This is not about the election.

They have to leave us.

They try to do it strongly.Version 2Version 2

We have to let them go. We try to do it gracefully.20161110_201110

They have to go far away. 20161110_185628We have to stay put. But it doesn’t always happen fast. Sometimes it drags out over days. Version 2Days of waiting to leave. Days of knowing they are technically still here. But we can’t see them. Then they are gone.img_0605 And they have to do hard things. 20161110_18575720161110_193815They have to live in hard places. 20161110_193857Version 2They miss us and we miss them. 20161110_193734100_2532We try to be brave like them. Version 2Version 2 Things happen to all of us. img_0514100_3275100_2507Version 2100_3056Version 2But they miss our things. 100_2990OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA100_3183100_3403100_2731And we miss their things. 20161110_185713Version 220161110_194029It’s hard for each of us to understand the other’s things.

And then one dayVersion 2 they’re back. img_1387_zps676d09f1And there’s more waiting. img_1519_zpsba00bc47Agonizing minutes and hours of waiting. img_1521_zps2bec4be9We can see them. img_1527_zps1a17229cWe can almost touch them. img_1539_zps152cc91aWe are about to lose what’s left of our minds. And then

img_1557_zpsa7e3979dimg_1559_zps8941975bimg_1561_zps89484c16img_1562_zps06530d61img_1563_zpsc1773a53img_1569_zpsbe72cb54img_1579_zps87e08feeimg_1580_zps47b05b4aimg_1594_zps9dde29bc

Welcome home. And welcome back. And whatever the world is like, it will always be changing–but the reason we send you and the reason we wait for you is the same as the reason you go and the reason you go again, and again: we love our country and what it was built for and we love each other because we have this in common.

In Which Christina Realizes She Is In Fact A Colossal Bitch

When we had a non-carpeted eating area (ah, the sweet sweet regret of yesteryear), one of the kids’ chores was to sweep the floor after dinner. On this particular day, Bella was wearing her paper crown from school–Happy Birthday Bella! scrolling in gorgeously sparkly glitter around it.

Bella, from the floor with her dust pan: “Since this is Dad’s house he should be sweeping.” (angry vicious sweeping…) “It’s like we’re servants.” (sweep, sweep)

Sam, from the sink where he is rinsing dishes: “That’s right. And I’m the king.”

Bella, placing the dust pan down with great dignity: “I think you’re forgetting about…” (pointing to emphasize) “THIS” (indicating the crown).

Oh, how I laughed! We are all a bit self-important at times, yes? Except me. I have a completely balanced perspective on where I stand in life. I would never presume any sort of, like, entitlement or anything. That would be childish.

***

Let me sum up

May 16–they pack up our household belongings in Hawaii and we commence the living with nothingness.

June 6–we move to the hotel, discover Bella has lice, and commence the FREAKING of the out.

June 13–we get on a plane back to the mainland.

June 17–I decide to stop caring if we all get lice. I. Can. Not. Deal. with the fighting and screaming and “hold effing still”ing.

June 17, one hour later–I feel itchy and treat everyone’s head for the 3rd time.

June 24–we move into our empty house with great hope.

June 24, 10 seconds later–I am disgusted with the kitchen and the carpet.

June 25–Sam gets a kidney stone. We get to visit the local ER.

June 26–we buy a 36 ft carpet for the basement and, in typical galactically stupid Fishburne fashion, don’t ask for help bringing it in.

June 29–our household goods arrive!

June 29, one hour later–we are told one of our crates was left in LA. No one is exactly sure what is in it.

July 1–Sam is pretty sure he has another herniated disc. He is not wrong. He (rightly) stops all all unnecessary movement. It’s so great that there isn’t anything that needs to get done…VZM.IMG_20160629_191143

July 2–the extent to which I am screwed sinks in: the Hawaii movers disassembled EVERYTHING. The bunk bed, the crib, the shelves, the coffee table (where is the other leg?!), the bicycles, the play table, etc. And the Kansas movers assembled: The bunk bed. For which I am eternally grateful.

July 6 –our missing crate is here!

July 6, three minutes later–oh wait. It’s someone ELSE’S crate. Ours is still in LA.

July 21–Our REAL crate is here! We have a couch! etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…

***

So. Here’s the situation:

I have no life.

No, actually, I have 4 lives–but none of them are mine.

No, actually, I have 4 lives and only the parts of my own life that are exceptionally necessary–Eating. Dressing. Going to the bathroom.

Unless someone is about to fall down the stairs. Or needs more milk. Or medicine.

not-now-skeletor

“Can I get some coffee when you’re done with that?”

Things I Find Demoralizing

*A long white whisker growing from under my eye. What the effing hell. Even the bags under my eyes are stressed? Pull that mother out but quick.

*Spilling some sort of extremely unnatural Red Number 5 juice on the carpet and totally not caring.

Things That Make Me Feel Like An Absolute Rock Star

*Remembering to take off my teeth whitening strips at EXACTLY 30 minutes without setting a timer.

*Figuring this out20160809_080601

 

I’ve always thought of myself- on the whole-as a compassionate and understanding woman. Willing to give the benefit of the doubt. Polite. Kind. Two years ago when Sam hurt his back the first time, I attributed my hideous behavior to being pregnant. I even congratulated myself on how well I managed, all things considered.

I think you’re forgetting my crown, Family…

***

My day for the past 5 or 6 weeks

Wake Up

morning

Just. Like. This.

Make coffee, make lunch for Sam, make breakfast for Sam.

Bring breakfast to Sam.

If baby is not awake yet, gleefully check Facebook and do Jamberry stuff.

Make breakfast for kids, who are now awake. (the gall)

Help Sam with the trickier parts of getting dressed in uniform.

Bring dishes down. Break up a fight or two. Stop Auggie from throwing himself down the stairs.

Load everyone into the car and take Sam to work.

Run errands, or clean, or do laundry, or hang a few pictures, or unpack a box– It never seems to be more than one of these things.

Distribute snacks, put baby to bed, make lunch.

Wake up baby, load everyone into the car, pick up Sam.

3 times a week: Help Sam change clothes if needed. Load everyone back into the car, take Sam to physical therapy. Wait an hour. Come home.

2 times a week right after the above: kick Sam out of the car then turn around and take kids to Karate. Cuz good parents make their kids do stuff, right?

Come home. Make dinner. (Why didn’t I buy stock in Cheerios?! STUPID STUPID STUPID)

Give a few baths.

Listen to them read. (KILL ME.)

Put them to bed.

1-2 hours of Blessed TV Viewing.

Bed.

And interspersed in there, I try to play with them, or listen to the recent development on the War of the Roses research for his thesis, or do math flash cards, or shave my legs, or answer emails. The evil comes out, sadly, every once in a while. And by “once in a while” I mean “around 3:00.” It manifests most frequently in the unhinged shrieking of “STOP YELLING!”

I yell at the kids. I sigh heavily at Sam.

Seriously? You want me to go make you some coffee? That’s great. Cuz I love going up and down the stairs millions of times a day. And now you want a KISS? So I have to put all these dishes down and walk all the way around to the other side of the bed now? Fine. Whatever.

Why am I thinking such things? I’ll tell you why? Because I am an absolute ASS.

I’m pretty sure Sam would rather his spine NOT be jacked up. And last time, he actually DID try to do more and it ended up further injuring him. So essentially I’m all Saint Christina, Martyr Wife and Mother because the poor guy is trying to get better faster, to get back to his own life where I allow him to work like a dog to support me in the style to which I’ve become accustomed and to help me.

Geez, Sam.

So naturally the Facebook 7 days of Happy Couples Challenge exploded my computer and phone during this time. I wanted to want to participate…but all the loveliness only exacerbated my Phelps

***

I’m in the Bizzaro 2013. I tell people where we’ve just come from and they get all wistful and then express their condolences for our surely despairing family. I am so happy to be back on the mainland. SO happy!

The sky isn’t as blue here. I noticed that right away. But it’s HUGE and open and the trees are so familiar and both muted and sparkly.

I see pictures of where I used to be and I want to miss it.

I hear Auggie’s little wave sounds from his Lamby nature sounds toy and I get hit with an image of myself walking toward the sea. For a split second I feel a delicious melancholy and romantic yearning. But almost immediately I remember what the reality was: strapped with 4 tons of baby, carrying a bunch of crap I won’t use, hot, and about to spend the next 3 hours roasting myself on a mat watching everyone else have a great time, making sure no one eats handfuls of sand, and dreading the 2 hours of laundry and 4-5 days of cleaning sand out of my kitchen.

If I squandered my time on the island, it was my own fault. But it also sort of wasn’t. There’s always stuff that needs to get done. But it IS possible to appreciate the important stuff in the midst. Beauty. Humor. Kindness. Honor. Generosity. All of which I just so happen to see in Sam. Maybe not all at the same time. Maybe not every day. We are quite evenly matched in the unevenness of our goodness.

***

In sickness and in health. That’s one of the challenges I accepted. It is one to which I never gave a second thought. Of course! Because I love him!

I have a life. I have a RIDICULOUSLY good life. I’m in no danger. My family is in no danger. I get WAY more sleep than I’ve had in the past 2 years. I can in fact manage day to day activities for all of us by myself. And it is my great privilege to do so. Plus, my legs are getting SO strong from going up and down the stairs.

I’ve spent the past 3 years putting myself back in order. I thought. None of it is any good if I can’t take care of the one I love. I even want to, dare I say it, serve him.  At least…I want to want to.