I know it isn’t normal, but both Jon and I take Leta to school every day and together pick her up in the afternoon. Leta is the only kid accompanied by both her parents, and instead of making fun of her for it, the other kids have come to expect the two of us to walk in with her. In fact, on the days when one of us stays home or is busy with some other commitment, everyone notices, and sometimes it upsets the delicate equilibrium of certain toddler brains that rely on repetition and consistency, and some of them are so panicked when they see me walk in alone that they’re jumping to some terrible conclusion, like HIM MUST BE DEAD or HIM GOT ABDUCTED BY SPACESHIP. AWESOME.
One of Leta’s friends will usually walk up and ask me WHERE IS HIM? or IS HIM COMING? And one afternoon when as I was gathering Leta’s things one of the girls brusquely tugged on my arm, and when I turned to her she asked, “Why do you and Leta’s Daddy both come to school?” This was the same girl who one day saw me walk in the door, and after grabbing my hand led me a whopping two feet to where Leta was standing. “Here her is,” she said with the tone of a tour guide. “Now say, ‘Thank you,’ because that was a lot of work.” And when she lingered for a few seconds I thought maybe she was waiting for a tip.
I thought the answer to that question was fairly obvious, that we come together BECAUSE OF STULTIFYING CO-DEPENDENCE, but I’m thinking she doesn’t want to hear about the sometimes complex dynamics of our marriage, so I said, “Because we both love Leta very much.” What? Wrong answer? Too gross? Should I just go ahead and punch myself in the face? Because that answer made me throw up, too.
“I like it when him is here with you,” she continued.
“I do, too,” I said in agreement. “Maybe I’ll bring him with with me next time.”
“Good,” she said, beaming. “Him is cute.”
I just nodded and thought to myself OH YES HIM IS. AND HIM WILL BE GETTING NO END OF SHIT FOR THIS ONE.