Prompt: Mayhem, Monday, Mess, Meerkat, Make-up
Authorís Note: This was written for the Writing Meme I nicked from shanachie_quill. I gave her the letter M and she gave me the above five words and my mission was to write something from them. This is the result. It was supposed to be lighthearted and fun, but went a little emotional on me. Still, I kinda like it. This is un-betaed, except for being read over several times by me.
Written: July 24, 2013
Word Count: 919
Oh my god.
Is this normal? Surely Sarah doesn’t go through this every morning. She would have told me, right?
Regardless, my wife is a goddess and I will never ever think otherwise again. I have no idea how she does it. I mean, it’s not like I leave everything to her. We share responsibilities, but this…I had no clue about mornings. How did I not know about this and, more importantly, is this mayhem normal or is it just reserved for Mondays?
Meerkat Manor is playing on the TV in the living room. Jack is sitting on the floor in front of it, ignoring his cereal and the milk from the bowl is slowly dripping down his front. Thank God he’s sitting on the picnic blanket or the mess would be worse.
Katie is running down the hall, something red smeared around her mouth, with a tube of something in her hand and laughing like a banshee. Why is she still only in her underwear and why is Lilah yelling at her?
I look over at Devon, but he’s got his face buried in a cup of coffee and is resolutely ignoring the chaos. Before I can say anything, Lilah yells plaintively, “Dad! Katie tried to use my lipstick and she took my foundation and won’t give it back!”
“Foundation?” I mutter to myself. Then I roll my eyes, because really? Out of everything going on that’s the important thing to ask about?
Devon snorts beside me and mumbles “Make-up,” into his coffee cup.
My eyebrows go up. Lilah is fourteen. When did she start wearing make-up? Wait. Lipstick? Is that what’s smeared all over Katie’s mouth? Why is my daughter wearing that shade of red? What else have I missed around here? Am I really that out of touch with my family?
I must look really lost, because Devon sighs and sets his cup down. He pats my shoulder and says, “Don’t worry, Dad. Mom will be home Wednesday and you can forget you ever saw any of this.”
Then he walks out of the kitchen and makes Jack finish his breakfast, clean up his mess, and change his shirt. He gets the foundation from Katie and hands it back to Lilah. And he manages to get Katie cleaned up and dressed all before I break out of my stupor and figure out that while I’m one of the main providers in this family I am not the man of the house.
When did my seventeen-year-old son take on that role and why didn’t I realize it? Have I been so focused on providing for my family that I forgot to be a part of it? That…kinda looks like a yes from where I’m sitting and that’s just unacceptable.
I owe Devon and Sarah, probably the whole family, an apology. I need to make some changes in the way I do things immediately. I may be out of my depth right now, but I don’t want to miss out on any of this, the manic, mayhem-filled, messy Mondays. I want to be a part of the chaos.
But first, I grab Devon when he comes back into the kitchen and pull him into a hug. It breaks my heart a little when he just flails for a second before finally hugging me back. When he pulls back he’s looking at me like I’ve lost my mind.
“Alright there, Dad?” he asks cautiously.
“Eh, having an epiphany,” I tell him honestly.
He gives me a half-smile as he picks up his coffee cup. “That must hurt.”
I huff out a laugh and can’t even be sorry that it sounds a little broken. “It does a little, yeah.”
He frowns at me. “What’s wrong?”
And how wrong is it that it feels like our roles have completely reversed? Devon shouldn’t be playing problem solver to me, but he apparently grew up when I wasn’t paying attention.
I shrug a little helplessly. “I just realized that I’ve been missing out on a lot of your lives.”
Devon’s left eyebrow goes up and the look is so completely Sarah that I can’t help smiling. He waves his coffee cup around to encompass the house. “Trust me, Dad; you don’t want to get in on this.”
I swallow hard; because that means I really have missed so much. “I really think I do.”
Devon just looks at me then shakes his head. “If you say so.” He checks his watch, then drains his cup, and calls out for the kids, “Hey squirts! Time to go!” He grabs his backpack and his keys and waits by the kitchen door.
Lilah, Jack, and Katie run in with their backpacks and they all throw a quick, “Love you, Dad!” over their shoulders as they leave.
“Devon,” I say as he’s about to walk out the door. He looks at me and I try to give him a smile, but it feels shaky. “I love you.”
He grins at me, but I can see the concern in his eyes. “Love you, too, Dad.” Then he’s out the door and taking his brother and sisters to school.
I fall back onto my chair and put my head in my hands. I’ve missed so many mornings like this, and for what, an extra hour at the office? That was going to change. I’m not going to miss any more.
I may not survive the crazy, but I want it. That’s got to count for something, right?