A few weeks back my husband sauntered into the kitchen.
“Hey honey,” he said, “Would you mind if I went shooting with my Dad and brothers on Saturday? It’s the last chance I’ll have before moving.”
“No problem,” I said with a smile. “You’re a wonderful father, a darling husband, and you deserve to do whatever you want, whenever you want it.”
OK, that last sentence might not have been said out loud, but we all know it was right there in the “yes, you can.”
“And hey,” he said, “Next week for date night I’m going to take you to the range so you can finally learn to handle a gun.”
The week before Saturday was brutal for me. Preschool was out so I was once again plunged into full-time parenting of my 3- and 5-year-olds. They’re usually happy and busy, but major scheduling shifts bring out the very worst behavior in both of them.
By the time Saturday morning arrived I was half packed to run away to Mexico. Mr. Sharp Shooter was up and ready by 8.
“Well babe,” he said, “I’ll take Harrison with me to get him out of your hair.”
“Take him where?” I asked.
Oh. Right. Shooting on Saturday. And he was going to take the good child with him. Splendid.
“Is that today?” I asked.
“Yeah, you said it was OK …”
“Of course. What time will you be back?”
“Oh,” he said vaguely, “We’ll leave here in a few minutes, probably grab a little lunch after … you know.”
Being the naive wife, I silently assumed that “after lunch” meant “home by 1 o’clock.”
By 4:30 I was going insane. I had spent my Saturday feeding, ignoring, and being forced to discipline my two middle children, not to mention the teething baby who thought my hip was the only answer to life’s most stressful situations.
When my husband finally rolled in the door around 5, I was ready to bolt. I had my purse and keys and wanted nothing more than a moment away from the insanity.
“Here,” I said, handing him the baby. “I’ve got to run down and print something out, then I’m going to hit my errands.” I raced downstairs to finish gathering my things. Within two minutes the baby was screaming.
She cried for 10 minutes.
I finally made it back upstairs, my fuse smoking, and found my tuckered out mate sound asleep on the couch.
“Really?” I said, waking him up, “You can’t hear the baby screaming her head off?”
This casual observation led to a slightly heated discussion about schedules and preschoolers and husbands who don’t feel appreciated. As uncharacteristic as it might sound, I remained mostly calm and aloof. I didn’t yell back, I didn’t curse or kick or mimic, I simply let him blow off steam as I gathered up my errands.
He finally slumped down in front of the computer with one last invitation for me to leave (and possibly never return). I decided the best thing to do would be remain cordial, refuse to fight, and quietly escape to the comforts of the mall, followed by the movie theater.
But as I turned to go, I spied his large glass of ice water sitting on the counter in the kitchen. As if in slow motion, I watched my steady hand pick up the ice water, walk behind him, and gently dump the entire contents right. Over. His. Head.
Then I ran like hell to the car and didn’t come home until midnight.
The next morning (after we’d finished with the I’m-sorry-I-love-you speeches) he pulled me in for a hug.
“You know,” he said with total sincerity, “I’ve decided it wouldn’t be a good idea for you to learn to shoot after all. I might not survive it.”
Frankly, the man has a point.
Annie Valentine is a Layton wife, mother and columnist. Readers can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog at regardingannie.wordpress.com.