I kiss my husband and give him the run down of all the things he already knows.
Tomorrow is letter "e" show and tell day. Make sure he brushes his teeth. Do you have a water sippy ready for when she wakes looking for me? Close the window. Do you want a wake-up call so you get up on time?
He gives me The Look. It's the one that says with loving eyes that I'm being ridiculous and that everything will be fine.
It's not like I just met these kids today, mama. I know what I'm doing. Have a good night. Go on and get out of here.
As I walk to the door, double check my keys and slip on my shoes, I think about reminding him that the preschool drop off time is only 10 minutes long. I fight the urge to say something like Don't be late. They don't like it when you're late! I fight it so hard. Like Godzilla fighting the Seaweed Creature. I mean the Seaweed Creature just multiplies, man. It feeds itself. And grows and grows. Kind of like my anxiety when I let it take me away for a minute.
I'm not used to sneaking out at midnight to go to work. But that's what I have been doing on Monday nights. I pull down the driveway without lights to avoid waking the kids and then I hit the road. At the end of my drive awaits a rickety and wildly uncomfortable futon for me to rest my head and body on for the night. But I can't sleep so well just yet even though I am allowed to. There's not much going on between midnight and 8 am. So far it's just me, the futon and CSI: Miami marathons (Wow. David Caruso is just ridiculous, right? I guess I always knew that but it all seems so crystal clear at 2:30 AM).
It's quiet. The silence is strange. I'm certainly not used to it yet. But someone needs to be there. Just in case she calls in the night needing to escape a violent life. Just in case someone in the house needs my help. Just in case. Someone needs to let the kids out in the morning to make it to the bus stop in time. Someone needs to brew the coffee for the amazing people who live in this house. So for one night a week, I'm honored that it's me.
This morning I headed home tired but with a smile. I'm back in it. Right where I know that I belong. And it would seem that though I've been gone for over two years, I can't quit domestic violence work. Even though I am just dipping my toe back in one little shift a week. Still, it feels good to be home.
Now about that futon....