The Quiet Ride

I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but it seems inevitable that something large and expensive will break or need replaced.  We’ve had our furnace go out, our water heater break, needed a root canal and crown…you name it we’ve replaced it during the holidays.  This year, it was tires for our car.  I suppose we should have seen it coming, but alas it wasn’t until one of the tires went flat and we went to change it that the need for new ones became apparent.

Knowing that we’d need to use both cars to get the new tires, we waited to take the car in until Matt had a day off earlier this week.  Then we convoyed our way over to the tire shop.  Brendan was still in school when we went to drop the car off originally, so I had just the two little ones in the back of the van.  As we came up to a stop light I waved to Matt who I could see in my rear view mirror.  Cameron asked me who I was waving at, so I told him daddy and that set off a firestorm of questions.

“Daddy?  Where’s daddy?  I don’t see daddy.  Hi daddy!!  Hi Daddy!!  HI DADDY!!  Why doesn’t he answer me?  Can’t he hear me?  HI DADDY!!”

The poor kid just couldn’t undertand, no matter how I explained it, that daddy was in another car behind us and that 10 feet and closed windows meant he couldn’t hear Cameron calling to him.  Of course, once Cameron got started on yelling to daddy, Kaylee had to get in on the act as well.  Pretty soon there was an absolutely deafening chorus of “Hi Daddy’s” coming from my back seat.  It was enough to drive anyone to insanity.  Lucky for me, the tire place is only a couple of miles from our house.

After we dropped off the car our day progressed fairly uneventfully.  We ran some errands, put the kids down for their naps, picked up Brendan from school and worked on his homework.  It wasn’t until I was in the middle of fixing our dinner that the tire place called and said the car was ready.  None of the kids were very happy that we all had to pile into the van to go pick up the car.  They just couldn’t understand why this wasn’t something daddy could do on his own.  So our second trip to the tire place was made amid overlapping complaints about why it wasn’t fair that they had to come along.

We arrived at the tire shop and saw no reason to get all of the kids out of the car when we were going to be turning around and heading for home as soon as Matt paid for the tires and got his keys back.  When Matt got back to the car, Cameron began begging to ride home in the car with Matt.  I started to say no, because it just seemed like such a waste of time and energy to get him out of the van, into the car, and rebuckled into his booster seat.  But Matt stopped me before I got the no completely out of my mouth.  He said if Cameron wanted to ride home with him he didn’t mind because Brendan had already asked before we left home and he’d said yes to that.  And with that two boys were clammoring to get out of the van and settled into the car.  While they buckled in, Matt was still at my window talking to me about the transaction and the new tires.

Our business settled, I started to put up my window and Matt walked around to his car.  Kaylee, realizing that she was the only child left in the van and that daddy wasn’t going to be getting back in either, began to wail loudly.  Her wails were loud enough to get daddy’s attention despite the closed windows.  He came back to the passenger door and asked if she wanted to ride with him too.  I really started to object on this one.  It’s one thing for the boys to ride with him as they’re able to get in and buckled without much help, but to take Kaylee meant unbuckling her 5 point harness, and re-doing the entire process in the other car.

But daddy couldn’t resist his baby’s wails and tearstained cheeks.  He walked back around to my side of the car and “saved” his baby.  Before I really knew what was happening I was driving home an empty van.  Being a stay at home mom means that alone time is rare, and as I followed my husband’s car full of children home from the tire store I realized how lucky I was to have this 10 minute break from the continuous noise that my children make.

I’ve stayed at home for over 6 months now, and although I understand enough about my children to expect it now, it still amazes me just how much they miss their dad every single solitary day.  He’s only gone for work 8-9 hours every day, and (at least for Brendan) they’re in school for much of that time.  But when daddy comes home at night, or has the day off from work they treat him like he’s been on a month long expidition far far away.  They beg him to play with them, they hang on his every movement, they clambor onto him in the recliner.  And he loves it.  Oh once in a while I’ll hear a grump or two about how he can’t get anything done around here without a child or two or three hanging on him, but most of the time he’s downstairs in the middle of the basement floor acting out Batman’s latest battle with the dinosaurs, or watching TV with two kids snuggled into his lap, or building race cars out of Lego’s for the boys to play with.

The kids and I are so lucky to have a daddy like him.

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