After she came into the house screaming that she couldn't ride her bike because her tire was flat, together we found a large thorn stuck all the way through to the tube. With nobody around to help me fix it, I took off all my jewelry, figured out how to remove the back wheel and brought it into the house. There I filled the tube with air and put it into the sink to locate the leak; a job I've watched my father do countless times before. Once I marked where it was, it didn't take long to read the directions on the back of the patch kit ... to buff the area, glue, and finally patch.
But don't congratulate me just yet. After I got the tube and tire put back onto the wheel, and the wheel back onto the bike, I did have a wee bit of trouble tightening the chain. After fiddling with it for another five minutes, realizing that I would have to loosen and tighten the back tire again, I gave up and told Sheridan that I needed
Matt has been gone for exactly one month. And while everyone who knows us knows that I'm the handy one who does the majority of the work in, out, and around the house, he's at least usually there to help cheer me on, relieve some of the burden, or in the end, to "call a guy."
Now? I call my dad. To help tighten the chains on the bikes and fix other flat tires. And my mom. To pick up stuff from the grocery store or to feed and watch the baby. And my in-laws. To store all our cr*p while we're at my parent's house and to help us with the paperwork for the girls school (which doesn't start until after Labor Day ... ugh). And my aunt and uncle to help with synagogue stuff. And my cousins to pencil us in for playdates. And my family and friends to lend an ear or three.
We are going on ten weeks of nomadic living, with three more to go before we move into our rental house for the rest of the school year. The honeymoon period of living in guest bedrooms of both my parents and in-laws house is long gone, and we concede that our brood is akin to the adage of guests and fish smelling after three days. At this point we could singe your nose hairs for we smell as pungent an Asian market's seafood department.
Yet, despite these frustrations of displacement and assuming all parental responsibilities, I'm slowly acquiescing and relating to the former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's book, "It Takes A Village." However in our case it's more like, "It Takes A Country." This country. Filled with an over abundance of everything I've been missing and craving for the past few years. Which, again, I'll take right now. Along with all the help I can get. Despite my usual disdain searching it. Because with Matt gone for the next eleven months, I recognize that while I wouldn't necessarily ask for it, my country, my peeps are always there to provide "it".... the phone calls, the emails, the texts, the notes, the history, the support. Sometimes whether I want it or not. Along with an extra serving of Jewish guilt on the side. For good measure.
And that's OK. In fact it's appreciated. Almost as much as having someone come over to lend a hand scooping and bagging the multiple piles of dog poop in the backyard.
Or tighten a bike chain.