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I just need a moment

“Hello, I’m home.” Howard booms, walking in after a long day’s work.

“Hi!” I yell from the kitchen, preparing dinner.

“Hello!” he yells again, louder this time, since the only response he heard was mine, and the ones he really wanted to hear had their brains attached to the computer and could not be expected to form words until we pulled the plug, or threatened to.

“Hello!” he says, in their faces and they look up at him innocently, and sweetly say, ‘Hi, Daddy” before returning to their screens.

In the kitchen, he is a storm of frustration, and he’s been home all of five minutes.

“They can’t even look up to say hi.” He complains.

“I’m saying hi,” I say and put a plate of dinner before him.

“Do you guys want to go to the park?” He yells to the other room.

A weak ‘yes’ from my oldest can be heard in reply. He has learned to say yes, although his nature usually compels him to say no. My middle son already has his glove on and stands by the door shouting at my husband to hurry.

My husband rolls his eyes in annoyance, mainly because my oldest is not as excited as he’d like him to be. Still, he’s got their attention, and shovels the food in fast so he has time to play.

“Did you have a good day?” I ask. Oh my God, I sound like a housewife. A desperate one.

He is busy eating fast, skimming the paper. “Yeah. Uh huh.” He answers absently.

It makes me want to take the old striped dishtowel I’m using to dry the pot I just cleaned from dinner and throw it at his face. Instead, I resume washing the dishes. I’ll show him… with the cleanest dishes.

With barely a word between us, he finishes his food and hurries from the table to catch whatever daylight is left to give the boys batting practice and maybe do some fielding drills. With a quick peck, a grab for water bottles and a lot of rustling and schlepping of equipment bags out the door, they are gone. The only thing left are the dishes on the table.

And my five year-old.

“Mommy!” he runs in, eyes excited and happy, while mine are watery and down cast. “Can we do drawing? Will you draw me Pokemon?”

“Okay.” I say, trying not to look at him, knowing I’m extra sensitive today for some reason, probably hormonal, and not wanting to cry in front of him.

“I love you!” He squeals and wraps his chunky arms around my waist. “I need to hug you!” He exclaims and it is the most warm, genuine gesture of affection that makes me so grateful and for some reason, even more sad.

“Go play in the other room and I’ll draw with you when I’m done.” I say, and his return smile is love.

He turns to run from the room, but stops abruptly and runs back to hug me once more before jetting off.

“Go on.” I say to the empty room, “Mommy just needs a moment.”

About Ice Scream Mama

Mama to 3 boys, wife to Mr. Baseball and daughter of a sad man. I have a double scoop every day.

54 responses »

  1. Unfortunately, even the best relationships have moments like these.

    Reply
  2. welcome to the world of 2nd base, it does change. with empty nest, and hubby wanting to catch with you. so enjoy, but smack a few butts to let them know you are still there. Its worth the trip.

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  3. There are days when I feel invisible too, but then I yell or sing really badly and I feel much better!! Lol!!

    I love your 5 year old, what a cutie!!

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  4. I get it. I hope those moments are few and far between.

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  5. I love the detail in this. It’s funny, you don’t say much about how you’re feeling, yet you say everything…

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  6. I want a wife just like you. Rarely do I clean and I never dry the pots with a dish towel. I love all the details in this.

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  7. Been there, felt that. HUGS

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  8. Now that we are thinking family, I sometimes wonder how our relationship will change once kids arrive. Whether we will sometimes have these little moments of disconnect. You told this story so well, I felt like I was right there watching you have this moment that is both ordinary and completely extraordinary.

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    • it does change, but in the beginning, especially when you’re a new family.. at least for us.. it was heaven. something almost perfect. now, it’s more crazy and always a work in progress.. and it’s all cyclical too. sometimes your up, sometimes your down, sometimes you’re even. it’s all a journey.

      Reply
  9. I heart you. So vulnerable and honest, like Sam said, it felt like I was with you in the same room. You’re amazing.

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  10. Family life is a process of constant evolution. Its so full of stages and cycles, it can get confusing to know where you stand. This was a great illustration of that. Luckily those moments are just that…moments.

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  11. We all feel a little transparent sometimes. It’s okay, as long as it’s only sometimes.

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  12. You have a great gift of expression and articulation. You’ve got this motherhood/wife/living thing down. I feel as though I’ve just expressed my feelings without having to do any work. It’s like magic 🙂
    Thank you.

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  13. I SO DO THAT: “I’ll show him… with the cleanest dishes”. And everything else, I have been hearing my mom being so upset about. I can imagine how annoying it could be to appear invisible. All you are doing is for them and even so at some points kids just take the front seat in all our lives. Feel better. 🙂

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  14. This is a wonderful slice of the reality of marriage. Those feeling-invisible moments are my low points, as well.

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  15. I’m sure he appreciates you, even as he’s wolfing the food and ignoring the dishes. At least, I think mine appreciates me… Sigh. Same deal here, substitute music for baseball. My son came and told me how nice it was that the soup was warm and waiting for him. So rare and precious when the appreciation finds a leak and flows out. It’s in there somewhere, dammed up behind all the obligations. Great writing, as usual!

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    • i know he does, but sometimes just knowing he does, doesn’t make me feel any better. i want to see it. it really doesn’t take much but it’s so easy to overlook. and thank you.

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      • Well, I appreciate you. Can’t help you with him. 🙂 Mine says nothing all year and then gets me a sweet card for our anniversary. I could use feedback more often. But he’s always here for us when it matters.

      • yes, you’re right, it is. and thank you. i appreciate you as well. 🙂

  16. Ugh . . . like a dagger in your heart! Your baby boy just made all your angst and frustration melt away. Even though his timing may have been a bit off, he still showed you unconditional love. And isn’t that what makes mothering sooo worth it? 🙂

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  17. Those are the bittersweet moments we as moms and wives/girlfriends have. The love and affection and attention is just so different but some is better than none 😉

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  18. Aw, what a sweet boy you have. I love that he said, “I need to hug you.”

    The lack of time for me and my husband has been the hardest thing about having my son almost 16 months ago. It seems that they fill every waking moment, leaving nothing for us. It’s hard. I love my son and our family. It’s just that sometimes I miss the connectedness I used to share with my husband.

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    • he is the sweetest. but it is hard. the marriage dynamic definitely has changed with each of the kids. it’s a crazy time, you’re almost too tired and overwhelmed with laundry and love to care. but finding a moment together here and there, makes it all better.

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  19. I love this piece. What a great dad your husband is! You do such a great job showing that tension within your family life. You are both doing the right thing, but it is so hard in the moment.

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  20. I feel your pain in this well captured moment. I hate when my hubs and I get into a rut of roommate-itis and forget to be important and precious to one another. I hope your husband reads this and remembers. I will make sure mine does. Beautiful detail in this essay. I want to hug all of you!

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  21. Aw, I’m glad it’s just moments. I don’t know any Mom who has not experienced this! Any time you want to come on over and “show” my husband by making my dishes super-clean you are more than welcome 😉

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  22. I love those moments with your little ones. I’m not married anymore but man, do I remember that feeling when he came home. It’s interesting that your husband gets annoyed when the kids ignore him when he comes home and then he does the same thing to you. Isn’t it ironic, don’t ya think?

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  23. Oh, love… I see you and appreciate you. And it won’t always be this way, up, down, up, down…

    Reply
  24. What a poignant moment — and I love the touches of humor, too.

    Reply

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