Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Best Thing I Ever Did

This blog is an edited version of an essay previously published in print and online media.
I was a breastfeeding, homeschooling, at-home mom. I made macaroni and cheese from scratch, read to my babies and taught them to play piano. I created This Is Your Life scrapbooks for each child's high school graduation.

But the best thing I ever did for my kids happened before they were born: I married them a great dad.

We met in a bar. When the guy I was with stepped away, the Bad Boy who would be my husband moved in. Would I like to dance? Let’s see…mustache, dimples, cleft chin and wide emerald green eyes under a crop of dark curls. Heck, yeah.

He’d dropped out of college. Lived with his parents. Bobbed his head, winked and chewed his lips suggestively. He owed money, worked for his dad and wore tight jeans.

And he drove a shiny red, super fly, Bad Boy Camaro.

I broke up with him. He came back. We were married. Our babies arrived one-two-three.

While I was at home fashioning ever-more-creative meals out of hamburger, hot dogs and macaroni and cheese…my Bad Boy worked. And worked. And worked and worked and worked.

He worked his way through school. He got straight A’s and graduated.

He worked overtime, weekends and on-the-side. He schmoozed, networked, “did lunch.”

And he drove that Bad Boy Camaro. To classes. To the hospital when his babies were born. To the tiny trailer at school, the little apartment for internship, the rental house after graduation and into the garage of our first home.

There were weeks when he was only home to sleep. But when he was with us? He took over bath time…so I could have a break. The babies piled onto him for story time.  He tossed his green-eyed mini-me boy into the air and snuggled on the sofa with his only-God-could-make-something-this-perfect girls. He taught his darlings to fish. He pushed his babies on the swing.  He carried them on field trips to the grocery store.

And always, always he took his babies to church.

My Bad Boy was a Hott Family Man.

We joined the suburban minivan crowd and the Camaro moved from the garage to the driveway.  Rain, snow, sun and the humid Missouri air faded its shiny exterior from red to throw-that-carrot-away orange. Leather cushions popped. The engine failed. The once beautiful car was propped on blocks.

He placed an ad. The Camaro sold the first day for $600 cash -- to a 20-something Bad Boy wearing tight jeans.

When the notice arrived that he had two weeks to reclaim the abandoned Camaro, which was still licensed in his name, Hott Family Man didn’t hesitate. He crumpled the paper and tossed it into the trash.

He grabbed a football and his green eyed mini me and headed for the backyard.  Later, he’d read the kids a story and barbecue hamburgers and hot dogs.

I whipped up the macaroni and cheese.


Charles Hedrick said...

You wrote this one too well! Others may want to steal him away! Better keep an eye out!

Peggy said...

I never really knew what running with bunions can do for one. I have a strong feeling that your partner -- Bob-- and the children and grands of the two of you and certainly the extended family of each of you, are enjoying the blessing of the choice first made by you, and there after your progeny!!! Love,love love, to you... and yours... Mom