Can we just strike the word "do" from the English language? I've been hearing it a lot lately, and it's wearing me out.
This happens when I have a youngest child closing in on turning three. It happened when Giant turned three, and it's happening now that Cuckoo will be.
People start asking, "What will you DO when he goes to school?"
Forget the fact that, thanks to Indiana's cut-off date, he won't even go to kindergarten for three more years. He will only go to one year of preschool, so I've got two whole years to worry about what I'll DO.
At this point, this is what I foresee happening:
Drop him off at his first day of school, then go straight to the salon for a haircut. I am lucky to get my hair cut three times a year. When I get the chance to have time alone, I will give my hair the attention it deserves.
I will then go home and sit on the couch. I will listen to the sound of absolutely nothing. In the seven years we've lived in this house, I have not had even 10 minutes in it by myself. I will luxuriate in the complete and utter silence. Unless there's a squirrel in the yard. Then I'll listen to the dogs barking. Other than that, silence. Until the phone rings, and I answer it, because I always answer it when a family member isn't at home. And then it won't be the school telling me that another child has maimed himself on the playground and needs to go to the ER. It will be Citibank, telling me for the 217th time that this is their second and final call to let me know about the chance to cut my percentage rate in half. I'll want to slam the phone down, but with these new fancy phones, I can't do that. I'll be annoyed that I can't slam the phone and must simply push, "off." It's just not the same. Once I'm annoyed, the silence won't be as much fun, so I'll go do the next thing on my list of things to DO without children.
I will swim. I will go to the YMCA, get a membership for one, and head to the pool. Of all the sports I have done, swimming is my favorite. Besides the fact that it means, once again, some silence, I love the feel of the water whooshing past me as I beautifully execute my freestyle stroke, do an awesome flip-turn, and head back. Over and over and over again. Feeling those muscles firming up with every lap. It's something I haven't been able to do for many, many years, as it's not like I could tell the kids to play while I did some laps. So swimming I will do. Except that this old body hasn't been in a pool to swim laps for a good 15 years. My freestyle will be given up after two laps, as I won't be able to breathe. I'll switch to breaststroke, where at least I'll be able to breathe, but there won't be any cool flip turns. And it won't be silent, as my head will come above water every stroke. And when my head comes above water, I'll be able to see all of the 75 year old men and women "swimming" laps with me, because really, have you ever seen anyone between the ages of 18 and 75 swimming laps? (outside of training for the Olympics, that is) No, you haven't. Seeing all of those elderly folks surrounding me will get my mind wandering. I'll start thinking about how old I'm getting. I'll think about how old my parents are getting. I'll think about what life will be like when my parents are 75. I'll think about how much pain I'm in after only swimming 4 laps of breast stroke. I'll start getting depressed, thinking about how I'm probably half-way to dead. And who can swim laps after she realizes she is on the backside of "the hill," careening towards a nursing home?
The swimming cap will be torn off, (Yes, a swim cap. Can't ruin my new hairdo with a bunch of chlorine, now can I?) and I will move on to the next thing on my to-DO list. I will call Hubby and ask him out to lunch. He will of course say yes, because he loves me and wants to spend as much time with me as possible. We'll meet at a lovely restaurant downtown, where I'll have all the time I want to look at a menu without once glancing at the kids' meals. I will choose a yummy dish of creamy something or other, and we'll gaze into each other's eyes while we wait for our food. While we gaze, my mind will be racing, trying to think of things to discuss that have nothing to do with the children, because if I talk about the children, I will cry, unhappy that my baby is at his first day of school. Hubby will try not to think about the things he should be doing in his office, as he will most likely have a huge closing the next morning. As we eat, in the silence, which is good at home or in the pool, but not at lunch with your favorite person, a client of his will approach us. Hubby will introduce me, and we'll have a lovely little conversation. Until the client turns to me and says, "So what do you DO that brings you downtown?" And I'll have to restrain myself. I'll want to slap him, seeing as how he used my least favorite word, (Yes, I like it even less than the F word.) but that would be very bad for Hubby. If Hubby's client gets slapped by his wife, Hubby would lose said client. The client would spread it around town that Hubby is married to a crazy woman, Hubby would lose all clients. That would mean I would have to take a teaching job, which is certainly something to DO. But we don't want to go there, so I don't slap him. I'll just smile and say something stupid like," Nothing. I just missed my guy." He'll nod, tell Hubby that it was nice to see him, then head back to his own table. We'll finish our lunch, exchange kisses, and go our separate ways.
I will then move on to the last thing on my list of things to DO. I'll go to the store. Grocery store that is. Oh, how I want to go to the store by myself. So I can think. So I can plan. So I can make it through the store without having to double-back five times. Without having to tell anyone, "Get your hands off! No one wants your germs on their food." Without having to come up with fun, distracting games to keep little ones from getting bored and rambunctious. Without older ones saying, "We should have chicken nuggets for dinner," or, "We need some Oreos." It really irks me when they say things like "we should" and "we need". So, I'll go all alone. And I'll get everything we actually need, and everything we should get. And then I'll see a mom with her little boy. He'll be "helping" her put the groceries on the conveyor belt. And my heartstrings will tug. I'll start to tear up. I'll think of my littlest guy at his first day of kindergarten, and I will cry. And I will blubber as I tell this poor mother to embrace every single moment with her baby, 'cause time will go faster than she ever planned, and before she knows it, she'll be out of shape and wrinkly, home alone or swimming with old people. She'll grab her child in fright as I lean in to give her little one a hug. Before security can be called, I'll run out of the store and to my car, where I will sit and cry. Because it will finally hit me. My babies aren't at home with me. I really do have to find something to DO.
And then I'll look at my phone, because really, who besides my husband wears a watch anymore, realize school is almost out, dry my eyes, and head over to the pick-up line. My babies will get in the car, all talking at once to tell me about their days, and I will smile.
I will still have something to DO.
Have a lovely day!