What is that saying?
Absence makes the heart grow fonder? So sweet.
Stay gone too long, and the heart will begin to wander. So true.
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Today is Friday, July 16th , which marks the 6th day that I have been away from my 3 oldest children. And, I have 3 more days to go.
So far, the day has been marked by a spinning head, cloudy vision, and complete and utter guilt. And it’s only 7 am. 6 am central. 4 am Pacific. And I’m sure that at least one of my kiddos is miserable by now, cursing me, wondering how in the world I could have left them.
Currently, I’m in Miami helping my Pops recuperate from surgery. I brought little Phoebe with me because I thought she might be able to bring a little light into the household, and because she flies for free. She’s been stuck like Chuck to my side, and I have enjoyed every minute that the two of us have been able to spend together.
But. . . . .
I really, really, really miss my other three.
To make matters worse, at the beginning of the week the two younger girls were all excited to tell me what fun things they were doing with Grammi. But now, they hardly have a second on the phone to speak to me.
It’s a rushed “Yeh, sure I’m having fun. So and so hit me. So and so spit on me. Here, you wanna talk to Ralph?”
“Wait – Whose Ralph?” And then the phone goes dead. Seconds later the phone rings, and it’s my oldest.
Clearly puffy eyed, sniffling, and on her death bed, “Mommy, I CAN’T STAND IT HERE ANYMORE! I can’t do it, I can’t do it. Why did you leave me here? It’s not fair. Nobody is being nice to me. They keep spitting on me. I can’t get away. They’re everywhere.”
“Whose everywhere?” I asked concerned.
“The little kids. I can’t get away.” She huffs.
“Where are you now?”
“Outside with the mosquitoes and the wasps.” She states in a matter of fact tone.
“Well, maybe you should go inside, and just try and lock yourself into a room until Daddy comes to get you.” Great thinkin’ mom.
“I CAN”T! I trrrriiiiiiiieeeeeeeddddddddd.” Boo hooo hooo hooooo hoooooooooo.
And so I do the only thing I can do when I’m hundreds of miles away, and I can’t reach my baby, and I’m thinking she hates me because I have abandoned her. I harness the power of the Internet, and I buy her stuff. I quickly log on and begin ordering monthly subscriptions to gaming sites like Club Penguin and Fantage. As I navigate from site to site, I am sure that buying your child off is not the right answer. What have I done? Will there ever be atonement for me?
I call Shelbi back, and I’ve told her what I have done as penance for my sins. And she accepts my humble offering, and is off to lock herself into the computer room away from spitting toddlers and biting mosquitoes. My work is done.
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If I were at home with my kids, on this Friday in the middle of the summer, I’d probably be yelling at them to “CLEAN UP THE HOUSE!!!!!” And then I’d end it with an “AND YOU BETTER DO A GOOD JOB OR NO MOVIE NIGHT TONIGHT”. Cause that’s what we Woo’s do on Friday’s in summer, clean our house with mediocre fervor, in the hopes of watching a movie in the living room with one another as our toes and legs intertwine on the couch.
And there would probably be some sort of effervescent soda, maybe Root Beer or Orange Crush. If they’ve been extra good, I might hand out little snack size bags of peanut M&M’s for added protein. And then, as soon as the movie starts, and we are all snuggled in our places underneath pillow and blankets, I’ll hand out steaming Kettle Corn. And we’ll chomp on this wonderful bit of happiness.
Homemade Kettle Corn
Big Pot (with a lid)
¼ cup Oil (my favorite Orville Redenbacher’s Butter Flavor Popcorn Oil)
2/3 cup Popcorn
¼ rounded cup of Sugar (this just means don’t level off the top the scoop, for a little extra sugar)
½ teaspoon Salt
1. In a large pot with a lid, heat oil on medium high heat. Place 3 kernels of popcorn inside the pot. When the kernels pop, that will indicate that the oil is ready.
2. Pour in the popcorn and shake until it is in a single layer. Sprinkle with sugar, and place top on pot.
3. Begin shaking the pot continuously, while it is resting on the burner. Continue to shake the pot until the corn slows its popping to a few seconds between pops. The whole popping process will take about 3 minutes from the time the popping starts until it done and needs to be removed from the stove.
4. Immediately remove the popcorn for the heat, and pour into a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and serve.
* Be sure not to allow the Kettle Corn to sit in the hot pot long, or the sugar will begin to caramelize and burn.