Caroline’s closing in on 24 weeks. But if pregnancies were measured by predicaments, then we’d clearly be at 22. As in “catch 22,” which is precisely what our lives have become. At least mine has, as my wife often seeks to remedy situations by asking me to do certain things which yield results that turn out to be undesired ones.
Wikipedia defines a catch 22 as occurring whenever an individual needs something that can only be acquired by not being in that very situation. The example given is a fighter pilot who wants to be grounded. The only way to do that is to be declared unfit. And the only way to be declared unfit is by asking for a test which would deem that pilot insane. Yet asking for the test, in and of itself, is an act which proves sanity.
Confusing? You bet it is. But so, too, friends, is being married to someone who’s hopped up on preposterous levels of estrogen.
Just two weeks ago, Caroline and I were at the beach on spring break with our delightfully dysfunctional brood. (Incidentally, she really was at 22 weeks then…) Our daily routine was as follows:
Hang on for dear life.
Go to bed.
And during that routine, Caroline became overwhelmed at our little ones’ neediness. Combine that with the wear and tear that comes along with a vacation, not to mention a pregnancy, and what you had was one cranky woman. (The time I accidentally called her fat and old didn’t exactly help matters.) Yet Caroline’s situation: namely unwanted crankiness due to pregnancy-induced fatigue exacerbated by four needy children, can only be remedied by (get this) not being the pregnant mother of three toddlers and a 9-year-old.
I know. Shocking.
Yet, still, that doesn’t prevent my lovely wife from attempting to break out of her unwanted cycle of crankiness. Nor does it prevent me from reminding her that I’m always willing to do any and everything possible to help her do just that.
And at the beach, she took me up on my offer. “Honey,” she began one morning, “I can’t take it. I need for everyone to get out and leave me alone.”
My 9-year-old grabbed her helmet while I loaded up two of our trio in the cart and put another in the child seat, and, within minutes we were off on a fantastic bike ride around beautiful Hilton Head Island with another family from our hometown who was also there on spring break.
We grabbed a delicious breakfast, then visited a nature center where the kids got to see snakes, lizards and a couple of baby alligators. They even played with a turtle. (Doesn’t that last sentence sound like some sort of disturbing euphemism?) After that, we loaded everyone up and headed over to the wonderful playground at Harbour Town where I kept my eyes trained on my oldest while alternately pushing my trio at precisely-timed intervals on the swing set. All the while, of course, I was composing my speech for the FFY award I was bound to win (Father of the Freakin’ Year), when my train of thought was interrupted by the ringing of my cell phone.
It was Caroline. The woman whose just two-and-a-half hours prior had pleaded for “everyone to get out and leave me alone.”
“Where are you?” she asked crankily (if not angrily).
I’ll tell you where, friends. At (catch) 22 weeks. That’s where.