Well, I’m back to physician assistant school. I had to say goodbye to the kids, and they’ve been terrific fun these last two and a half weeks. Micro-anecdote: my son is 4 and delights in pretending that he is a seed. He curls up in a ball on the floor, and I pretend to water him, which causes him to “grow” and spread his “branches.” Then he has me pick strawberries from him and pretend to eat them. He laughs and bounces up and down like Tigger. How do you leave that? It’s only for a week this time, but it’s always hard. You see, my wife is a school district superintendent. She works 50-60 hours a week, so playing single mother with three toddlers is asking her to be “on all the time.” And while that’s going on, my physician assistant school training is just plain fun. I get to do something I love, and I get alone time, which is a rarity when you have twin four-year olds and a first grader. This wife and her sister are preparing a menu for a fancy fundraising dinner that they will serve to the winners of this year’s boosters auction. On top of it all, it’s our 11th anniversary. Not the best time to be absent. So I call her:
“Hi, honey. Just calling to check in. I miss you. Are you doing okay?” It’s loud on her end.
“Uh, yeah. We’re fine. My parents and Jen and Jon [her sister and sister’s husband] are here Doctor Bill’s here [a physician and good friend]. He brought wine!” I hear her giggle slightly. “We’re trying out tapas for the fundraiser. The kids are playing outside, having a great time.”
“Outside? Isn’t it dark?” I’m confused. They’re supposed to be in a world of hurt.
“Well, yeah. But they have flashlights! They’re looking for bugs in the dark. They found some really big ones too…”
“Oh. Well, it sounds like you’re surviving.”
“Oh, sure. We’re having fun. Sorry you can’t be here.” Someone asks her a question. She responds to the question with, “Yeah. The chorizo skewers should be almost done.” Then back to me. “Honey, the wine Bill brought is so good!”
“Honey?” I need her attention for this: ” Happy Anniversary.”
“Oh, right. It’s our anniversary.” More talking aside, and then a dog bark. “Gosh, I completely forgot. I’m sorry, honey. I guess I forgot about it after we went to see that George Clooney movie last week–God, that movie was slow. Anyway, wow. Happy Anniversary. ”
When I get off the phone I don’t feel so guilty anymore, and my textbooks stare at me.