Yesterday was a very long day at work. I knew in advance that it would be a long day at work, and made sure my darling husband* was aware that he would be covering the dinner hour solo.
I got home even later than expected, having spent probably 20 or 30 minutes looking for my car in the ridiculously labryinthine parking ramp next to my building. (This is why I usually take the bus. My brain has room for only so much information and “where I parked the car” never seems to make the cut.) I pulled into the garage and dragged myself to the back door, dropping my keys in my purse as I went, like I always do. The door was locked.
I knocked and then fumbled in my purse for the now-vanished keys (you have to do that so you have grounds for additional righteous indignation later). Robin opened the door, and I walked in, exhausted, hungry, scarred by the lost-car incident, and now brim-full of well-earned righteous indignation.
“Sorry about that,” he said.
“What is going on?” I asked, as I turned to lock the door. The handle for the deadbolt was missing. And then, before Robin could answer, something else caught my attention.
None of the kids had come out to greet me. Instead, from their rooms down the hall, I could hear all three of them wailing.
“I am so hungry!”
“I need some food!”
“What,” I repeated, “is going on!?”
“You are going to have to talk to them,” Robin answered. “They are driving me crazy!”
This violates the unwritten co-parent contract, the one where if you agree in advance to handle something, and no emergencies occur to prevent you from doing so, you effing handle it, man. You might not handle it well, or you might call in reinforcements from elsewhere, or you might call your partner and negotiate a new plan, but you do not say to your co-parent, who has been under the impression that you were handling it, “Yeah, I give up. You take care of it.”
Which is why I stood in the doorway, gaping at Robin, for several bewildered seconds, trying to think of something to say that wasn’t, “ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME WITH THIS RIGHT NOW?! THERE IS NO WAY – I JUST CAN’T EVEN- ARE. YOU. EFFING. KIDDING. ME!!!!!?????”
I settled on a slightly more mild, “Are you kidding!?”
“Guys, you can come out now,” Robin called down the hall. Turning to me, he added, “Yes, I’m kidding. Nothing bonds a dad and kids like a good conspiracy.”
My work bag slid off my shoulder as I deflated. “I probably should have warned you earlier, but I lost my sense of humor about three hours ago,” I told him.
*Who, it must be acknowledged, is also having a very long week, and yet has managed to keep his sense of humor.