Friday, March 16, 2007

The Rolling Shriek

It's been a relatively quiet week around here from the standpoint of blog-worthy moments or observations, I was away on business from Sunday morning - left for the airport at 9 a.m. - through Wednesday evening. Don't you just love those half weekends? I know I do.

I checked in by phone several times over the course of the trip. Always find it helpful in those moments to try to strategically assess - based on the typical cycles of daily activity and the probability of chaos in our house - whether or not it's really an ideal time to assert a telephonic presence from the quiet comfort and restful peace of a luxury hotel room. [I have found calls placed during the mad scramble to get the girls out of the house in the morning, or during the battle of wills that is "bath time" do not typically go very well.] This trip was fairly successful in that regard, I can't remember one instance of - "Here, can you please tell your daughter it's not OK to [insert verbal representation of egregious behavior, while handing offending child the phone for remote expression of disappointment and discipline]!"

I didn't bring my house keys with me, so when I arrived at our back door Wednesday night I had no choice but to ring the bell, and I'll never bring my keys with me again on a trip like this, because instead of being able to quietly enter the house and make my way upstairs for an exploding shriek, I instead experienced something much more enjoyable and profound - the rolling shriek. It started off in the distance, upstairs, slightly muffled but still very clear... "DADDY'S HOME... DAD... DAD... DADDY IS HERE!"

And the sound moved toward me like a wave, louder and clearer as the girls ran down the stairs, through the dining room, into the kitchen and finally to the back door, two little beings jumping up and down, huge smiles, excitement. Nothing like it, no way to possibly feel better about yourself and where you are and what you have than at that exact moment, in those eyes and smiles, trained on you like you were the sun or something, two tiny planets bounding around in frenetic orbit. Gwen was right behind, smiling and clearly jumping up and down on the inside, gratified by my safe return, the love in her heart and the ability to again parent in tandem. Not necessarily in that order.

About an hour later I was tucking the girls into bed. Trying to explain to Ava why I had to leave the family behind for a few days and be somewhere else. Meeting with people from work was not really cutting it as an explanation. "I know, Daddy," she said. "Were you just tired of watching The Saddle Club every day and you needed a little break?" No, I assured her, it had nothing to do with exaustion over their current favorite show.

Madison wanted a moment-by-moment breakdown of the trip - every day, every meeting, every person in every meeting, by name. Tuck-in took a while, and I could't have cared less.

To call myself lucky would be an understatement of epic proportions.


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