Monday, July 23, 2007

"Dear, if I die tomorrow ..." and sleep

Bill Cosby, in his prime, did a stand-up show called Revenge, and one of the stories he told was that, one morning, at 3 am, his wife woke him up and asked the fateful question:

"Dear, if I die tomorrow, would you get married again?"

and, like any intelligent man roused from a deep sleep, he gave the best reply he could: "Auwsta-wadah-fooompf?"

"Now, I told you that story to tell you this one:"

Diane was invited to an outing with her high-school classmates who "live in the area" (well, within 100 miles or so), Elena Marie, inseparable from her mother, would go, of course, but little Isabel was still (is still) in the clutches of a summer cold was to be my charge. Fortunately, the little one fell asleep after a busy day on the town, so off mother and daughter went. Soon after they left, as I was finishing up cooking supper, Isabel woke up from her slumber: "Papa, where's Mama? I want Mama!" Hmm, well, a taste-test for done'ness' of the bowtie pasta distracted her for a bit, but then during the supper proper (and it was proper: freshly cooked jumbo shrimps in a garlic-butter sauce -- snaps to Diane for that!), the same loss and tears reemerged.

Me: "I know you miss Mama; what can I do to help you be happy again? Will ice cream help?"
Isabel: "Hm?"

I used to think that the instant transformation from despondent to delirious only happened in the movies; that is, until I saw it happen right in front of me.

After the ice cream (Isabel made me coffee using the Keurig coffee maker ("So easy, a 3-year-old could make coffee with it" should be their tagline)), devoured mercilessly (I pity the chips in that mint), she returned to her sadness.

Note to wife: Dear, if you haven't got it yet, your kids really love you!

So, after brushing her teeth, I put in her favorite movie of all time: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (as an aside, Donnie Osmond, yes, Donnie Osmond, delivered an outstanding performance as Joseph), in the master bedroom and as she watched, I promptly fell asleep (it being past 10:30 pm and me having come from the three-hour commute and a sleepless night).

Meanwhile, back at the party, one of Diane's friends made a late arrival at 10 pm, and Diane was going to leave early, for she told her friends: "I'm afraid my husband will fall asleep." Her friends coerced her to stay (peer-pressure, it doesn't stop after high school, so be careful out there, y'all!) reassuring her that her husband would never abandon a three-year-old to Morpheus ... so, when she returned home and saw from the front window Isabel sobbing in the living room, she fully expected to see me there consoling her. So, she had two surprises: one you know (me, unconscious, in the bedroom), the other was a full-on charge by Isabel followed by a tight-tight squeeze hug.

"Now, I told you that story to tell you this one:"

The next night, Diane, Isabel and I were lounging on the big bed. Diane recounted the events of the previous night, also adding that Isabel told her mother that she didn't brush her teeth or eat supper. My, oh, my! Then, Elena Marie called out for help brushing teeth, so I answered: "Alright, Elena Marie, your mother's coming to help you." (One of the privileges of Pater Familias: delegation).

Diane, shocked: "What! What happens if I die? You'll have to brush their teeth, you know."

Well, if Diane dies, there're be many more concerns I'll have than just ensuring the kids' teeth are brushed, but before I could voice this thought, Isabel countered:

"No he wouldn't! He'd fall asleep!"

... and the belly laughing didn't stop until a long time after that!

1 comment:

Diane said...

O.K. Mr. Storyteller, here's the "true" version: The Princess quips over dinner, "Papa, if Mama dies, you have to take care of us." THEN the little one pipes up with, "But he'll just fall asleep" (said with a touch of concern in her voice, laced with a tinge of experience, and with a look that implies this event as a matter-of-course in this household). Your kid is sharp, I tell you!