Last week Clayton attended a conference for work in Chicago. He was gone Tuesday through Saturday. I survived, and so did my child, but just barely.
The biggest challenge was a freelance project I’d agreed to the previous week without carefully reading the last sentence in the email that said, “It’s going to be tight, but I think it’s doable.” “Doable” meant working through every nap time and after putting the peanut to sleep every night. Not impossible, but certainly stressful.
My mom was a saint the entire week and spent too many hours over here Tuesday pulling Addison’s fingers away from the electrical outlets they are so drawn to. I put that vintage desk in the guest room to good use. Clayton and I host a small group from our church every Tuesday night, so I called it a day early to clean up the house and run to the store for some snacks that no one ever eats. I threw dinner in the oven for me, fed Addison and found a t-shirt free of spit-up stains all in time to welcome the group at the door precisely at 7. Except there was no group at 7. Or 7:10. Or 7:20. Turns out they thought we’d canceled since Clayton was out of town. I drowned my disappointment in the hummus artfully displayed on the counter, gnawing on those few hours spent Swiffering up coffee spills on the floor that could have been spent working.
I spent Wednesday night at my parents’ house thinking the extra help with Addison would give me more time to work. My attempt at forethought and planning blew up in my face when Addison slept for two hours that morning. I’d already packed my computer in the car in hopes of a quick wake up and hit the road scenario. The reality was my pacing around the house aimlessly, “accidentally” dropping glass objects on the tile and nervously watching the non-productive time tick by.
After Addison finally woke up, I loaded up the kid, the dog, myself and 83% of all our belongings, and we trekked the 35 minutes to Wesley Chapel. My mom took over Addie duties and I got my work station all set up…only to discover I’d forgotten my laptop charger at home. No worries, I thought, I’ll just work until it dies. So I power up the trusted HP, and surprise—7% power remaining. Enough to move the cursor over about 1/8 of an inch before it shuts off.
A humiliating all-call on Facebook was useless, but luckily my dad had a charger at work he said he’d bring home. That still left us gals with three hours of time on our hands and no work to be accomplished. I nearly broke down. I wanted to, but my mom was close at hand and I didn’t feel like a pep talk, I just felt like chocolate. The realization that it was only Wednesday also played into the feeling that I was trapped in a never-ending week. I did end up getting a good chunk of the project completed once my dad came home and they tag-teamed Addison. They also did a great job of infant entertaining after dinner until it was time for her to go to bed.
Being away from my own space proved even more stressful, so the three Noa ladies came back home on Thursday. I found time to sneak in the last portions of the big project, plus finish some smaller jobs that popped up in the inbox. I even managed to take Addie to her first baseball game that her Uncle Tony was coaching. The difficult-to-watch two hours of errors and restrained rage was a decent metaphor for the week I was having. I won’t mention the score, but Uncle T did not come out on top.
I have to give a mama shout-out to my little girl because that kid slept like a dream every night. If I had to combine the tension of that week with two or three overnight wake-ups, I may have crumbled. Lugging her around the city probably aided in exhausting and confusing her throughout the day, so yeah, high-five to me for yanking any hope of stability away from my 8 month old. That seems to really tire them out.
In related news, I actually do know the exact location of the trash cans in the garage and which days all that garbage magically disappears from inside of them. I enjoyed two sweet potatoes in the absence of my potato-hating husband, and there was no one in my living quarters forcing me to share my sushi, ice cream or red wine. Or make judgments of how much of them I was consuming.
I don’t know how single parents do this day after day after day. My solace so many times throughout the week was looking at the calendar knowing, down to the second, when I has handing that baby over and clocking out of mom mode. My life is so very good, and ridiculously easy with the support system I have around me. A long list of people offered to help last week, so I knew that I had reinforcements whenever I needed them.
Still, Addison and I were both jazzed about Clayton getting back home, harmonica and all (don’t ask). She showed him just how much with a warm welcome from 2-4 a.m. that morning. I would have joined the party, but like I said: I was off the clock.