After the kids are asleep, she corners Michael in the kitchen and says, “About the puppy.”
“Heather,” he says, “there is no need to make any rushed decisions. We have the whole weekend.”
The whole weekend, she thinks. That’s nothing. In fact, 2010 somehow rushed by like a month in a childhood summer. 2011 is almost over. “Would it be cruel to deprive them of growing up without a dog?”
“I think they’d survive,” Michael says. “With some therapy.”
“They’ll be leaving for college soon,” Heather says.
Michael laughs, sits on the kitchen stool and says, “Our eldest is in third grade. I think we have some time until we have to worry about them leaving for college. That is if they even go.”
“Of course they’ll go,” Heather says and wipes the countertop. “What are you saying?”
“It’s a different generation,” Michael says and sips his wine. “Anything is possible. Maybe they’ll study online.”
“Now I have to worry about adopting a puppy and having college kids live with us,” she says, throwing the rag into the sink. “It’s one thing to pick up after children, but twenty year olds! There’s nothing cute about that. I’m imagining larger quantities of food and trash.”
“Remember when we were twenty year olds?” Michael says with a dreamy expression. “You’d wear those cut off shorts and tight Cal t- shirts. You should wear those shorts again.”
“I would if I could get them past my thighs,” Heather says. “Don’t you know what being pregnant with three children does to the body? It’s really unspeakable.”
“I’m just saying, you looked pretty hot,” Michael says.
“Well, hold onto that image as I enter menopause,” she says and crosses her arms across her chest.
“You’re far from that, aren’t you?” Michael says looking slightly terrified now.
Heather shrugs, mostly to scare him. “The way time passes, I swear it will start next week. I seriously think that the earth is spinning faster. In fact, I feel a hot flash coming on.”
Michael laughs. “What have you been smoking?” he says.
“Don’t you feel like time could induce a type of bi-polar disorder?” Heather says. “I mean some days I cry when I think about the kids growing up and leaving home. Then, the next day I secretly wish they were already gone. Especially, when I’m cleaning soccer cleats and plunging toilets.”
She sits on the stool next to him and pours herself a glass of wine. She takes a long sip, wanting this moment to last as long as possible. Laughing with Michael, the house quiet, kids asleep. No dog in sight.
She knows that inevitably she’ll give into their demands for a new puppy. How long can she possibly resist their pleading faces and hopeful eyes? Even Michael’s. Maybe especially Michael’s. And a dog would be better then a reptile or gerbil of some sort. Dylan and Kaitlin tried to talk her into buying a bearded dragon just last week.
“Let’s go to bed,” Michael says and stands.
She helps turn off the lights and lock up the house. Slowly, she follows Michael upstairs. Numbering each step as she walks. Hoping desperately to make each one count.
Don’t miss chapters one through twenty one!
Note: The ModernMom Chronicles is a completely fictional novel. The story is not a personal blog, nor is it based on existing people or families