Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I've Gotta Go

It was quiet in my house two days, happily quiet. And not the three-seconds-before-screaming-and-tattling-quiet, but actual calm, playing in the same room while I wrote q.u.i.e.t. Right as it dawned on me that it was happening, Happy said, "Mom, I gotta go!"

Which instantly springs me into action. Because unless that kid is wearing clothes made of tear-away fabric, I have about nine seconds to help him get undressed and to the bathroom. Why? Why does he do this? Why is a simple trip to the potty predicated upon a mad dash to strip and haul (naked) a$$ across the house to the bathroom? Is there a pee-wee league for College Streaking or something that he signed up for?

I'm pretty sure that, like most things, it's my fault. I think I yell "I GOTTA GO!" about sixty-eight times a day. To school, to preschool, to attempt to get off the phone, to try and get out of the driveway, to get someone out of the bathroom who is sitting on the pot but really just playing with certain action figures because that's the only place where someone's brother can't come in and take away certain action figures. Plus, I always think if you sit there too long, just shouldn't sit there that long. We're talking Parade Magazine length of time is sufficient, not the op/ed page of the Sunday New York Times.

[Editor's Note: You know, while I'm on that for a moment. Men, when you take the section of the newspaper into the loo for 20 minutes, I don't care if there's a nude picture of George Clooney in there. I. Do. Not. Want. That. Section. Back. I'm sure you washed and all, but...just no. How about taking in the Sports or Automotive pages, OK? Or one I've already finished reading. Just not the classifieds. That's research. - Kate]

The point is, you call 'I gotta go', you basically have called dibs on the schedule for the next fifteen minutes. It's like Shotgun, but for the toilet, or karate, or Girl Scouts. It's almost like calling "ACTION!" in a movie. Someone says it, and everyone else starts moving. Well, everyone except for one person...

Two nights ago, McLovin is trapped in the center ring that is the Circus of our House and the only thing we're missing is flying monkeys and poo and he says, "Umm, guys. Looks like I gotta go."

And then everything stopped. The boys were smashing open Bakugans. McGee was in the middle of a screeching lovely clarinet rendition of -- of -- something that I'm sure was a song at one point. I was in the middle of dinner. Actually I was pouring a glass of wine. Semantics...

"Umm, guys. Looks like I gotta go..."

Again-istan. Again.

McGee: When?
McLovin: Friday.
McGee: What?! What about the Halloween thing?
McLovin: I'm sorry. You can still go with Mommy.
Happy: You're going to Again-istan? Again? No Daddy. No.
McLovin: Just for a while buddy.
McGee: How long?
McLovin: Until they don't need me to be there.
Lefty: So, other people get to come home now?
McLovin: Yep.
Lefty: Well, they'll be happy. And maybe we wouldn't be so sad if they just wouldn't shoot people over there.

His bag is set up in our closet - again. And all the travel stuff is out on the countertops. Again. And it's written up on our calendar in the kitchen. And we all know that nothing is really happening until it's written on the calendar in the kitchen. They stood there and stared at me while I wrote it. It's a long f**king word. It takes up a whole week of squares just to write it.

Lefty came to me last night and wanted to know how far away it is. We looked it up. It's 6,930 miles away. But this is what we saw when we typed it into Google:

Lefty read it out loud. "We could not cal - cal -cu- late -- what does calculate mean?" I told him it meant add it all up. He kept reading, "...calculate directions between Washington D-C and Kabul, Again-istan. They can't tell us?! It's so far they can't tell us how far it is??"

And then he deflated. When he was little, he and McGee loved that song "How Far is Heaven?" by the Los Lonely Boys. They'd sing along and then ask how many planes away were places they'd been. Boston? One plane. Texas? Two planes. The fun beach? Three planes and Mommy's not so happy when they arrive and then Papa gives her a pina colada. Heaven was two hundred planes. Too many to try and take until you were old and ready. And everyone you love is there waiting for you.

He asked me how many planes it was. I told him it was just two, but he didn't like that answer.

"Again-istan is like ten million planes and no one you love is there."

Yes there is baby. McLovin is there. And we love him a lot.

On Friday, he's gotta go.  We'll spend the next two days imagining him on planes.  We'll spend the next several weeks (oh please God weeks and not months) praying we'll get the call that he's coming home.  I'll try my best not to let The Fear keep me from taking care of everything while he's gone.  I'll think of all the other families who are praying for the safe return of those they can't live without.  And how places like Again-istan are actually only two planes away and are filled with people we love.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

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