The guys were on their own this week in the Trares household.
Meals were of the pizza, hamburger or ice cream variety. Bedtimes got pushed a little bit further back. The mess … kind of got out of control.
We had known for months about the business trip my wife needed to take this past Monday through Thursday. This wasn’t the first time we held down the fort while she was away; although her travels aren’t nearly as frequent now as they were before COVID, she still needs to take time to fly to Virginia or Florida or Massachusetts or, in this case, Vermont.
And it’s not as if I was being thrown into deep waters unprepared. We have a good balance of household responsibilities, so I wasn’t lost as to how to handle Anthony’s homework or where to pick him up after school or what to put in his lunch.
Still, the week offered its fair share of challenges.
The most pressing, and concerning from my wife’s point-of-view, was that I was entirely responsible for getting Anthony ready for Picture Day at school. I was in charge of making sure he was dressed neatly, that his hair was combed and looking spiffy, and that the remnants of breakfast were wiped off his face.
My wife had made sure he had a nice colored shirt and khaki shorts to wear for the day. I considered calling an audible the morning of Picture Day — I thought a Hawaiian shirt, sunglasses and ripped jeans would look great — but thought better of it.
The next hurdle came in the form of my non-existent sewing skills. We signed Anthony up for his first year of Cub Scouts, with his first pack meeting this week. We had gone out to purchase the shirt, kerchief and patches for his uniform, making sure that looked the part.
Only problem — the patches were not sewn on. I’d have to do that myself. My mom had taught me the basics of sewing when I was a kid; I wish I would have paid better attention, or maybe practiced it a few times over the past 30 years.
Stitch by labored stitch, I slowly made my way through the project. After what probably took way too long, and after using a few choice words, I had the patches attached to his shirt — more or less.
Then there was simply the chaos of a regular week: juggling homework, my own work commitments and managing the house. It seemed like of all weeks, this was one of the busiest.
But that’s not to say Anthony and I didn’t have an opportunity for fun. We took a walk to our neighborhood park, marveling at our long shadows stretching across soybean fields as the sun set. We played Star Wars and flipped through Anthony’s collection of Pokemon cards. He got to tag along with me to a work assignment at Endress+Hauser to check out its new Innovation Studio.
But we were ready for our family to be whole again. Things just feel right when the three of us are all together.
Now excuse me, I have a mess to clean up.