Noel is wrapping up his last day of movies at Sundance and will head home tomorrow, arriving after the kids have gone to bed, if all goes well. Not coincidentally, tomorrow is one of the busiest days of his absence for me and the progeny. Archer will be doing a Powerpoint presentation in his gifted-and-talented class on the seven continents, and I'll be rushing over from school to be there to witness it. After school the kids have simultaneous music lessons back on my campus, and then we'll be going out for our last dinner as a threesome.
I was prepared to let a lot of things go these past nine days as I pushed home responsibilities to the forefront. Taking the place of various long-range projects and even more immediate administrative needs were remembering to pick up the kids at the right time and making sure they stayed clothed, fed, and caught up on their homework.
As usually happens, I didn't fall as far behind as I had steeled myself for. Student work got read; classes got prepared for; e-mails got written; meetings got attended. Even a few big issues got handled, or at least handed off in good order.
But I'm ready to return to my normal life, where these kind of things can be divvied up. I probably don't do my share on the kid front; Noel cooks the family meals and handles all the chauffeuring, while I do the laundry and pack lunchboxes. What seems to work about the way we've arranged the labor is that if there's a hiccup in either one of our schedules -- Noel has a phone interview scheduled around the time that school lets out, for example -- the other spouse can almost always step up to fill in.
That's what turns out to be wearying about going it alone for a week or so. If it's going to get done, you're going to have to do it. There's no one to hand off to. I'm ready to turn off my pager and drop off the grid for a little while, but I promise to step back up with good grace and pack the lunches Sunday night -- thanking my lucky stars I won't be cooking dinner as well.