Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dinner is Served

The table is set and my stomach is groaning. The aroma of pasta swirls throughout the house, carrying with it the smell of fresh bread. A leafy green side salad compliments the entree as dinner promises to be delicious and fulfilling. All that's missing are the candles...

dinner table with baby"Do you want to eat first?"

"No, you go ahead." 

Wait.  We're not about to enjoy a romantic dinner, there's no Michael Bolton playing lightly in the background.  No, that's the unmistakable sound of a baby screaming for the boob as if he were auditioning for a role in the next Rob Zombie movie. This is survival, and in order to survive we must appease him. 

We eat in shifts, one of us will scarf down a meal while the other tends to the guest, who after all, is a guest.  One who will be staying for, oh say, 18 years.  Eating is just that, eating.  Nothing else.

We are mere servants to his wishes.  My wife will be serving up breast milk while I can rest assured that after dinner I will be stripping him down and wiping his rear. 

We have to be available at all hours, on call and on the clock.  If we do a competent job, we are tipped with peace and quiet, give poor service and we will hear about it well into the night.  Our ill-mannered guest can be brutish and crude.  Belching and passing gas, he may even spit his dinner on my shirt.  Or things could get really ugly.  We could enter a meltdown.

But for all the exhaustion, for all the nightly lessons in patience, and the learn as I go errors, our little guest knows how to turn on the charm. He can melt our hearts and steal our breaths.  His peaceful sleep (when it happens) is a thing of beauty, with light murmurs and adorable grunts. In the mornings he stares up with big blue eyes, eyes that seem to say, Thanks Dad.  And that’s all it takes.  I trudge on to work knowing that it was all worth it. Because although the rewards can be few and far between, this is the best job ever.

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