Boys are in bed, dishes are done, trash is taken out. Mommy and Daddy are sitting quietly in the family room. Mommy chooses this quiet, tranquil moment to bring up her request.
Mommy: "So, my sisters and my parents all want to pitch in to send me to that writer's conference I was telling you about for my birthday. What do you think?"
Daddy: "That's great. Where is it?"
Mommy: "Ohio. It would be 4 days, 3 nights."
Daddy: (with a slight hesitation in his voice, realizing that 3 nights alone with the kids might become a reality) "Oh. Wow!"
Mommy: "So, what do you think? Do you mind taking care of them?"
Daddy: (He doubts that he can actually say no and says rather flippantly) "Sure. I can take a day off. You'll love it. You deserve a break. That's a great birthday present."
Mommy: (She gets her serious face on. She doesn't think he quite realizes what he is saying yes to and wants complete and full disclosure. His experience with taking care of the boys by himself is limited to 1/2 days and an occasional bedtime. He is looking at 4 straight days and 3 nights with a 3-year-old and an 8-month-old. Meals, baths, naps, cleaning. Alone.) "Are you sure? This is kind of a lot to ask. If you feel like it might be too much that is ok. I would totally understand. I would be nervous about it all by myself to. Sun up till sun down. Middle of the night. It's all you. I'm only going to ask this one time. This is your chance to say no because once you say yes officially, I'm signing up, paying the deposit and there are no take backs. I mean it. I am out of here if you say yes."
Daddy: (The fear in his eyes can be seen from across the room. He begins recalling all those days he has come home to a Mommy in tears and wonders if there was something more than hormones behind them. He begins to doubt himself and wonders if he can do it. He remembers his first day in court and his fear of standing in front of the judge - opposing council, judge, the sound of the gavel coming down. He suspects that these are nothing in comparison to a rambunctious 3-year-old and a newly mobile 8-month-old. Perhaps he has underestimated the difficulty of her job. He looks at his wife. He notices the wrinkles that seemed to have popped up over night around her eyes. She looks older. She looks tired. He takes a deep breath) "Yes, I'm sure. Go. Have fun. It will be good for you."
Mommy: (hugs him. kisses him. snickers.) "Thanks. I love you. Remember, no take backs."