Something I read about with some frequency in the postpartum circles was the feeling of being disconnected from your child, as if you were the babysitter eternally waiting for the "real" parents to get home. I understood that feeling extremely well, not just because I babysat often growing up -- but because of the yes, that's what that is sort of revelation once I had the sensation explained to me. I always felt better when I had another adult with me, and I often had to remind myself that I WAS the parent and that meant no one was coming home to have all the answers and assuage my concerns and rescue me from the suffocating pressure of having a medically fragile newborn.
Golf Tuesdays bring that feeling back so hard it takes my breath away.
Tuesday evenings is when Kyle goes golfing with my brother for nine holes as part of a league I willingly and eagerly agreed to them participating in together. I thought yay, male bonding time! and was grateful that it was over the summer, so it just meant I had to man the battleship alone for a few hours in the late afternoon/early evening once a week, which was no worse than Kyle doing the same for me to go to dance classes. I thought it would just be good for everyone.
I didn't realize that it began before school got out and continued past when school started again. And I didn't account for missed days due to this or that meaning EXTRA LONG days the following week.
Yesterday was the longest of these long days ever, with Kyle leaving for in-service before I woke up (but only slightly so, as the sound of him leaving woke the kids up at some ungodly hour) and not returning home until after 8 PM.
The kids were well behaved for the most part, but UNRELENTING in their (a) constant need for my attention since I was the only parent around and (b) endless inquiries about their father, to the point that Kiedis all but threw my phone at me, glared, and very forcefully signed "Daddy" while shoving the phone against my face.
(My response was to call Kyle and leave a voicemail of the kids parroting "Daddy? Daddy! DAAAAAAADDDDDYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" for about a solid minute before asking him to make this the quickest round of golf in the face of ever, and hanging up.)
And I kept finding myself going to to the kitchen, or to the bathroom or sitting under the dining room table while they were distracted in the living room and thinking where the everliving fuck are your parents? while mentally correcting myself to think I mean your father. Where in the everliving fuck is your FATHER.
Oh, he was leisurely enjoying the damn near perfect Autumnal weather we've been having while I was cooped up in a tiny house with tiny children covered in ketchup and applesauce and a needy Chihuahua with a stick up his ass barking at every phantom whisper he heard and a perpetually dying smartphone my only anchor to a sane, properly-time-managed society that usually I am capable of participating in while knowing full well that to venture into the yard to burn off some of the uncontainable energy my children possessed would be an invitation for all of the children in a five-block radius to be in my yard, completely tearing my shit apart figuratively and literally.
YES, LITERALLY. THE OUTSIDE CAT POOPS IN THE GARDEN AND THE NEIGHBOR KIDS DIG IN IT EVEN WHEN I TELL THEM NOT TO. POOP ON MY PROPERTY=MINE. Even if it is gross.
So I kept the kids up later than usual and at the time they'd usually be getting out of the bath and going to bed (because Daddy does the baths and bed so that I may be in privacy and silence for the first time in the day), I finally took them outside and just sat and let the kids do whatever because you know what, I'm the parent of just the two of them, but I am not the babysitter of the rest and eff it, my house, my rules, you don't like it, then watch your own damn kid.
And suddenly, I could kind of breathe in a non-panic-attack-eminent sort of way. You know, between the sneezes because I'm allergic to outside.
Hopefully there won't be any more missed days of golf resulting in the next week's golf outing going into the twilight hours while I try desperately to remember where I keep the purple paper lunch sacks I bought forever ago for some never-realized craft project so that I may properly hyperventilate into one when the need be while the children do their Parade of Doom and Anarchy throughout the house (they hold kitchen utensils or drum sticks over their heads and run blood-curdling screaming from the living room through the dining room to the kitchen and back again as if their feet and lungs are tireless) and fight the urge of wondering where their parents are because I'd like to be paid and released back into my adolescence, please and thank you.
Because, damnit, I'm not the babysitter.
I'm the mommy.
I'm just not sure when I'm ever going to be used to that fact.