My friend was upset after being reprimanded for being consistently late for work. Although I wanted to console her, it wasn’t easy. Let’s put it this way: She’s a twin, and anyone who knows her is not surprised her sister was born first.
“I think people have to remember that I am single. I do not have the benefit of having a husband and two kids to help out, like you do,” she said. “If something goes wrong, like my furnace explodes or my car breaks down, I have to take care of it myself. There is no one to help me.”
I could only blink in response.
Although I was quite certain her furnace had never actually exploded, in a way she did have a point. One cold morning as I was scraping the ice off my windshield, the driver’s side wiper fell off in my hand. Not just the rubber part, the entire arm itself had broken off. Stunned, I stood there stupidly, just staring at it.
Without a word, my husband handed his keys to me and took the wiper blade in exchange. I kissed him goodbye and we both drove off to work. When I got home that night, my car was fixed and waiting for me in the driveway. Magically, it had even gotten an oil change and a full tank of gas. And, likewise, the dirty clothes Rick puts in –- or at least near -– the hamper magically wash and dry themselves and end up folded neatly, back in his drawers. Or, at least that is how it appears to him.
But, what my friend is forgetting is that Rick would have half as many car problems and I would have a lot less laundry if we weren’t married. And that is before you factor in the kids. So, spring forward to an early morning in my house a few weeks later.
My five-year-old daughter stood on the very top step of our two-story high spiral staircase and exclaimed, “Mommy, my tummy doesn’t feel so good,” only a split second before it erupted. I ran up behind her and mentally formed my action plan. The mess was contained to only the very top steps. I could step carefully around them, run to the kitchen to grab paper towels and a container, and, hopefully, sprint back up before anything more awful happened.
And then, something more awful happened.
Now there was a cascade sliming its way down the stairs. There was no way I could avoid stepping in it. Thinking that being a parent couldn’t possibly get any worse than this, I left Lia with Rick and made a run for it.
With each step, slimy goo squished beneath my bare feet. Even though the handrail was also covered, I was forced to hold it for fear of slipping on the stairs. Now, I knew in my heart that Lia did not plan what happened next, but it was hard not to be at least a little suspicious. She timed it perfectly. I was directly below her on the stairs when I realized that it could, indeed, get worse. In fact, it got worse all over the top of my head.
We tossed Lia into the tub and began to clean. As the sun rose over the horizon, we realized the full extent of the disaster. After splashing onto the several upper most stairs, it had then exploded in a 360-degree arc like some biohazardous weapon of mass destruction. It took both of us over an hour to clean the mess.
If Rick hadn’t been home to help, I would have posted a “For Sale As Is” sign on the front lawn and just driven away. The entire time I still had remnants of last night’s dinner in my hair and couldn’t help but think that if my friend, who was undoubtedly still clean and fast asleep in her bed, had a family who gave her this kind of help, not only would she not make it into work on time, she would never make it into work at all.