One moment the children are signing the continents song, and the next moment my oldest son's chin is quivering as he shares with the class that his daddy will be going to Europe.Two minutes after he closed the taxi cab door, began jet-setting a path toward destination Europe, I calmly, lovingly, patiently wiped the tears from my four and half year old's cheeks.
"Oh, that will be fun for daddy," his teacher exclaims and smiles.
Chin quiver intensity increases, my preschooler blurts out through heavy sobs "but not for me!" and the entire class circles around him, offering stories of hope and survival from when their daddies were out of the country, successfully turning carpet time into an organic group therapy session.
Since I'd expected this, I'd been brainstorming ways to help him cope with missing daddy.
I was prepared to comfort his heavy heart for 20 minutes or so after John left, expecting to usher him away from the door and engaging him in other exciting activities.
And even though I also even prepared myself for the WWF-style wrestling match that is "snuggling" the 2.5 year old to sleep, I neglected to prepare well by forgeting to wear a helmet and found myself staring in a special edition headbutting match where I was the unfortunate loser.
Exhausted, we all fell asleep only to be awoken several times during the night be an unsettled golden retriever who was equally disturbed about the daddy-car being in the driveway without ever bearing a daddy at the door during dinner time.
I didn't sign up have to take the dog to therapy because of his intolerance for cars turning the corner in front of our home while John is absent.
Know what else I didn't sign up for?
Fourteen hours after he closed the taxi cab door, began jet-setting a path toward destination Europe, I pried open my heavy eyes and extracted my groaning body from bed at the insistence of getting some Peanut Butter Puffins for an early-morning snack.
Fourteen hours and six minutes after he closed the taxi cab door, began jet-setting a path toward destination Europe, I scrambled to find my referee hat to break up head-butting contests.
Sixteen hours: scraped mud from the walls, swept it from the floors and cleaned it from the carpets, shoes, small legs and paws.
Seventeen hours: sopped up soapy sink water from an overflowing sink and enforced another clothing change.
Twenty five hours: exhausted, I served more Peanut Butter Puffins for dinner for the boys and ate cold green beans like they were gourmet food.
Thirty four hours: more WWF-style wrestling with a toddler who is miserable and waking every hour because of a nasty cold disgused as emerging molars.
5:50 a.m. Wednesday morning: Can no longer calculate how many hours hubby has been gone because of sleep deprivation coupled with copious amounts of tired whining from two little non-sleeping zombies.
Wednesday: Can no longer see digits on the clock. Just know the day of the week. bluuuuuuuuurrrrrrr.
Wednesday, sometime while the sun still shining: Reinforcements arrived. Sleep was still for the weak, according to E.
Thursday, morning: doused firestorms of frustration over missing "guys" and their attached-to-plastic-hand "lie sabers", napped, reunited myself with almond butter, started sneezing. A lot. Reinforcements left. I cried.
Thursday afternoon: realized it was less math to count the time until husband emerged from the super blackhole that I've found Europe to be these days and found the reason that I was no longer able to count had a lot to do with the colonies of snot overtaking my sinus cavity compliments of a toddler who coughed in my mouth all night long the night prior.
Friday: No eggs, no milk, no green beans = no breakfast so took the kids to a cafe where they behaved like angels after finding a renegade Easter card from great grandparents that included money. Experienced no-sleep, snot-induced, feverish blur filled with moments of holy-cow-are-these-kids-Droids-with-endless-battery-life? moments. Took boys out to dinner, too. And didn't feel guilty one single bit. Better than eating their weight in Peanut Butter Puffins
Friday night: Seriously considered writing a prayer titled "Are you there God, it's me, Hyacynth."
Saturday morning: head feeling like an overinflated balloon, awoke to a smiling toddler at 6:35 a.m., survived the farmer's market and subsequent Target prepartion trips for hosting Mother's Day, fed the children nut and fruit bars for breakfast, bananas for snakcs and Peanut Butter Puffins for lunch. Didn't even think twice about it. Considered exchanging nuptials with the kleenex box.
Saturday afternoon: While tying the last ribbons around Mother's Day gifts, heard G squeal that daddy was home. Hugged husband, kissed husband, thanked God, searched for bed. Hugged bed, kissed bed and considered chaining myself while waving the white flag of surrender and resigning that even the best laid preparations cannot save Zombie mommy. Only husbands returning from forever-long business trips can.