A Fortress of Pizza
We try to talk at each other from across the room, only we can’t hear over the din of Mommy, wook at dis! and Daddy will you wrestle me? and What are we having for dinner and I don’t like that! We had that last week!
(Sidenote to Mom: sorry for all the times I complained about dinner. It’s coming back to Karma-haunt me.)
We try to fish for each other across a rocky sea of kids and after a couple casts, we surrender to the tide and go with the flow of parenting.
But we miss each other. And we really aren’t willing to settle for roommates and co-parents.
So we put the kids to bed early and ignore the protests about the fact that the sun really isn’t all the way down yet. Too bad. Because this whole thing? This crazy train we call family? It relies on the two of us, our relationship, to keep on trucking.
We fed the kids, but neither of us have had dinner and it’s 8 o clock. So I put a pizza in the oven and we wait impatiently. I pour Diet Cokes and add a shot of raspberry flavoring. We sit down at the table, finally talk uninterrupted, systematically sharing our days, sewing ourselves back together again.
One by one, the kids get up to lob grenades at our fortress. Abby needs a cough drop. What’s that delicious smell? She asks. Mommy and Daddy’s dinner, I tell her. Oh, she says, retrieves a cough drop and goes back to bed. Ben gets back up and needs to use the potty. Go ahead we say. We don’t offer him any pizza. Isaac says he can’t seep. Yes you can, we say. We are unfazed by the grenades; we are riding high on pizza and soda and adult conversation. We retreat to the living room and a redbox movie.
Isaac makes one last attempt at escape.
My’s tummies hurting. And I DO want a cuddle. He says it like only a two year old can, full of thick lispy words and all the hope that life has yet to quench.
Tim wavers, teeters on the edge of softening, but the movie we are watching is I, Frankenstein and as poor as the creature effects are, Isaac would be terrified. He sends Isaac back to bed, wailing.
The movie is ridiculous. Five minutes in, I consult Google and see that Rotten Tomatoes described it as “loud, incoherent, and dramatically listless.” We laugh at the accuracy of that description and spend the rest of the time making jokes at the movie’s expense. It feels good to laugh together.
We just get a slice of the day, the last rind of energy’s melon. It’s not much but it’s ours. We love our kids, but we don’t feel guilty for not including them because we know: what they need most, more than late-night pizza or cuddles after bedtime, is for us to love each other.