Once a year I get to claim that moniker, Hunting Widow. Don’t get me wrong; he heads out and attempts to kill forest animals at least a dozen other times throughout the year, sometimes even successfully. But those are day or weekend trips, and aren’t terribly disruptive to my life. In fact, I don’t mind them in the least, as it allows me additional, often uninterrupted, writing time that I would not otherwise have.
But this mid-November excursion year after year, this is the big one. He leaves our southeast Michigan home in the middle of the night (okay, super early morning) and heads north until he crosses the Mighty Mackinaw Bridge, and then he hangs a left and drives west until he is almost to Wisconsin. And then he sits in the woods and hopes Bambi will make his way past the deer stand, so he can add a rack to the wall and fill the currently nearly empty deep freeze in the basement.
He discovered this hobby a month after my son, our first child, was born. Thirteen years later, he swears it was a coincidence. Thirteen years later, I do not believe him, so we agree to disagree. We do that a lot in our relationship, which works well for both of us. I figure it’s making our kids well-rounded.
“Kids, your dad is a narrow-minded Republican, don’t listen to a word he says.”
“Kids, your mom is a bleeding heart liberal. If she had her way, we’d donate every penny we make to the poor and you’d never get to go on vacation.”
I used to resent this time he spent away, because it meant I had to take care of myself, two babies (after the third year of hunting, anyway), the dog, the house, and whatever the hell else cropped up while he was gone. Did I mention I work fulltime outside the home?
When the kids were little, it was hell. I mean, unconditionally horrid. Babies and toddlers require a great deal of upkeep, and I had not signed up to do it alone for even a week, so needless to say, I was terribly resentful of the time he spent away. He got into the habit of not even calling or texting while he was gone because he knew I would be bitchy and would pick a fight because goddamn it, taking care of kids is hard work, and like I threw in his face every opportunity I got, this was supposed to be a fifty-fifty gig.
Fast-forward thirteen years, and it’s a different world. My kids practically take care of themselves. My son is in middle school, and gets up, gets ready, and heads down to the bus stop without my having to say anything more than, “Have a great day at school and try not to give your science teacher grief.” My daughter still needs a little prodding, but not much, especially if you warn her ahead of time (“Here’s the plan for tomorrow morning. I know your dad doesn’t usually drop you off at the neighbor’s house until eight, but I have to leave for work at seven-thirty, so we need to be in the car and pulling out the driveway at that time, okay? And if we leave on time, I’ll buy you that pony you’ve been begging for.”).
She loves hanging out with these particular neighbors, so doesn’t mind an extra half hour in the morning, on occasion. Just yesterday it occurred to me that this was the last year I had to worry about early morning drop offs. She too will be in middle school next year, which means we’ll all leave the house at the same time. Easier yet.
Unless extra-curricular activities throw a wrench into my well-planned-out routine. Such as jazz band. My son has discovered a love of music and plays the trumpet. This year, he made it into jazz band, a high honor for seventh graders, which is fantastic, of course. As fabulous as this is, it means my routine has had to adjust, because jazz band practices for forty-five minutes prior to the start of school, and guess who has to drop him off two days a week?
The last day of Hunting Widow-dom 2015 turned out to be the most challenging, because I had to get the son to jazz band practice, which meant we had to leave the house at seven a.m., which meant my daughter had to get up at six-thirty, a full hour earlier than she’s used to, and half an hour earlier than she’s had to get up since the husband has been away at deer camp. Have I mentioned she isn’t a morning person?
The night before, I convinced her to go to bed at 9:15, and I literally crawled into my own bed immediately thereafter, but that was because I’d stayed up until midnight the night before reading a book. Despite my early bedtime, I woke up late that morning, so instead of getting ready for work a half-hour prior to the kids getting up, as I’d planned, we were all trying to get ready at the same time, in one and a half bathrooms and one kitchen. Fun times.
And yet we made it. We were out the door at 7:05, which was my goal. The daughter was dropped at the neighbor’s, the son was at school by 7:15, and I was on my way to the day job, excited that I’d get there earlier than normal, therefore could cut out earlier than usual.
Halfway there is when it hit me. I hadn’t completed my normal morning routine. I hadn’t—gasp—pooped. In my own bathroom. All by myself, with no potential witnesses to any sounds or smells that might possibly occur. And as I continued to suck down coffee, I could feel the urge roiling in my gut, and I knew I’d have to go by the time I arrived at the day job.
I hate pooping at work. Which is so silly, if you think about it. First, everyone does it. Maybe not at work, but everyone does it, often daily. Second, I’ve birthed two kids, and if there’s anything more embarrassing than a nurse telling you, “You’re pooping on the table, so you’re doing it right,” I have yet to experience it.
As I clutched the steering wheel and contemplated which restroom was least likely to contain witnesses, I thought about writing. Which led to another thought. I write about sex. No, not erotica, but I write romance, and my romance always contains sex. Fairly explicit sex scenes. Sex scenes drawn from the dark recesses of my mind. Sex I’d love to have, or maybe have had. And it occurred to me, why am I so damn embarrassed about performing a bodily function that everyone—everyone—does, but I happily and proudly write sexy stories and make them available for the entire world to read? What’s the difference? Wait, the difference is, everyone poops, but most people don’t write about sex and peddle it to the world. So therefore, I should not be embarrassed about either scenario, right?
Yeah, try telling that to my bowels.
Tami Lund likes to write. And drink wine. She’s writing happily ever afters, one book at a time. Take a look at the free one, over on her website: http://tamilund.com