...I'd be at the gym right now. Instead of pacing around, trying to figure out what to do with myself while Q and her little friend enjoy their playdate in the back room with the Wii.
My pacing is more virtual than physical. I spend a lot of time (really, it's a shameful amount of time) reading Magic Cookie's archives and writing draft posts in response to them because comments have been turned off.
Leo is out of town this weekend, which explains both why I have to stay here with Q and why there is a friend of hers on the premises. When Leo is around, it's just the three of us - no little friends interrupt our weekends ordinarily. There's something about Dads and other people's kids. I remember being at my friend's house when I was Q's age, and the dad was never around (even on the weekends), or if he was, everything was sort of hushed and uncomfortable and you kinda knew you should go home soon.
Guess what else happens when Leo is gone? The dishes don't magically reappear in the cupboard! The laundry stays where I left it. In a way, it sucks and reminds me how little I do on a regular basis around here. But, in a way, it's awesome, 'cause things actually stay where I put them, and I remember (mostly) where I put stuff. In places that make sense to me. And it's good practice for me to get back on top of things (like running the dishwasher and emptying it and making the beds, etc.)
Well, I've decided that Q and I will go for a bike ride together after the friend leaves. That's the cool part about her getting bigger. I need to celebrate the good stuff about that.
In the meantime, I can imagine what else I'd be doing if I weren't babysitting. Like, studying. Or at least reading for pleasure (as in, a real book. TMI ALERT: yes, I'm tackling Team of Rivals two-pages-at-a-time during bathroom visits. I expect to be done reading it by this time next year). Or at some event with other grown-ups somewhere. Or at somebody's lake house. Maybe it would be MY lake house, because that's where I might have put the money that went into daycare and day camp and clothes and parties and hair accessories (I swear this house eats ponytail holders. Or else the cats are eating them). Also, I'd probably not have any cats (I got them because Q has no siblings and what is she supposed to say, at 5 years of age, when asked "Do you have any brothers or sisters? Do you have any pets?" No, no, no. It sounded so lonely and made that getting-to-know-you conversation rather bleak. At least she can talk about her cats, right?). Maybe I would be getting back from running a 5K. Because I would have gone to a doctor and had my knee looked at five years ago instead of just ignoring that crunchy sound in my left patella that still creeps me out and must be related to the sharp pain that accompanies running or walking up hill or up stairs. And in this kid-free fantasy I'm currently enjoying, I am also about eight years younger but farther along in my career, AND, I'm a Director on the Board of This and That, AND I have an award or three lauding my Community Service hanging on the wall.
I will close with something from Magic Cookie's archive, a song by Jonathan Coulter, about how kids ruin your life. And how wonderful it is that they did.
The Place Where All the Fun Happens
4 hours ago