I Think My “Survival Mode” is Broken!

As my husband prepares for his upcoming weeks long stint out of the country, I’m watching all the things he’s packing. Pants that zip off into shorts, rain gear, his iPad for the long flight; stuff that will make travel easier and allow him to keep functioning in a variety of different circumstances.

I should be preparing, too. (There are ways to stay strong during deployment!) The first 24 hours after my husband leaves are usually one epic fail after another as I get used to compensating for his absence again. I will do a lot of muttering. And sweating. I will probably have crazy eyes and most definitely crazy hair. I will be a few tight-chested breaths away from a full-on panic attack. And that will all be within the first five minutes. How will I survive? You will, we can help.

My five-year-old informed me recently that she has a switch on her big toe that allows her to sing like a boy to the boy songs on the radio.  She flips back to her normal voice to sing the girl songs.  I really, really wish I could get a “Survival Mode” switch installed somewhere on my body so I could just flip it on and instantly be ready to shoulder all the responsibilities of a shared life.  I’ll have to get the name of her electrician.

But until then, I’ll have to just believe that my rock star rhythm will eventually kick in. And while I’m waiting to once again surprise myself with how well I can meet a myriad of demands and maintain my cool, my day will probably go something like this:

  • Wake up to the alarm on my phone 20 minutes before the tardy bell rings at my daughters’ school. Yes, I set it for an hour ahead like the hubby always does when he’s here, but I hit snooze a couple of times. Actually, six times.  Now, it’s “run like the wind” mode. Like “Category 5 hurricane, imminent-death-around-the-corner wind” mode.
  • Skid into the drop off area with two wrinkled (hubby does the ironing), but dressed girls and one screaming toddler still in his pajamas right as the car helpers are heading inside (hubby takes the girls to school), which means if I jump out, rip them from their car seats, and shoo them toward the door before the helpers get there, they can still get in without being counted tardy or getting locked out. Run, girls, ruuuuuun!
  • Drive home feeling semi-victorious that I at least did not have to get out and walk the girls in in my bathrobe, carrying the aforementioned screaming pajama boy. We might have been the last car to go through the drop-off line, but we made it. I live on that high until I turn onto our street and see the garbage truck laboring down the road toward our house. I didn’t remember to roll the trash bin to the end of the driveway (another one of hubby’s jobs), and there is no way we can afford to miss a week with the kind of diapers this boy produces. I blow past the truck, tires screeching as I throw the car in park and hop out in front of the garage. I wrestle with the ridiculously full and foul-smelling bin while the boy begins a new series of wails because I didn’t get him out of his car seat. I manage to heave it onto its wheels and break into a full run down the driveway, dragging the bin behind me.  Which works fine, until I get to the incline. The bin picks up speed at an alarming rate, and I almost get run over. By a trashcan.
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