Monday, July 18, 2011

Chef Boyardon't

I go home on my lunch break to test just how short one hour can be.

Take 20 minutes off for driving there and back.

Take 10 minutes off for helping to get Fletcher changed into a fresh diaper and outfit, and playing.

Take 10 minutes off for preparing my lunch and Fletcher's lunch, attempting to feed us both, and staining us both with Chef Boyardee's Red Sauce From Hell (or RSFH, if you will). I wipe it up and turn away to try to put a spoonful of food in my mouth, and Fletcher picks up his bowl and dumps it all in his lap.

Take 6 minutes off for changing his outfit and wiping the stains into his feeding chair and the rug under the table.

Take 3 minutes off for helping Fletch drink his milk.

Take 10 minutes off for Fletcher spitting up the RSFH while he's running across our living room, and we get busy wiping the stains into the carpet.

In the last minute, I get to say goodbye to a little boy who knows I'm leaving, who doesn't want to let go of me, who throws a fit if I set him down. During this last minute, Andy's doing what he can to clean the rug, the carpet, and whatever else was hit with the RSFH. And he's asking me why I'm not leaving.

When I walk out the door, it all stays with me. I don't take a "break" and leave parenting behind me for the afternoon. If those 60 little minutes were stressful, you can believe the rest of the day will be. I can't stop hearing his tantrum voice and wishing I were there to help clean up the mess.

Instead, I'm at work, where a slew of tasks waits. I'm here, with stained pants and an almost empty stomach, shirking responsibility for two minutes so that I can write this. It feels as though everything I want to do – personally, professionally – is all compounding on me as every moment passes, and it is too overwhelming to manage.

As I pick up my professional to-do list and my stomach rumbles, I'm wondering how hungry Fletcher is, and what his daddy will feed him while I'm away.

I'm guessing it won't be Chef Boyardee.

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