I am the heavy. I am the reason there is no sugar cereal and very limited TV. I am the reason for a reasonable bedtime, a quick bathtime, and "For God's sake, calm down", "Sit down when you eat", and "I didn't hear 'please'". I am the one who insists on sweaters and mittens, and stainless steel bottles filled with water. That gross organic peanut butter you have to stir the oil into? Yep. Greg's a Skippy man--the organic health food stuffed in our cupboards is all my doing.
I know they love me. This is not a bid to hear that, or reassurances of how I hold their world together, blah, blah, blah. Got it. Believe it. But: there is no denying the light in Buzzy's eyes when they fall on her father. Her spirit lifts. Even Rosie is under his spell: craning her neck to spot him when she hears heavy footsteps and calling everything "Dada." His secret? When he is around them, he is in their world completely. No eye on the clock or stove, no fingers itching to log on to Facebook.
He's been swamped at work and hasn't seen the children awake for a while. We visited him downtown for a half hour today, as he ducked out of the conference room for some fresh air. I had thought that Buzzy had been having a good day--we'd snuggled, we'd read, she'd danced and colored. But, when she saw Greg standing outside his building, glee overtook her. On our block-long walk to grab a milkshake, she clung to his hand. At Potbelly's, she climbed on his lap. When it was time to say good-bye, she pitched a temper tantrum on the sidewalk, "No, Daddy! Don't go back! Don't go to your trial!" [Point of clarification: he's a lawyer preparing to go to court, he's not actually on trial himself.]
On the car ride home, I tried. "Ooooh, look! A crane! I wonder what they're building?"
I tried again. "I spy, with with my little eye, something pink."
She retorted, "Well, I spy with my sad eye something sad."
Okay, fine. I channeled my inner Mister Rogers. "It's okay to feel sad, honey. It's hard to miss Daddy." I let her wallow in it for the rest of the ride. And then, even though I really had to go to the bathroom, I stopped at the park on the way home. Her mood improved as she mucked around in the damp sand. We managed to have a decent dinner and bedtime, but I didn't light the gleam in her eye. The magic in her day was contained to that stolen half hour with Daddy.
Mommies are supposed to be calm and wise and unflappable. They are not supposed to say "suck" outside of the context of nursing. But, she's asleep, and I am tired, and let me just tell you that, sometimes, being the heavy really does.