From Commuter Husband to Mr. Mom
After spending sixteen months as a commuter husband, living and working in Arizona while my middle aged Special Needs daughter and I remained in Washington, my husband Dave scarce had time to draw breath on his return than to begin his new duties as a co-Mr. Mom to our grandson Gabriel while my daughter-in-law hurried to Brazil to support her critically ill mother. If that sentence leaves you breathless, it is intentional. We have been on a whirlwind that begs the question of whether or not this is retirement for him.
Even though Ana didn’t leave for a day after Dave’s return, that day was filled with the internment of both of Dave’s parents while she hurriedly packed. This was followed the next day by a memorial celebration of his father’s life (we did his mother’s in September) while Ana was attempting to get out of a socked in SeaTac.
The role of Mr. Mom will be a bit new for Dave. Although he is one of seven sons and has four grown step children, being responsible for Gabriel during the day for at least a month will be a first. Gabriel is homeschooled and has many activities during the day, particularly on Tuesdays. I predict that they will collapse in a heap after play practice (Gabriel is appearing as the chubby German boy in Willy Wonka—which is a stretch for a tall skinny Brazilian-American) for three hours at the Lakewood Little Theater followed by the Gig Harbor Youth Orchestra followed by his group violin lesson. GranDave will have to make sure to take a thermos of coffee and plenty of reading material.
Amidst his many activities Gabriel is homeschooled so GranDave will be acting as schoolmarm, too. Because my son Frank is a school teacher himself in the Lakewood School District and beginning his National Boards certification he can only be responsible for Gabriel in the evenings and with the National Boards, sometimes not even then. I have a job as a para educator in the Peninsula School District so the daytime duties for Gabriel’s care will fall on my husband’s shoulders although we ought to be able to tag-team some things.
Today we are starting easy. I have another day of bereavement leave and Gabriel has only his private violin lesson. We plan to take my daughter and him to the $2 movie this morning, followed by lunch at Subway before the violin lesson. Although I can take Gabriel to his group lesson tomorrow after work, the bulk of Tiring Tuesday will fall to GranDave. When Ana asked Dave to step into this role he was in the process of helping bring his father’s remains home. He didn’t hesitate a second to say, yes because he saw his own brother put his life on hold for six months to care for their ailing parents. As my blogging friend Lorrene LeMaster has said, families are like chainlink fences and you can’t let the links break if the fence is to stay strong.