These Conditions


Lunch is a little late.  Everything’s okay.  Samantha is off in the back playing with her dolls.  The boys are on the floor playing with their cars.  I’m putting it together as fast I can go.  The timer is running out on getting lunch to the table smoothly before exhaustion and hunger trigger the pack into meltdown, but I’ve got it.  Barely.

Seth’s distress signal sounds.  A series of high-pitched squealing grunts.  I look over to catch Simon’s scowl, the one he uses to tell me, “There’s nothing to see here!”  He shouts, “We’re SHARING!”  He and Seth are both holding the same car, yanking back and forth.  Seth locks his eyes on mine, and increases the volume of his distress beacon.  Simon starts growling.

Samantha rounds the corner behind them, holding a dress on a hanger.  A dress from the forbidden closet.  The split second question flashes across my mind, “How on earth did she even reach that?”  She asks, “Hey, mom.  Can I wear this tonight?” and looks up at me, expectantly.

Three pairs of eyes, locked on mine.  Need distilled.  Overwhelming need.

Remember Meryl on The Truman Show?  “Oh my God…How can anyone expect me to carry on under these conditions? It’s unprofessional!”

It’s that moment.


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