Husband informed me this morning, as he was walking out the door, that he would be having dinner out tonight and so would be home late. "Okay," I said. On the outside.
An hour or so later, Eighth Grader to-be asked if she could sleep over a friend's house tonight. "Okay," I said. On the outside.
We all went our separate ways for the day - Eighth Grader to sports practice, me to work, Sophomore to-be not yet out of bed - and that completely filled up all of the space and time otherwise available for restless contemplation of what I am doing with my life. Until sports practice ended, at which time I retrieved Eighth Grader and brought her home to get ready for her fun night out. Sophomore to-be was up by then, sort of. She was vertical. Yet unkempt. In other words, she appeared to have no plans brewing. Yay! Time with Sophomore to-be! She scowled at me when I asked if she had done the few chores I left for her to do, and I took this as confirmation that all was right with the world.
I went outside to tidy up my car while I waited for Eighth Grader to-be to finish getting ready. What should I offer to do tonight? I wondered. Dinner? Shopping? Shopping is always a winner. I felt happy. I went inside. I went inside and almost ran smack into Sophomore to-be in the kitchen: dressed, made up, wallet in hand. "So-and-so is picking me up in a minute."
I did not feel happy anymore.
"I thought we could go shopping," I offered. She nibbled the bait. "Until when?" Uh, wow. "Never mind," I said on the outside. On the inside, I threw up a little.
I may have then said some other things on the outside. I stopped short of reminding my firstborn that I labored for twelve stressful hours to bring her into this world, because surely that is always top of mind for a teenager, making it unnecessary to point out the obvious fact that Mom wanting your attention always trumps everything and everyone else. Wait, I think I did say all that. It didn't resonate, apparently, as a girl in a piece of crap car pulled out of my driveway with my daughter in the passenger seat.
Honest to God, it was just this morning that I was thinking about all the marvelous things I want to do with my time once these kids grow up and get out of here. I was dressing for work and imagining what it will be like to not have to do that someday. Everyone will have a college education and my food bill will be slashed to almost nothing. I can go anywhere, anytime, with anyone I want. Now here I am with a perfectly free evening on my hands, out of the blue. Know what I feel like doing? Lying in the fetal position while stuffing potato chips in my face and watching Friends. Because those are probably the only ones available on short notice. Ladies and gentleman, in case you wanted to know, I invented pathetic.
I suppose I will take the other one to her friend's house and then go drive around in circles. Maybe bring my journal with me. Stop and get myself a giant hot fudge sundae and use my journal as a portable table for eating my giant hot fudge sundae. Or I can go roam around a bookstore like I used to love to do, back when I didn't completely hate myself for not being committed enough to my writing. I think they sell coffee and pastries at the bookstore. That will work nicely to wash down the sundae.