The Diva asked me last week for a YOU-KNOW-WHAT, and I’m all WHAT! You weigh like 50 pounds! You have nothing for the YOU-KNOW-WHAT to CUP!
But I didn’t say that, of course, because this was a very tender moment in which she’s essentially asking me to help her grow up. Instead, I swallowed the enormous lump in my throat and said, of course, darling, we can buy you one of those.
Fortunately, the request came just two weeks after my visit to the Sol store of Denver, in which a gorgeous woman fondled my breasts and sold me exquisite lace YOU-KNOW-WHATS that made me think about sex all the time. So I knew I needed to find her a wickedly uncomfortable contraption in a dingy shade of gray.
Well, that didn’t happen either. We found an adorable little YOU-KNOW-WHAT that’s very soft and has a pink swirl on it, and she was very excited.
So we bought it, then were sitting together at the mall food court bonding.
Me: Sometimes I’m sad that you’re starting to grow up already.
Me: Because I’m worried that when you get older you won’t want to spend as much time with me.
Diva: Oh, Mom! That will never happen!
If a genie had emerged from a bottle and said, “Yo, I can make this moment happen over and over again in perpetuity,” I would have said, “Produce a bottle of cold Chardonnay, and we’ve got a deal.” I tell you, I am totally in love with this girl.
But my phone rang, and the moment passed. It was Hot Firefighter Husband.
“Hey,” he said. “Hey, listen. Everything’s okay. I’m fine.” And I know this is code for RED ALERT! RED ALERT! “I had an accident at work today, and I’m at the hospital.”
“Okay,” I said. Deep breath. “What happened?”
Here you will have to use your imagination because Hot Firefighter Husband will not give me permission to release the details of the incident. And, you know, he wears the pants in this family. SUCKAH! But seriously, sometimes he does.
“Well. I got BLANKed BLANK a BLANK.”
This did not make sense to me. “Why were you BLANK-ing a BLANK?” I asked. He explained that he was BLANKing a person who BLANKED. And let me just announce to you here that firefighters do not make enough money.
“Well, what’s wrong?” I asked. “Are you hurt?”
He was hurt. He had a broken nose, and was getting X-rays done on his back. I needed to go to the hospital.
I hung up and told the Diva that Daddy was fine, but had been in an accident and I had to go pick him up from work. She had, like, a minute of concern, but couldn’t stop smiling because she was so excited about her YOU-KNOW-WHAT.
We started driving back toward home, about a half-hour away, and she chatted happily while I planned dropping her off without the other kids seeing me (I had a sitter) so I could get to the hospital as quickly as possible.
Suddenly the Diva said, “Mom! Look! We only have a mile left till we’re out of gas!” And yep, there’s the DISTANCE TILL EMPTY gauge reporting that we’re about to be stuck on the side of the road.
Location-wise, we were in the middle of a massive development that’s a victim of the recession, meaning it has brand new fabulous roads leading to nowhere. Lots of freshly planted palm trees. Lots of retention ponds. No Starbucks. No gas station.
I pulled into the parking lot of a Publix grocery store, which must be like a Saks Fifth Avenue for the 20 people who live in that development.
I walked into the store, and asked for the manager, and Mr. Steve Phillips came ambling my way. He had that middle manager smile on him, like he’s thinking, It’s bad enough that I’m working on a Sunday, and now I got some chick complaining about the broccoli display?
But I was wrong about him! And Mr. Steve Phillips? I love you. I really love you. Because I said to Mr. Steve Phillips, “Listen. My husband is a firefighter and he BLANKed his BLANK and he’s at the hospital and I’m not thinking straight. And I’m out of gas. And I don’t know what to do. Can you help me?”
Mr. Steve Phillips explained that there was a gas station about two miles away but you had to take back roads to get there. Then Mr. Steve Phillips GOT INTO HIS PICK-UP TRUCK AND LED ME TO THE GAS STATION, where the Motorized Landfill lapped up more gas than the tank is capable of holding.
BTW, Publix did not pay me for this endorsement. But they should. Because for the rest of my life I am going to tell people how much I love Publix and in particular Publix brand Greenwise boneless skinless chicken thighs, and also Mr. Steve Phillips.
Hot Firefighter Husband ended up with a broken nose and a sprained back and a hip contusion. “This is my life,” I said to my neighbor, Mr. Bejeezus. He looked at me like, Seriously, woman? Your husband’s flat on his back and you’re making this all about you?
But by this time, Husband had the muscle relaxers and the painkillers and the freedom to not do a FUCKING THING because the doctor told him he shouldn’t. So it really was all about me. Also, my whole selfish act worked out because then Mr. Bejeezus mowed our lawn.
That night, as I read over the hospital release forms about the specifics of Husband’s back injury, I started gagging. Dry-heaving, in fact. Husband said, “What’s wrong with you?”
Well. I’ve always been a little squeamish. For the first few hours, every time he tried to get out of bed and couldn’t, or anytime he explained how his back injury felt, I gagged.
After a day or so of this, I realized that what I was being squeamish about was the fragile nature of the status quo. What if the BLANK had BLANKed? What if Husband’s back had been broken? Who would take out the recycling? Who would bring me coffee with one Splenda in the morning? What if? What if? Although he does have a wicked cool black eye.
The next morning, I took the kids to the bus stop, and as I leaned over to kiss the Diva on her head, I put my hand on her back and felt beneath her t-shirt the YOU-KNOW-WHAT crossing her birdlike shoulder blades. My eyes welled up as I thought of her alone in her room, putting it on for the first time, worried about whether she was doing it right, but not wanting to bother me because it was a hectic morning, what with Dad unable to get out of bed and her brother having Hershey’s Kisses for breakfast.
Then the bus pulled up and she skipped toward it, blissfully ignorant of how close her life had come to changing, and of how she changes my life every single day.