I remember the day I knew I could marry Mr. Flinger. Surprisingly, it wasn’t in High School when we were mushy young love-birds. (gag) It wasn’t during college when we were best friends, not-dating, and desperately fixing one another up with other people. It wasn’t until years later, at 24, having moved home to Texas and back that I saw him with my cousin Danielle. I remember the summer, of 2000, living with my Uncle and Aunt having found a job up in Portland, but not an apartment. I moved up from Houston ready to start my job and my new life. One day we took my cousin roller blading. She so adored Mr. Flinger that she made a necklace for him, a pretty little thing with beads and a star at the center. Perfect for an 8 year old and slightly odd for a 25 year old man. Mr. Flinger wore that necklace all day long. He wore it roller blading at the park. He wore it to the store. He wore it even though the small string barely fit around his neck and the star jabbed him as it stuck straight out, strained on its new owner.
This was the day I realized he would make a wonderful dad; Years and years before that day ever happened.
Years and Years later, we started a family together. A family with a man I've known for 17 years. And yes, that freaks me the hell out. Why shouldn’t it?
Most days we do just fine. We go places. We enjoy friends. It’s lovely. There are the meltdowns. There is screaming (the baby) and crying (LB) and the occasional W.T.F. (me) but usually, we do ok. We manage. We’re.. happy. Really.
But I clock out at 5. I expect the man with the star necklace to walk through that door at five. I NEED the man to walk through that door at five. FIVE. That’s an entire hour after he gets off work, providing for traffic and the all important “getting things squared away” time. Five. O’clock. That’s when help walks through the door and the children smile/laugh/outburst with glee at the sight of Daddy.
That’s 17:00 if you’re in the military. Or eight PM if you’re on the east coast. Or much, much, earlier the next day in Australia. I’m just sayin’.
So what happens at six? Or seven? Or when the bed-time routine is long past due and both children are melting down and I haven’t had dinner because some small people keep BUGGING me? Or when I clock out and don’t get over-time? Or when I can’t poor a glass of wine because the guilt, oh the guilt, of drinking before back-up is here? And yes, I’m being horribly selfish but really? I’m not the only one.
Work is important. Work is good. Work pays for my coffee and our children’s clothes. It pays for our house. It provides a sense of importance. It gives us ways of using our minds. But work? Is not home. It is not the family. It is not the wife and children. It is work. And while work can go on long after you do, the family can not. And all it takes is one phone call to give an update and work is forgiven. But damn if that phone isn’t there at that desk around five o’clock. He must get shuttled to Mars around 4:30 because for some reason, some weird reason, the phones don’t work after then.
Or, at least, that’s what I’m choosing to believe.