By the time you read this, I will probably be in Timonium, Maryland, if I'm lucky. If not, I'll probably be stuck in traffic jam hell, either around DC or Baltimore, or maybe both if the day has been very bad and very surreal. I expect you have already gone to pick up the kids from the bus stop and have explained to them yet again why Mommy isn't home today. No, she's not gone forever. Yes, she's coming back. No, she didn't go crazy and run away to join the circus like she threatened to the other night. Well okay, maybe just a little on that last one.
While you take the kids to swimming classes and karate classes this weekend and do homework with them and try to cajole them into cleaning up a)their bedroom, b)the pile of toys they left in the living room, or c) the unidentifiable mess they left in the bathroom that you would really prefer to not have to deal with yourself, even though you suspect it's only toothpaste mixed with Play-Do, I will be spending the weekend at the Farpoint science fiction convention, promoting my work, selling my books, and talking about speculative fiction erotica, and we both know the most speculative part of erotica in our lives these days is how long the kids will leave us alone if we put a Disney movie on for them to watch while you and I sneek upstairs for some quality Mommy/Daddy alone time. (Answer - about 5 minutes before the youngest comes knocking on the door asking for a glass of pink milk.)
Yes, while you wash the laundry and feed the kids and read "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!" for the umpteenth time, I'll be sitting in the hotel bar sipping soda and hobnobbing with my fellow writers and podcasters, psyching myself up for my big reading. And while I'm cooing naughty stories to an audience of devoted listeners and curious insomniacs at midnight on Saturday, you'll be crawling into bed, trying to get some rest before you have to get up and go through another full day with the kids by yourself.
It's tough, ain't it? Usually it's you that packs up and leaves for several days while I keep the fires burning at home. Usually it's you headed off to Atlanta or Houston or Orlando while I struggle to get our oldest to finish her homework and do my damnedest to keep the youngest from eating bits of food off the floor (what is with that kid anyway?! Yesterday when she came in from playing, I caught her picking dirty ice out of the soles of her boots and then stuffing it in her mouth! EEEEWWW!!!). Yes, usually it's you doing the jet setting and networking while I scrub peanut butter and jelly out of my hair and promise myself that once the kids go to bed, THEN I can have a drink and collapse on the couch.
But not this weekend. This weekend, you're Mr. Mom and I'm Helen E. H. Madden, speculative fiction erotica writer and podcaster extraordinaire, and a guest at the Farpoint science fiction convention. This weekend, I'll have my three days of glory and self-pimpage and I'll stay up waaaaaaaaaaaaaay past my bedtime and pay for all my meals and my hotel room on your credit card because god knows, no matter how good a writer I am, I still can't pay all my own bills yet.
But you love me anyway, and that's why you agreed to this weekend's lunacy. And I love you right back for it, because weekends like these are what keep me mostly sane. I'll be home Sunday night, I promise.
PS - there are left-over Disney Princess Spaghettios in the fridge. If you threaten to throw them out, the girls will beg you not to and then swear they will eat them. But if you reheat them and serve them, the girls will snub them as usual. Again, I ask "What the heck is with these kids?!"