everyone wanted a piece and I was like, HERE, TAKE IT! TAKE ALL OF ME! WHY DON’T I JUST CARRY YOU, TOO, ALONG WITH EVERYONE ELSE AND I’LL JUST BE EVERYONE’S LITTLE BITCH AND FINE FINE FINE AHHHHHHH HELP! HAL!!!!! I NEEEEEED YOUUUUUU!
By the time Hal came home I had managed to sort of pull myself together. The beds were made, the floors were swept and the kids were happily eating their dinners. I had done one of my jobs for the day and yet, there were still hours of work to be done – the kind of work that requires partial concentration and two hands. The other half of my living and livelihood.
“Thank God you’re home. PLEASE NEVER LEAVE ME AGAIN!”
“What happened> You okay?”
It was then that I flung myself across my husband’s feet, pleading with him to quit his job, become a stay at home co-parent so we could live happily ever after, the way we were last week.
“… When we were broke and happy!”
“If we were any broker, Bec, it wouldn’t have been very happy.”
“But… but…. but…. “
“I know. I love you, too. Tomorrow will be easier.”
I hope so.