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Mr. Mom

Last year, I committed to a part-time job that required I spend one week a month for four consecutive months away from home. Bill and I will be married 25 years this August, and in all those years I had never been gone for more than one or two nights at a time. There are five very good reasons why: four boys and one girl.

Once I went shopping with my mother when our oldest son was a baby. My mother was a marathon shopper. We left early in the morning and returned around nine at night, only to find Bill pacing the floor with a screaming infant in his arms.

“He’s been like this for hours,” Bill said, and passed him to me like he was a hot potato.

“Did you feed him?”

Bill nodded. “I fed him breakfast, lunch, and a couple of bottles.”

“What about supper?”

“You said feed him breakfast and lunch. You didn’t say anything about supper.”

After that, I always made sure I left detailed instructions.

Last week, I was out of town for my fourth and final out-of-town trip. I left Sunday morning and called home Monday night to see how things were going.

“Grant and Russell are working on a PowerPoint presentation. Justin and his friend Blake have gone to Wal-Mart to get stuff for a science project. Guess when they have to have everything finished?”

“Tomorrow,” I said.

“How did you know?”

“Lucky guess. So what else is new?”

“Someone shut the cat up in the utility room and it smells to high heaven in there. I’ve washed two loads of laundry and I have two more to do before I go to bed. An insurance salesman stopped by and tripped over someone’s skateboard on the porch. I bandaged his leg and took out a small policy just to keep him from suing us. How was your day and when are you coming home?”

I reminded him that it was only Monday and I wouldn’t be home until late Friday. Then I told him I loved him and hung up. I dialed room service, ordered a slice of cheesecake with strawberries on top, and fluffed my pillows.

While there truly is no place like home, a few nights at a hotel now and then just to make sure I’m appreciated might not be a bad idea.

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