Getting By

You have to admire the two income full-time working couple raising children in their first time home. You have to REALLY admire the one income working couple raising children in their first time home.

Our neighbors on Chetland Road were the best EVER. School teachers, bitchy hairdressers (not so great), our very own UPS dude, a police officer, plumber, nurse, crazy dad on disability for depression who loved God and pulling certain sections of his hair out.

Bill and Hillary (names changed to protect the innocent) lived two doors down. He was an attorney, she a speech pathologist. Their agreement was this: when they had kids, her job would be to solely take care of the kids. This on the surface did not sound unreasonable.

Now before you think I’m cutting up on this lovely family (80s term, sorry), please know that they have my utmost admiration and respect. By the end of my marriage, I was basically doing everything her husband did for her working a FULL-TIME job with a third kid. I continue to be envious of a) knowing her limits; b) being able to deliver herself authentically; c) just her sheer fucking brilliance and d) Bill’s ability to anty up.

Bill, the attorney, did the grocery shopping, the housekeeping, the dry cleaning, the cooking, the dishes (we’ll come back to that one), he did the yard work, probably the laundry (sorting/washing/drying/extraction). Bill did everything while working full-time as an attorney.

Hillary raised the kids. These kids had binkies (aka pacifiers, sucks, alternatives to thumb sucking) until they were six. The binkies littered the kitchen dish drain and multiplied overnight. There must have been three dozen of them. Her children pooped at the same time EVERY day. It was a religion. They napped at the same time every day. If you happen to be home during the day, you would see her faded yellow early 1980s Oldsmobile (we are now in 1997), back out of the driveway with the unedged overgrown lawn at approximately 11:45 am. Her at the wheel, two toe-heads (approximately 2 and 3.5 years of age) strapped in their child seats. You, if you were attentive, would then see her pull back into that same driveway 20 minutes later. Hillary would release the children from their child seats to hop out of the car with matching Burger King happy meals. Another religion – MONDAY – FRIDAY.

Guests always ate on paper plates at their house. It was a religion. I thought that this was absolutely unfathomable until I had my last child and we reserved regular real dishware for almost a decade for pretty much Roger’s parents (really his mom), my dad and Christmas.

Their house was structured entirely for the children. I don’t think there was an adult corner in their house (although I admit I never saw their bedroom). It’s quite possible Hillary had skills there that made Bill scrub toilets with a giddiness only known to single 20 year old good-looking men who got laid (REALLY WELL) nightly.

We had regular street parties. Bill would bar-b-que (at least that’s what I remember him doing). He would drink red wine and was tons of fun. Hillary was sweet as pie and her children, even at 6 years of age with binkies were awesome.

While we moved out of the hood in 2000, I remember them fondly. Their two toe-headed, Burger King happy meal eating children with binkies are either college graduates or about to be college graduates. They are good well adjusted young adults. Bill and Hillary are still married and Hillary is back to work full-time (last I checked). I miss them. They were kind, they were fun, they raised good kids in their own fashion, be damned what anyone else thought, and it WORKED FOR THEM. They still live in the same house.

Rule of Thumb – There is none. Do what works for you. B&H – Thanks for showing us the ropes.

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