I don't know why, but I do my best thinking while I'm cleaning the house.  Maybe it's because after dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning toilets for 20 years the task has become so mundane I'm sure I can do it in my sleep, or while comatose for that matter.  Whatever the reason, I tend to mull over the current events of our lives while swishing the bowls and polishing the refrigerator handles. This past Saturday was no exception.  The day began just fine, I got the kids up and moving, Tom and I went to a core conditioning class at 9 a.m.  Maddux needed to be at taekwondo at 10:30 and the plan was for me to take him.  Tom says to me at the last minute, "I think I'd like to do some cardio, can you drop me at the clubhouse?"  Sure. No problem.  So that's what happens.  As he gets out of the car he says, "Don't forget to pick me up."  To Maddux I say, "Maddux, don't let mom forget to pick dad up on the way home."  Off we go to taekwondo.  I drop Maddux at the door and run to the Hallmark store to get a valentine for Tom.  All very routine Saturday stuff, right?

Forty-five minutes later, walking out of taekwondo class I say to Maddux, "There's an invitation store I want to stop at, just for a second, to see if they have anything suitable  for our special party this summer." (Tom and I are celebrating 20 years of marriage by renewing our vows in July...our kids will be leading the ceremony).   We go into the store, browse for about 15 minutes, then continue home for lunch.

Once or twice during the next half hour I say to myself and out loud (although even when I say things out loud at my house I am often just speaking to myself), "Where's dad?"  I hear a couple of mumbled "I don't knows" in between bites of peanut butter sandwich from my youngest two kids.  Do I take the time to go upstairs and check his office (where I assume he is...)?  No. I just keep puttering around the kitchen and getting dirty laundry ready to throw in the washer etc. etc. etc.

Several minutes later (an hour after that taekwondo class ended) a huffing husband comes storming through the door.  "Oh shit" (I think this to myself while simultaneously saying  it out loud...funny how everyone in the room seems to hear that oral utterance, but not my repeated pleas to clean up their dishes). "Oh My God! I am SO sorry I forgot you..."  It did not help that Saturday was the coldest day we've had in Dallas this year...with the windchill it was probably 20 degrees out.  My husband's sweaty shirt had crusted over into a stiff, icy board during his 20 minute walk from the clubhouse, his nostrils were dripping like icicles on a rooftop...

After a verbal exchange (the details of which I will spare you) there is silence.  This is the way we fight.  It's worked for many years now.  Needless to say I have something to keep my mind very occupied while cleaning the 5 bathroom, 5 bedroom, ample living/dining/kitchen that we call "home".

Over and over in my mind, as the vacuum is whirring, I think to myself, "How did I forget???"  "WHEN did I forget??"  The biggest problem is that this isn't the first time this has happened to me in the past month.  I forgot to pick up Mia from tennis lessons a few weeks ago...the instructor finally ended up bringing her home because (once again) my cell phone was on "vibrate" and I didn't hear it ring.  (I neglected to say this was also the case on Saturday which is why I didn't answer the phone when Tom called numerous times to say he knew I'd forgotten him and to please come and get him).  As I am dusting, my mind wanders back to his comment that I am so busy trying to save the world I have forgotten my family.  I can't pretend that comment didn't hurt.  The truth is I think I forgot about him as soon as he left the car.  I don't know why, but it isn't because I don't love him...after all I did go to the store and buy a valentine for him AND I was looking at invitations for a party that celebrates our 20 YEAR anniversary...

By the time I had put the vacuum safely back in the pantry, I'd actually worked up enough anger (which for me is rare since I seriously have nary an angry bone in my body) to confront him.  Just which part of my life am I to give up?  My family, my marriage, finishing college, promoting a book I wrote that I believe is worthy of reading, getting involved with our school district on drug and alcohol awareness, my CASA kid?  Which "thing" should I cut off so as to free my mind up?  (Oh, it was going to be a dusey of an argument...)  I take the stairs 2 at at time, ready to pounce, when I see through a crack in the doorway he is quietly napping on our bed.  And I think to myself...is it really worth arguing about?  What am I hoping to gain?  I did mess up and forget him.  I am busy.  Sometimes we make a mistakes.  And, I am indeed sorry for what happened...

So instead of defending myself, I crawl under the blanket, close my eyes and nap next to my valentine...

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