I’m a bit of a homebody. Give me a good book or an empty notebook or a favorite movie (and most importantly, a clean nest) and I am pretty content to just lollygag around the house by myself.
However…six weeks of being pretty much cooped up with three little chicks can cause even Susie Homemaker to start pacing.
“Why don’t you go somewhere?” you ask. Well…I have. I go to church, I’ve hosted a few parties, I’ve gone on a shopping trip or two. But on a normal day (and remember, there are six of those a week around here), I’m locked inside of our temperature-controlled house feeding a baby every three or four hours and following behind her siblings in a half-hearted attempt to keep this place tidy.
It is impossibly hot this summer, and when I do get up the nerve to embrace the heat, it takes us so long to get ready and out the door, it is bedtime by the time we make it to the minivan.
And so when Mr. Gore told me he was leaving last night to play softball, I was a bit put out. “Really?” I thought. “You’ve been gone to work all day and now you’ll be gone all evening?? Who is going to watch these kids?!” Now, in all fairness, I knew well in advance that this game was taking place, I had given my approval, and I was very much invited to join him. But, in all honesty, the thought of being locked up in the house yet again was more tempting than the thought of loading us all up and sweating to death on a softball field. Not to mention the part where I would have to go hide in the van to feed Baby Betsie….
I think I just wanted to be a brat. And so I pouted a little. My shoulders were slumped. My responses were quiet and somber. If there had been a thought-bubble above my head, it would have said “Poor me…”
My morbidity always outweighs my self-pity, though, and so I rallied myself to give Mr. Gore a good farewell kiss and a “good luck, champ!” just in case something tragic happened and I never saw him again. (One of my greatest fears is that I will be a jerk to this amazing man, he will die and I’ll regret my last moments with him forever!).
I shut the door behind him, locked it, and set the security alarm. I heaved a pitiful sigh. I turned around and saw my two little munchkins looking at me in expectation. And I thought “Dang it…we’re gonna have some fun tonight or I’m not Susie Homemaker.”
“Who wants a grilled cheese sandwich?” I called out. To a chorus of “Me!!” and “I do!” I came to the office, pulled up my favorite playlist and cranked up the volume. The heavy beat of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” immediately set Rebekah’s head to rockin’ and Gideon’s foot to tappin’. I danced to the stove and sang at the top of my lungs. It was a full-out dance party at the preacher’s house. We liked that song so much we listened to it again…
And then Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody came on. Occasionally I could hear the kids saying my name, but I had completely checked out at this point and was cooking and singing and actually having a grand ol’ time. So grand that, when the electric guitar solo began to play, I put down my spatula and did something I’ve never done before: I played my very first air guitar. And I not only played it…I played it like one bad Mamma Jamma. I even think my eyes were closed.
Apparently, it does not behoove Mrs. Gore to play anything but the air piano. When I opened my eyes, my four-year old and tw0-year old were watching me, eyes a tiny bit confused, a bit tentative…”Come on guys!” I said. “Play your guitars!!” They kind of smiled a little, but quickly went back to their respective areas of interest, Rebekah marching around the table with her new baby doll, Gideon trying to tie his toy trailer onto his toy tractor. “Or not…” I said, and unplugging my electric air guitar, flipped the last grilled cheese and turkey sandwich over. And that’s when it hit me that mayyyyybe it’s time to get out of the house and get some fresh air. (I mean, really…the air guitar?). I was further convinced of this truth by the following:
1. After a delicious treat of oven broiled S’mores, we all cozied up on the couch where I introduced Gideon and Rebekah to one of my favorite movies of all time, Samantha: An American Girl Holiday. But about halfway through, when both children were fidgeting and making too much racket (and making it very clear that they were not ready for this gem of a film), I paused the movie and said “Really, you guys? Do you want to watch this amazing movie or not? This is the part where they find out Nellie is in the orphanage and I can’t. hear. anything!”
2. I did my hair in a long french braid this morning and walked straight into the living room where Gideon and Rebekah were playing. “Do you guys like my hair?” I asked, turning this way and that, practically begging for a compliment. Pathetic.
3. I almost pulled Gideon’s beloved boots off of his feet and ripped them in half sometime between breakfast and lunch. They’re precious. He is precious. But six weeks of the “clop, clop, clop” of a cowboy boot on a laminate floor can cause even Susie Homemaker to rip a boot in half.
I think I’ll ask Mr. Gore if I might take an afternoon off later this week. And I know exactly what I’ll do…
I’ll go someplace quiet that serves coffee.
I’ll doctor it up just right.
I’ll take a sip.
I’ll look around.
I’ll take another sip.
My shoulders will probably slump. I’ll take another sip. I’ll start thinking about what I’m missing at the house. And just like that, my “Coop Fever” will be cured. I can already promise you, I won’t be able to get home fast enough.
Home…where my children think my french braids are breathtakingly beautiful. Home…where we can dance around in our sweatpants and sing so loud the neighbors can hear us. Home…where we can pile up on the couch and pause the movie as many times as needed. Home…where the loud clopping of cowboy boots tell me that the ones I love most are very, very near.
Home…where I can play the air guitar anytime I want. Which is usually, thankfully, never.