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My eldest daughter launched off the bus 37 minutes ago. She tore up the driveway to her sister and me who were waiting exactly for that. We had had a typical day: preschool pickup, library (book sale!), lunch, TV and outside play, but we were both ready for a change of pace.
"Mom, can we go to [neighbor girl]'s house? She was on the bus and asked if we could."
"Sure, let me text [babysitter] and let her know you are on the way."
Backpacks, shoes, and helmets flew off and on in the hustle to find their friend. I unzipped the backpack after it landed to skim homework, other contents and action items. I am always looking for something to do.
Minutes later, they were off, biking down the driveway, up the street and behind the house next door to play pirate ship on the swing set. I could hear their chirps and giggles faintly as I scooped up a few things and headed inside.
I called the dogs to follow me and they looked at me like my children do, "Aww, mom, do we have to?" (Yes, and here is a fake piece of bacon for your efforts and in an attempt to prove I am not always a buzz kill.)
I moseyed around the house aimlessly, grabbing this and that. I thought about jumping in the shower, but then I realized I should let [babysitter] know. I slapped my butt pocket to check for my phone. It was actually there. I pulled it out to text her again, the babysitter for the children next door, the woman I feel the most myself around in Northeast Ohio, to casually let her know I'd be in the shower. I lost heart, put the phone down and wandered back through the kitchen - the place I can always get something done.
Eyeing the two empty jars of spaghetti sauce by the stove, dead soldiers from dinner last night, I carried them across to the sink to be washed. They left behind them a trail of tomato water, on the wood, on the rug, on my toes.
"Shit," I mumbled. It came out just like I've heard my mother say it. Long "shhh," quick, harsh "i," super enunciated "t" as if singing a motherhood choir selection entitled, "Why Me?" I shook it off and wiped it up and rinsed them out as intended.
Other dishes beckoned and before long I was squeezing soap into its compartment and clicking it closed. I slammed the dishwasher door and pressed a button. The wrong button. It started doing something I didn't want. I tried "cancel." I tried "start." I said, "fuck." I don't know how to use my own dishwasher. Cause it's new to me. Like everything else!
I plopped to the floor. My husband was in Indiana and wouldn't be home until the next night. The kids were down the road playing in the newly budding woods. My physically closest "friend" was with my kids. And I was sitting on the floor, looking at my wobbly reflection in the dirty dishwasher front.
It was dirty. I stood up, grabbed the rag and wiped the front of the dishwasher down. I dried it and turned tossing the towel on top of the marshmallows. I put all my weight on my front foot and then let the rest of me crashed into the kitchen island. Thankfully, it catches me every time.