I’ve stormed out of the house again. Standing by the garage, I see my neighbor up the street wrangling clippings into the green bin, and I think maybe I’ll head up there. Make conversation. But I’m not sure. There’s a wet dishtowl over my shoulder, and probably a fire in my eye. I might seem deranged. Perhaps I am. Have I been crying?

Also, our guests are expected for dinner this minute.

I could get in the car and flee, I think to myself. Escape sounds so nice. I won’t answer my phone, and they’ll never find me.

I guess one of the jobs of a decent dad is to be yelled at by his kids, again and again, for hours when necessary. And I’ve done it, but I’m nearing the end of my rope. How can my kids have the stamina to tantrum and rage for such a prolonged period?

It’s girl scout campout weekend, so my daughter was away a night and a day, which set the little one off. He’s going through a growth spurt, or a regression, or maybe he’s just training to be an asshole? Whoops, no. We don’t say that. Tantruming is part of his development. Doesn’t have his full cortex or whatever it is that civilized us.

Then my daughter returns, jazzed from a campout with her friends, ready to carve out some independence. I should recognize the fierce glint in her eye; know there’s trouble coming.

Also I scraped that poor guy’s car. Ugh. This is not my finest week.

From one perspective, the whole problem is my foolish expectations. Idyllic, happy family; Sundays lazy and enjoyable.

What a dope. The kids are not here to meet my schedule, or live up to my dreams. They’ve got their own plans, and this weekend it’s drama. Capital D Drama, and very, very loud.

Hm, that feels better, I’m breathing again. Maybe I should stand out here on the street and pretend I’m doing something with the garbage? But perhaps the need has passed. A wave of love, or at least strong like, passes over me, thinking about my little guy’s red, yelling face.

My baby.

I head back in. The guests arrive, and I’m so grateful for adult company. We chat, the kids compete for the new one’s attention, a blessed break for the parents. Once again I’ve averted murder, abandonment. I only cried a little. We’ll make it until tomorrow.

The guests leave. I read a bit of Harry Potter to our daughter while Jay reads to our son. They fall asleep. The quiet could knock you over. I lean into it.