I sometimes imagine what it would be like to have a partner in parenting. I don't just mean another parent that takes the kiddos for their scheduled visiting time 1 night a week, every other weekend, and 3 weeks in the summer (although, that would different, too). I mean a partner.
Envision this ~
You are a bartender. You get home from work at 2:00 a.m. and instead of crawling into bed next to your significant other, there is a 9 year-old sprawled out across your bed. The clean, folded laundry that was once perched neatly on the ottoman at the foot of the bed is now spread across your bedroom floor. On the night stand to the right of the bed is an box full of hot wing bones. The other night stand is home to a mostly empty cereal bowl and several half-full glasses of water and juice. The TV is on and Nick at Nite is in full swing. Unfortunately, the remote is nowhere to be found. You put your pyjamas on and your body is screaming for your mattress, but first you pick up the garbage, retrieve your clothing from the floor, locate the remote, and turn off the TV. It is now 3:00 a.m. You shove the 9 year-old over because you are far too tired to lug her little body back to her own room and fall into a fitfull sleep beside her.
In my imagination (you know, the one complete with a partner in parenting), I envision this ~
I am a bartender. I get home from work at 2:00 a.m. The house is not spotless, but it isn't trashed. My loving partner had the children throw away their garbage and pick up after themselves before tucking them in to their OWN beds. I come up the stairs and peek in on each of my sleeping children, kissing them tenderly on their heads. I make my way to the bedroom, tripping over some cats and dogs along the way. The TV is on and the man I love is sleeping peacefully - in the middle of the bed. I get into my jammies, easily find the remote, still tightly gripped in my companion's hand. It is now 2:15 a.m. I turn off the TV, shove the grown man over, and fall asleep spooned up next to him.
It may sound like a simple thing. Far from unrealistic. However, it is something I have never known. I allow my mind to wander like this from time to time. Not too far and not for too long. I've found expectation is often paired with disappointment, so I'd hate to have my hopes up. But just maybe... Maybe someday a simple pleasure such as this doesn't have to live exclusively in my imagination.