And so, I’d been watching Isla sleep. In a non-creepy way. When Neil’s away, we have a GIANT SLEEPOVER and she crashes out sideways on my bed. On the days I wake up without her elbow in my stomach or her toe up my nose, I have the benefit of seeing her open her eyes. On Neil’s side of the bed.
Isla opens her eyes on Friday morning, ‘Happy Daddy Day,’ she says.
I’d texted Neil the night before. Even though we clocked up 4,963 texts in the first six months of our relationship, I only text him when he’s away now.
ONE MORE SLEEP, I wrote on Thursday night.
On Friday morning, indeed there were NO MORE SLEEPS.
The intrepid Software Engineer was coming back, fleeing a named storm for plain old windy weather.
I had no trouble getting Isla out the door that day, but first I had to peel her off the walls from excitement.
My Dad came in to drive her to school, and he asked if she had everything ready to go.
‘Yes, but we’re not talking about that now, Campah. Because after school my Daddy comes home.’
And out they went.
There’s an eerie kind of quiet when Isla leaves the house.
Did I write?
Did I watch TV?
What I did, dear readers, was eat cheese.
You see, my husband HATES cheese. Whenever he’s away, Isla and I eat A LOT of cheese.
I miss him the first few days, but I also hoard dairy. When it gets to the end of a stint, I calculate how many hours it would take to watch 600 hours of Gilmore Girls while eating lasagne and cheese and cheese crackers with a side of cheese sauce.
For the good of my marriage. Or something.
Isla comes home, and eats a cheese sandwich for lunch.
‘Hurry up, so we can get Daddy. He’s coming home.’
‘That’s not good,’ she says, chomping. ‘I want to eat more cheese.’
We took a road trip picnic and drove with my PA (again not as glamorous as it sounds) to the train station, by way of a playpark with terrain like quicksand and a zipline thing that made me nervous.
But Isla had fun. So, y’know.
The only thing that beat FIVE MORE MINUTES was DAD O’CLOCK.
You’d think my kid was fickle. But she’s four.
We met Neil off the train, with Isla running down the platform.
I tried not to nag him too much on the way home, but I got a few things in. He threw books at me, so we’re good.
He also brought home Belgian beer that reminds me of our honeymoon. We sat around after Isla reluctantly went to bed.
And then. The next morning I couldn’t get out of bed. No particular reason, except I didn’t particularly want to. Isla came in a dumped her giant penguin on our heads, and Neil brought me coffee in bed.
However. I’m not coordinated enough to drink anything in bed, so I got into my chair and drank it. It’s the thought that counts. No, really.
And then. I had a massage. Now. When I was younger, I got massages with essential oils and Enya playing in the background. That was nice.
Now my massages are for maintenance and stretching. Apparently, I have deep tissues. That’s neat.
I also have back pain, which I honestly didn’t know was a thing for me, until I felt the absence of it. So there’s monthly maintenance massages. That works.
I didn’t write much that day.
I tried the next day, though.
Isla thinks she is Isla Knievel , so on Sunday Neil took her out on her bike. Then they came home and we watched Secret Life of Pets because Sunday is FAMILY MOVIE DAY.
Yesterday was school picture day. My kid is old enough to have school pictures taken. She was old enough last year, and it keeps happening. How?
On the way home from school drop off, I was feeling touchy and teary. I forgot that Neil just got home after a week and therefore I was trying not to nag him.
We had an argument (never mind about what, what are they ever about?) and I came in and blasted show-tunes and channelled my
inner halfway out theater geek.
AND I WROTE.
Somewhere in the vortex of internet autoplay, I ended up listening to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.
Now. Shock-horror or whatever, but I never cared much for the actual movie.
THE DIRTY DANCING SOUNDTRACK WAS MY LIFE. Or what I imagined my life to be as a kid.
I’m in the middle of Time of My Life, and Neil comes out to make tea. Because he’s a weirdo.
And there we are purposefully not speaking to each other, because we’re mad and it’s DUMB.
But that song is on. It was awkward.
‘I um, didn’t plan the song,’ I offered. ‘But, y’know, epic movie moment. Hi.’
‘Are you saying I look like Patrick Swayze?’
‘In certain lights, maybe,’ I said.
‘Like no lights,’ we said. At the same time. We do that, because we’re married. And we’re funny. OK, maybe not that funny.
But, ice broken.
He makes me a coffee before he goes back to work. That’s better than dance moves.
And we’re back.
Join the Gin & Lemonade newsletter!
Subscribe to get a roundup of posts, a writing prompt, and other groovy stuff every week!