I get up before he does so I can help our children get ready for school. I prepare the breakfast. I pour the juice and start the coffee perking. I take the dog out. I pick up the dirty clothes and start a load of laundry.
Somehow, however, when his happy ass decides to roll out of bed, he's pissed off. Why? What exactly could the household royalty have to be angry about? (No, it isn't sex... I stayed up late so we could have that last night.)
I'm the one who races out the door with the kids. I'm the one who drops everyone off at their respective places before heading off to my own job to deal with people all day. I'm the one the school calls when something goes wrong for/with on the kids. I'm the one who spends lunch running family errands instead of eating. I'm the one the teachers email about student progress.
I get home before he does and I pick up all the children on my way. I'm the one who makes the bed (the one he was the last to vacate). I'm the one who prepares the evening meal and does the morning dishes. I'm the one who takes out the garbage and I'm the one who sweeps the floors. I'm the one who checks the homework and I'm the one who punishes children who need it. I'm also the one who holds the dinner while we all wait on him to get home from work.
He gets home and we sit down to eat. No one wants to talk at our table because we cannot tell yet what type of mood he is in. We wait. Finally, he talks about something that happened at work. He's in a fairly good mood so the children begin fill in conversation voids. It all seems to be going so well. Then he learns that one of he children has a low grade in one course. Some homework hasn't been getting done as it should and the teacher has sent a note for both parents to sign.
Let me be straight here: never once has he touched anyone. He doesn't have to. His voice carries his anger just as well as any fist. Once he has yelled and slammed a hand into the table, he gets up and stomps from the room. No one speaks yet. We wait to see if there is something else ... we no longer even attempt to guess what it might be.
"I'm going to the store," he says while grabbing his keys from the hanger and pulling on a hat.
"Could you pick up..." I begin.
"I just need time," he interrupts. "I need to get out of here."
And, so, he goes.
I return to the table and gather the dishes. I carry them into the kitchen and create spaces at the table for the child who has been avoiding homework. I clean some more and walk the dog again.
I get the children into bed and wonder how a man who hates to shop can spend nearly two hours at the store. I hop into the bath, grab a drink and light some candles in our bedroom. Now I lie here with the laptop and wonder if I wouldn't be better off if I were a single mother. Outside of the paycheck and semi-regular orgasms, what would I be missing?