Most of the questions I get about you at church are "How are you getting along without her?" and they come with that loaded gaze that says "You're drowning, right? Because you're totally incompetent, right?" Their eyebrows remain in lofty arches until I respond. And sometimes even after, as if they expect me to break down any second and admit to myself and the world that I'm just not cut out for this business. Nobody asks if I miss you. They seem to think that I need you here to take care of the kids. It's amusing.
The truth is, the business of taking care of the kids is mostly pleasant. The sweeping and the wiping and the begging and the sweeping is abrasive, but I'm hoping it will only serve to round out my sharper edges. I can be pretty efficient when it comes to scheduling the morning routine, I'm thorough at bedtime and I've become a master Pig-tailer (but I discovered the headband solution this morning and I felt like kneeling in a prayer of thanksgiving, but I didn't have time).
After church we took it slow. I turned off the phones and ignored the world. Around 4:30 we got to making dinner. Hazey insisted that she help (I told you she's become the matron). She made up a list of dinner options for us to choose from
and after we'd decided on pasta she browned the meat.
I made up a startlingly delicious red sauce and, not startlingly, I was the only one who ate it. The novelty seashell pasta was a hit, however. They stacked them on their forks and placed them over their eyes. I was just weary enough not to care.
After a promised return trip to last night's park, we put Jules down and made cookies to the score of Weekend Jazz on KUER. We needed the cookies, you see, because Hazel rediscovered that extravagantly cute tea set that Grandma Clark gave her this summer and she was determined to have a tea party. We needed the jazz because (as I've mentioned to friends before) I'm under the delusion that we're always starring in a Mormon Ad, and I needed something smooth and hep to ground me while I acted out my syrupy part as the world's most sensitive dad. But we made those cookies and we had that tea party.
By the end I was waiting for that blurry long shot where the Church Logo would super impose itself onto the scene. Thank heaven for Weekend Jazz or you may have come home to a perpetually crown-lit family in eternally selective focus.
As the kids were bedding down, Hazel asked, "Where are we playing tomorrow?"
I replied after a moment's contemplation, "Oh, probably up Parley's nose and around the corner."
"No," Hazel jumped, "that's where his boogies are and he'd probably eat us."
"Yeah," said Parley resolutely, "I just always think they taste so good, but they're not."