What He Does

What he does if you need to know
(really? it’s been five years)
is wake up one morning girl
and two obstinately not-morning girls
arguing with them to
go to the bathroom, get dressed,
eat breakfast, brush teeth,
and get out the door
before most people have left for work.

Alone, because I have usually
left already to enjoy a bike ride to school
(something he allows me to do
every day if I want, without question)
and even if they don’t want to do
any of it, with his patient words,
his no-nonsense attitude,
he convinces them to obey.

What next? You’d be amazed.
Takes Mythili back and forth
to preschool, setting timers for
snack and show-and-tell reminders,
grocery shopping with Riona in tow,
plans a menu that is healthy
(and that they’ll all eat, and that
we can afford), cooks and does dishes,
sets out my morning coffee and oatmeal,
cleans the house top to bottom every Friday,
(have you ever seen Dad use a vacuum?)
budgets and pays all our bills,
takes the girls to the park,
the zoo, the museum,
sets up play dates
and manages homework.

All without one critical word,
with the sensitive nurturing
every child needs and deserves,
all so that our evenings are calm,
relaxed, child-filled (not errand-filled),
so that we have a home, not a house.

What does he do, you ask?
Have you not seen our spotless home,
tasted our delectable dinners,
thrived on his technological advice,
and witnessed firsthand those
small arms reaching out for Daddy?

Let me apologize.
Perhaps you have not been blinded by love,
or perhaps in your narrow world of
work, work, work,
you have forgotten (or never knew)
what a happy family,
a perfect husband,
looks like.

Surety

just like that we are in our thirties
I met you when I was nineteen
hard to imagine now
you just twenty and shy as a bird
but I still fell for your wordless remarks
your looks and emails
and surety
your surety
that I belonged with you

and here we are thirteen years later
on a date
three girls with the grandparents
and we could do anything
anything
and we do
we do
and I love you just as much
now
as those hot nights in the car
years ago
when we were just teenagers really

and you can’t hold back the grin
at the table we share
because I’m all yours
all yours Babes
all
all
all yours
God how I love you still
and always, always.

Ten Random Thoughts

1. Though I thought I really had earned that 99-cent bag of Cheetos after my eight-mile run, I decided, as always, that it’s better to share it with my girls. Everything is.
2. Libraries are the best places I know. From browsing through the online catalog and reserving books and CDs to their wide variety of audio books and DVDs, I can think of few places where our tax money is better spent. It’s a shame more people don’t think like me.
3. A frugalista’s version of a car wash is to squeegee all the windows at the gas station. It’s not like we need to see out of the doors or the hood, so why do those need to be cleaned? Ever?
4. Having a handful of kids’ DVDs can make the weekend much more relaxing.
5. Why didn’t I think five years sooner to give the girls a bath BEFORE dinner? That way they’re mostly ready for bed before we even eat and their hair dries on its own. Duh.
6. Having second-degree-burned myself as a child (resulting in plastic surgery and permanent scarring), now when I make a quick burn mistake I have catlike reflexes, rushing to the sink and running my hand in ice-cold water, preventing another scar. Or, everything happens for a reason.
7. iTunes and iPods are the greatest modern inventions. In ten minutes I made the perfect playlist for running with an iPod that fits in my tiny yoga-pants pocket. Remember the days of mixed tapes and Walkmans?
8. Always go for the sale items. Today I saved 30%. Tomorrow I’ll have money to pay my bills. So simple.
9. Cheap wine (my favorite is Barefoot) tastes as good as expensive wine if you share it with someone you love.
10. The only thing I remember from that Life’s Little Instructions book my mom gave me when I graduated high school: “Marry the right person. It will determine 90% of your happiness in life.” Almost twelve years later, I must concur.