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A Little Bit of Hard Work Never Hurt Anyone, But It Sure Makes Me Feel Bad For Myself

I'm no mother Teresa and you know my neighbor will confirm that. But, I sure was on my way to martyrdom certification when Andy went away on vacation for nine days. I began my studies at 5 am on a cold, dark Saturday when Andy gathered his luggage, his bats and jock strap and flew off to boy camp in Florida. As Andy napped on the plane, I started my usual weekend routines with toddler in tow. We navigated our first day quite nicely and even got a little clothes shopping done in between potty attempts, diaper changes and sippy cup requests. I had to admit, when later that evening a few of my friends came over for food and movies, it didn't even seem like Andy was gone. It was even fun. The house was clean and paper-pile free. There were no dirty boy socks laying on the bedroom floor and I had total control of the remote. As I went to bed that night I didn't mind that the space next to me was unoccupied.

Until I woke up, looked out the window and saw 10 inches of snow. Day two and I am a snow blowing super momma. Mother Teresa smiled from heaven as I suited myself and Caroline and made our way to the garage. Dear Mother T was with me when I squished Caroline into a baby-hiker back pack, balanced it while I sat on the floor, wrapped my arms into the shoulder straps and hoisted her onto my back. I could hardly hear her whimpers over my grunting as I raised myself and 40-some pounds off the floor into a standing position. I'd written directions as dictated by Andy: 1. push little red button three times 2. turn red thing to the right 3. turn other red thing up. 4. pull the cord and hope it starts!

I wonder what the early morning plowers thought as they drove by and saw a woman, with a kid crying on her back, snow blowing at 7:30 on a Sunday. After 45 minutes, Caroline was fully traumatized and I was empowered. After that, it was cake hauling the 50 pound pellet bags over my shoulder and dumping the contents into the stove. All week, my spirit could not be broken by 2 snow blowing expeditions, 9 daycare pickups, 3 cat vomit cleanups, 4 loads of laundry, 5 tubby times, 18 cat feedings, 8 bags of pellets, 1 pellet stove cleaning and 3 nights of toddler-in-parental bed. I was still standing.

I can't complain, really. Between all of these chores, I was cared for by many friends who fed us, hosted us in their homes and watching Caroline a few times while I was at work. These people are the real saints for looking out for us when we needed it. So, maybe I'm not as much of a martyr as I'd like to think I am. It wasn't all that bad. Like I said, I was on my way to certification, I just never completed it.

My journey in single parenting ended at 8 pm on a cold, dark Sunday. Andy walked in to the house and Caroline ran to him, wrapped her arms around his legs and covered him with kisses and hugs for the next half hour. She fought going to bed, hardly able to contain her excitement for reuniting with Daddy. Not me. I went to bed at 8:30 sharp. After all, I had to get up the next day and dress Caroline and myself for work/daycare, make lunches, go to work, make dinner, do potty, do tubby, do laundry, clean up dirty boy socks and organize piles of paper before doing it all over again the next day. Sigh. At least I was able to scratch off pellets and snow removal from that schedule.

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