My bare feet felt the crumbs from the Professor’s potato chips first. Then I heard him, on the phone, conducting one of his many conference calls. He was standing on the patio, off the kitchen, grilling some sausages. It was almost five o’clock and I had six ladies coming over for dinner at 6:30. I still needed to shower and finish straightening up. It always came to a showdown. You get two out of three at my house: homemade food, showered hostess or pretty home. As I chopped up the yellow bell pepper, I could feel my voice getting bitchy.
“Are you making a snack?” I asked the Professor. Who makes himself a sausage right before dinner?
He looked up, hit the mute button on his phone, and smiled. I think he was wearing slippers.
“No, it’s lunch, I’ve had a busy day.”
I guess the chicken salad I made him and put on his desk at noon was technically breakfast.
Within minutes all three of my men were on the sofa, chomping sausages and firing questions, mostly about schedules and food, their top priorities, at me. I noticed the boys’ backpacks had been tossed in the corner of the family room and I think there was a karate uniform jammed between the sofa cushions. I scanned the room for lacrosse sticks and old ice packs.
“Guys, guys, I can’t talk about this summer right now. I can’t pull up my calendar, because, as you can see, I am cooking. Will you please put your stuff away? And, in case you didn’t notice, I just plumped up all those pillows. Do you have to recline when you eat your sausages?”
The Professor realized what was going on.
“I forgot you have your book club tonight! Are we messing you up?”
If they weren’t so totally innocent I might have told them to get out of the house and leave me alone. But then I would have been alone. Even though I say I want quiet and tidiness, I know it’s not true. I manifested this gang of loving boys in front of me, with their noise, mess, and food needs. Though I tried many different paths over the years, I discovered there is no other road to the laughter, kisses, and sweetness that I soak in every day.