By CONNIE BEDGOOD MCWILLIAMS
The rain fell softly — just enough to water the bright green grass and keep the boys inside. They were playing a record, drumming and playing the guitar in accompaniment, creating a high-decibel din. Then — joy — the rain stopped, and they could go outside.
Solitude. I could get some work done.
Rounding up the boys’ missing mittens and heavy jackets took ten minutes. I refused to hunt for their rain boots. I ushered them out the back door to play with Isabel, our dog. Back to my word processing machine. Now, which story do I need to rewrite?
The back door opened. “We’re too hot with these mittens on, Mom,” the boys chorused as they threw the mittens in. Puff, our cat, pounced on the mittens like a flash, threw them in the air, and batted them around the den.
Books and magazines about writing called to me. Stories waited to be written.
The back door opened. Number-two’s voice pierced the air. “He hit me!”
Number-one son yelled, “He hit me first!” Out to the backyard to settle the spat.
Number-three son followed me in, wanting a drink. Five minutes later, out he went. An imitation smile adorned my face as I propelled him out the door.
I breathed a grateful sigh as I headed toward my word processing machine. Which story do I rewrite!
“Come on, remember what you learned from the correspondence course you just finished,” I said out loud to myself.
The back door opened again. “Can we have some candy Mom?” number-one son asked. I nearly shouted, “No!” Then a light went on in my head. If they eat, then they won’t bother me for at least ten minutes, I thought. “Take three Snickers,” I said. “No, take six — two for each of you.” Aha, a candy overdose. He viewed me with disbelief as I handed him all six candy bars.
I rushed to my word-processing machine with glee and gave it a hug as I sat down to write a story. If all went well, perhaps I could fold the laundry, start dinner, and salvage the day.
The back door opened. I sank my head into my hands and listened as six little feet patted toward me.
“Now what?” I asked.
“Mom, come practice football plays with us. You know, like we did in the den last week. We need more help on which way to run when the ball is snapped.” He took my hand and pulled me out of my chair.
The serious appeal in his eyes did the trick. I hit the off button on my word-processing machine to shut it down, put on my jacket, and went out the back door.
“What we need, Mom, is you to give the plays in the huddle, then watch us to see if we go the way we are supposed to. OK?”
I watched for a while, then of course, I was running plays with them, huffing and puffing. The next thing I knew, I was on the bottom of the pile, yelling, “Get off me you big brutes!” Mistake! They started tickling me, and I tickled them. We were rolling around and around on the wet grass, laughing so hard tears were running down our cheeks. There we all were, lying on our backs looking up at the sky.
I knew my body would ache that night.
My books lay unread, my word-processing machine unused. The laundry was still unfolded.