ANN ARBOR, MICH. -- Seventeen days of single motherhood, and I'm ready for a padded cell. It took the combined efforts of my husband, my mother and a McDonald's hot fudge sundae to get me down from my tree today. Here's my day today:
7 AM: Benny wakes me up at my sainted father-in-law's house in Stevensville, Mich. He's hungry. Root through refrigerator for leftover pancake from Saturday's dinner. After 10-minute search, remember that I left the pancake box at restaurant.
8 AM: Apologize profusely to SFIL for not bringing his Father's Day card from Benny. Explain in boring detail how said card was in a tray, which was hidden away while preparing the house for showing, and then forgotten.
9 AM: Fall asleep on couch while SFIL takes Benny for a short walk. Snooze half the morning as SFIL parks Benny in front of the Disney channel and feeds him Oreos.
2 PM: Take Benny to Aunt Orla's and brag about his potty training progress.
2:20 PM: Clean up Benny Mess No. 1. Throw away his shoes.
2:40 PM: Clean up Benny Mess No. 2.
2:50 PM: Clean up Benny Mess No. 3. Listen to potty training advice.
2:52: Put Benny in pullups and growl. One of my cousins says, "Gee, last year you were so energetic and happy. This time you're so anxious and stressed." Glare at cousin over strawberry shortcake.
4PM: Ron calls. Compare my new ring tone to porn-flick music. From my cousins' shocked looks, think that perhaps that comment was not appropriate to a family gathering. Sip Pepsi. Wish for beer.
4:30 PM: Promise the cousin who's studying to be a priest to visit his seminary in Columbus. Try to imagine a scenario where a woman soon to be living in California with family in Michigan and Indiana would end up in Ohio.
5 PM: Leave for Ann Arbor. Call my mother for moral support the second I'm out of the driveway.
6 PM: Pull into McDonald's, per my mother's advice. "It will give you both a break and calm you down," she says. Park car, turn off engine and reach over to unlock passenger door. Step out, circle car and lock passenger door with key. Unlock door. Ask myself why I do that ALL THE TIME. Can I not hold a thought in the 3 seconds it takes to circle the car? Apparently not.
6:10 PM: Carry Benny into McDonald's because he no longer has shoes. Juggle Benny, wallet, purse, food and drink. Spill contents of purse on the counter. In the purse is my father-in-law's Father's Day card.
6:20 PM: Pick a table, then listen to Benny scream because he can't sit on the chair like a frog. Feel very uncalm.
7PM: Parked in I-94 construction traffic.
8PM: Call Ron for additional moral support. He speaks soothing words, but I'm not listening because I'm watching a white pickup and a white SUV in the lanes ahead flash hand signals at each other. Pray that neither party has a gun, like that lady who shot at a guy's car on I-94 in a fit of road rage.
8:30 PM: Parked in more I-94 construction traffic.
9PM: Arrive home. House is balmy 78 degrees inside. Give Benny a bath and convince him not to wear his flannel Christmas pajamas.
10:40 PM: Benny is asleep. Sip a beer and say a little prayer for all the great fathers out there.