Monday, May 4, 2009

The Right Stuff

Paul is traveling to Virginia Beach today to hob-knob with Marines. It'll be a quick trip, but long enough that he'll be gone for two days, when you add in travel.

I don't relish the opportunity to be a single parent. When 4:30 rears its ugly head, I'm usually by the door, pacing like Marmaduke (you know...the cartoon dog), ready to tackle Paul with kisses, and more importantly, needy children.

I'm human, and I'm ready to punch my time card, slide down my dinosaur, and yabba-dabba-do myself away from the kids for a bit.

Alas, that will not be the case today or tomorrow. Surprisingly, I am okay with this. When Paul's around a lot, like on an extended weekend, I sometimes find myself being lazy. I'll let him do the heavy lifting with the kids---flossing Owen's teeth, waking up with Joel in the wee hours of the morning, time outs, diaper changes. While it is nice to take a break, it also makes me feel strangely dependent on him. I find myself wondering how I can possibly deal with the boys when they are at their worst---do I have the proverbial "right stuff"?

Of course I do. When I am alone with the boys, my glass of self-efficacy runneth over. I can do the hard stuff, and I do it. There's no time to complain or pass the buck. I just competently and effectively parent my children, doing the job of father and mother, because that's just what needs to be done.

I don't love doing it all, but it gives me the confidence that if---God forbid--I was in a situation where I was alone with the kids more often than I am presently, I would rise to the challenge. My friend Janet, who is the single mother of a beautiful preteen daughter, explains that "it's just putting one foot in front of the other."

That may be true, but it is nevertheless inspiring to walk in those feet, even if only for two days.

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