Division of Labor.
I enjoy car trips with my wife. To be candid, she’s good company. Now, do I wish she would take the wheel once in a while? Of course, I do. But for the last 30 years, the pay-off has been huge.
We get to the hotel. I unload the car, piling the contents onto the luggage cart. The family helps as much as they can but mostly get in the way. I push the cart into the lobby. One of the kids, usually the boy, wants to come with me to park the car. The wife steps forward to restrain him. I raise my hand, palm out. Let him come with me.
We exit the hotel, leaving the girls to check in. When we come back to the lobby, usually she has the key-cards in hand. I take them both, look at the room number and hand her back one of the cards. Let’s go.
I’m slightly irritated. It’s been a long drive. The kids behave pretty well through the hallways and in the lobby. The boy does have a rambunctious second or two. She catches the eye of the offending party, ‘not now.’
We get to the room, and unload the luggage. I bring the cart back down to the lobby, and come back to the room.
One more chore to perform. I grab the ice bucket, find the machine – is there even one on this floor? The hunt is on. I come back to the room. Success.
The children are occupied in their own corner of the room. They’ve always travelled well.
She dips a glass into the ice and pops open a can. She smiles as she hands me a full glass of fizzing soda. I am somewhat less irritated now. She pats my side of the bed. On the nightstand is my favorite news magazine, just in case. Couple of peanut butter cups fresh from the ice bag lay next to it.
I will not so much as touch the luggage until it’s time to leave. She will see to that. In fact, she already has us halfway unpacked.
“Rest,” it’s both a command and a plea.
I kick off my shoes and lay down. I gulp down most of the soda. Maybe I bother with the magazine, maybe I don’t. Maybe I take a bite of the still-cold candy.
I drift off. She may not think I hear her whisper to the kids, but I do. It’s the sweetest, most comforting sound imaginable. “Let your father sleep.”
Happy Father’s Day to the men who lay the lumber, change the oil, man the wall, keep the lights on, and the roads clear. Respect.