Fear of Tsunamis

by Leslie Adler

Fear of Tsunamis

It’s a typical weekday morning in my house. It is 7:30 and I have already been to the gym, made my bed, and taken a shower. I start out at 5:30 so I can accomplish these things before waking the kids.


“School today,” I shout as I walk past their bedroom doors with towel turban on my head towards the bathroom where I will now fix my hair in the five minutes it will take for the offspring to actually get out of bed and start the day. Hand full of hair gel and the first yell of “Mommmmmm!” comes from my daughter’s bedroom. This is the point of day I seriously consider changing my “title” from “Mom” to something like, “Oh Great One” on the theory that if I am going to hear my title as many times as I think I will hear it today, the new title would be better.


My daughter needs a fashion consultation in order to pick out the perfect outfit for school. She always hates everything I choose so I have started making a game of picking heinous outfits to show her that what she picks is better anyway so why ask me? After selecting a great outfit, I walk downstairs while taking orders for lunch and snack I am packing for each child and debating whether Doritos go with a tuna sandwich or whether Brownie Bites constitute a healthy snack.


While in the kitchen, my son comes down dressed and presents me with all the tests, homework, and school notices that he didn’t show me the night before when he swore there were none and simultaneously requests a breakfast treat that needs toasting. Wondering whether I have packed my daughters cookies in her snack bag or in my sons, an offense I committed last week that she has not yet forgiven me for, I hear her cry for assistance with the making of a ponytail. This is urgent, so I run upstairs.


Five minutes later I smell fire in the kitchen so I sprint back downstairs. I enter the kitchen and as I catch a glimpse of the kitchen table I find myself frozen, stuck, and unable to move, staring at a man at my kitchen table who is calmly drinking his second cup of coffee and is almost done reading his second newspaper of the morning. That man is my husband, the father of those kids I have mentioned and he has been sitting in the eye of this morning storm and has not moved, flinched, or spoken. He didn’t need to. No one has called his name or asked him to do anything for them. Shooting flames from that toaster do not get him to leave his seat.
I put out the fire and he gets up and smiles and says, “Good morning” as he places his coffee mug in the sink, insertion into the dishwasher being far too much work. Stupefied, I respond, “Hey” and watch him go upstairs to start his grooming rituals. Then, I start my ritual … of prayer. I pray that nothing bad ever happen to me. I pray that I never get ill, hit by a truck, abducted by aliens, or lost in a tsunami. I pray that my children never have to rely solely on the homemaking or childrearing skills of that fine, otherwise fully functional in society, man who just went in the shower.


After prayer, I walk my kids to school then return home to regroup before I leave for work. My husband appears, towel around waist, one q-tip protruding from his ear and asks me what kind of day I am anticipating.


Knowing I have my annual review, two important meetings and two carpools to drive after work, I smile and say, “Oh nothing, the usual, see you tonight, how about you?” He says, “Busy day, lots of stuff, I’ll check in with you later.” I kiss him goodbye and make a mental note to pray longer and harder tomorrow.


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