This weekend, I received a disturbing memo. It read thusly:
I've decided to take the weekend off. Possibly the whole next week off. Then again, you're familiar with how calling into work one day can turn into a reassessment of whether one should be employed at all. I might not come back. Might start a band. I hope you'll get along ok without me.
The Joy of Motherhood
Shocked and a bit appalled my old friend didn't even have the decency to mention any eligible band names before he bailed, I stared at the laptop and filled five minutes void by feeling completely abandoned. I also felt uncomfortable because five minutes is a long time to sit in a chair with no cushion. (Note to self: When receiving news of complete failure at one's profession, try to seek out nearest La-Z-Boy recliner.)
How had it happened? Four years in, wasn't I supposed to be running through fields of wildflowers, arms linked with the children, all of them donning lederhosen made of paisley drapes? Four years after college, someone had given me a degree. Four years after giving birth, someone had poured milk down the heat vent.
Nope, the joy had bailed. Instead, I'd spent two days screaming my head off and trying to figure out why the hell anyone would want to dip their spoon in the toilet before they ate off it. I'd been spit at twice. The baby, in what I took to be some sort of 80's hommage, had kicked me harder than Johnny from The Karate Kid while I was changing his diaper.
Really, when I thought about it, it'd been days since some type of high point had occurred. I couldn't sell the kids, but could I realize an old dream of mine and become a tightrope walker for Barnum and Bailey? Frantically, I messaged my old companion.
Dear Joy of Motherhood,
Please come back.
I'm still on vacation, but if you look hard enough, you'll find me.
This isn't the f***ing Neverending Story.
P.S. Sorry for the language.
Truth is, Joy and I do this dance pretty often. He has a horrible habit of leaving for days at a time, sometimes to the point I think he's decided to put down permanent roots elsewhere. No one tells you about that guy. He's allusive and doesn't deal in wildflowers or singing Kumbaya. He doesn't make a habit of hiding at the bottom of laundry piles or in dregs of the garbage disposal, where you accidentally dropped one of the good spoons.
When everything's quiet, your gin glass is full, and the kids are in bed, a picture on the table catches your eye. It's you rendered in the crudest of snapped-in-half crayon drawings. So you nod and whisper, "Welcome back."
Until Next Time, Readers!