a christmas gift

A Christmas Gift

I’m Just Saying” is a column by Suburbs 101 Contributor, Alexis Gold. A funny and brutally honest take on what life is like for a working mom in New York City/turned unexpected stay at home suburban mom.

Way back in September of 2020, I wrote an essay called “COVID Creep”. It was meant to be a clever double entendre. You know, the accumulation of things in my house due to quarantine, but REALLY my husband who never left the house was my COVID Creep. I believe I said something along the lines of:

“My COVID-creep has come in the form of my husband. IS my husband, who is not actually a creep, but a really, really nice guy who has crept so far up my figurative ass that I might need to take an entire bottle of Colace to get him out.”

And like Kevin McCallister, I got my wish — I made my family disappear. It took nearly a year, but in September of 2021, he finally went back to the office. My kids went to school. I sent my belated COVID-dog to a puppy playgroup. I was alone in my house. I had a coffee and space. I could stretch my arms wide into the quiet of nothingness. It was glorious.

Anyone who said the years are fast, but the days are slow, never lived in my house. I blinked, and my day was a pumpkin spice latte. The caffeine was gone, the dog was home and it was time for pick-up. Instead of the clock hitting midnight and me losing a shoe, the time read 2:30pm and I lost my second (set of) hand(s).

It turns out I’m not that clever. I have no idea what I really, really want. At 2:30pm, I knew what I really, really needed. I needed my COVID-Creep. But, unlike Kevin’s mom searching for her son, my husband wasn’t looking for me in some desperate attempt to come home. He was sitting in his office realizing how happy he was to be out of our nut house. Because in the end, he was, as always, the silent but smart one. He gave me what I wanted, and got what he had probably dreamed of for 18 months, anyway — his own quiet.

My husband is sort of like Raymond. Everybody loves him. Anyone who has sat next to him at a dinner party is likely to seek me out the next time they see me to tell me as much. I live in a constant state of paranoia that I am going to outweigh him and that no one will want to sit next to me.

He does this thing when my friends come over. He brings the laundry downstairs like it’s the laundry show — and leaves the basket on top of the washing machine. To this day, people talk about how amazing and helpful he is. Please, I know the truth.

Except, now he’s not home. And, now I do know the truth. I won’t bore you with the list, but in shorthand at 2:30pm the logistics of kids schedules rival that of a NASA launch. It requires being in six to eight places, often at once, none of which are remotely close to one another OR to your house. This goes on until about 8:30pm. At some point in that window you may squeeze in a real dinner, if your kids are lucky enough not to be eating yogurt or chicken nuggets in the car. I forgot this with the ease of my husband working from home.

It took me until 2:31pm to realize all the little and not so little things he did during WFM. Running to town to grab my daughter; or stopping by the field to pick up my son; in a pinch, get the kids from school. Because, you know, it only takes two minutes. Now that I am back to dealing with this laundry list on my own, we can all agree nothing takes two minutes. Any two-minute task is a minimum twenty minutes of disruption. Sort of like watching your Waze time tick up by 30 minutes for a 5 minute bathroom break.

Even if it was just having a breathing human in the house, I could leave the kids home and not think about it. I could run to the grocery store, and there was someone home to make sure the house didn’t burn down. So what if every once in a while I pulled into the driveway and saw the fire department there? At least it meant he had attempted to make pancakes for dinner.

Now, it’s December. I am back to pasting my days together with glue and tape, otherwise known as amazing friends. One of my “besties”, is bound to kindly pick up my middle schooler when they see her trudging uphill both ways with her 80-pound backpack. Another good friend’s girls go to music right after she does. This gem of a human kindly picks up my daughter when dropping her own off. She’s fire. Now that I’m driving kids around again, I’m totally learning tween. The number of people it takes to get all our people everywhere is a everyone. Thank you, sweet friends, I would never call any of you creepy. Yaasssss Queen.

So, here is my gift to you, working people back in the office – and in my instance, specifically, my husband. My gift is a retraction of my September 2020 comments. You are not a COVID-creep or any sort of creep. A retraction, plus a huge thank you and a giant apology. I know those can be hard to come by after more than two decades together. In a land where I am always right, here is my admission of wrong. In a world where, I wished you away, I wish you back. Well, at lease from 2:30pm to 8:30pm.

The last two years have been pretty rough. And, what I really wish, this Christmas (and Hanukkah, since I get to buy gifts for both) is that everyone could have what they wanted. I am lucky enough to wish my husband back and have him home. I wish everyone could retract whatever they wanted, with no real-world consequences. But, since we can’t, I’ll just wish everyone a Merry Christmas, a better New Year, and a break from whatever it is you need (driving for me!), for at least one day in December.

About Alexis Gold

Alexis Gold holds a BS from Cornell University. She spent more than two decades on Wall Street, where she was a top ranked analyst by Institutional Investor. While on the buy side her creative writing was used to analyze companies, primarily in the retail space. Following the recent closing of her last fund, she decided to stay at home with her three small children. Her writing has been featured in Read650 and offers a funny and brutally honest take on what life is like for a working mom in NYC/turned unexpected stay at home suburban mom. 

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