A Wednesday : so many meetings.

Yeah, but I’m busier.

Prologue. 

People who know stuff about things say it's good to make lists and to state, in writing, what's important in terms of accomplishment for the day ahead.

  1. I hope to enjoy a hot cup of coffee, from first sip to last, while it's...hot.

  2. I hope to get through the morning without having to clean poop off the floor.

  3. I hope to -

(There is screaming coming from somewhere.)

I'm needed. Somewhere. My hiding place isn't good enough.

Chapter 2.

What's your day looking like?
I ask,
as I peer at the bearded face on the screen while I spoon coffee into a French press for rebrew. Or re-rebrew.

Jonny Long drinking coffee on FaceTime from Toronto, Canada.

He tells me. There are meetings and performance reviews, photo shoots and logistics planning, equipment checks and personnel protocols.

What's your day looking like?
he asks.

Oh,
I say.
Meetings, a lot of meetings about different stuff, and maybe I'll make some lunch sometime, if I can find food. I'm gonna go reheat some coffee now. Good luck with your stuff.

Thanks,
he says.
Good luck with your meetings.

Love you.
I say.

Love you.
he says.

If I'm not in a meeting,
I say,
I'll call you in five minutes. But I am, so I can't.

So many today.

Chapter 3. 

Toddler-age blond boy trying to pick lock to his older brother's room.

What are you doing?
I ask the littlest one, I think he's not even two yet.
Why are you standing outside your brother's room with a pencil stuck in the door handle?

Brina.
he says.

["Brina" is what he calls his brother; a derivation of "Johannes" and "brother." Perhaps?]

Are you trying to pick the lock to his room?
I ask sternly.

Uh-uh.
he says continuing to fiddle with it, failing.

I am proud of you for your resourcefulness...
I say, raising my voice so it will carry throughout the house for the next part.
...and this is a reminder to your older siblings that you will try and copy everything they do. Including picking locks.

Brina.
he says.

I'm gonna help you out a tiny bit,
I say, roughly yanking the pencil out of the lock.

I open the door.

No!!!!!
his older brother shrieks.
This is my room!

It's his room too, I remind him.

Well, I was here first.
he says.

You guys work it out,
I say as I shove the youngest one in and pull the door shut behind me. I'll be back in a while. Gotta cup of warm coffee to reheat. And then we'll have a meeting to discuss this incident.

Chapter 4. 

Do people actually vote for him?
Magdelana asks as the video ends.

Yes.
I say, putting my phone away as we close out the meeting at which we discussed the previous evening's election results. People actually voted for Brian Kemp. And now it looks like he's going to be the next governor of Georgia.

You mean he won?

Yep.
I say.
As of last night, looks like it.

But he was pointing a gun at a teenager in the video!

Yeah,
I say.
Some people think those things are funny. And some fathers don't know how to have good conversations with their daughters, so they make up for it by trying to act all tough and wave guns around and act like girls are precious little dolls that are going to get broken unless they jump in and threaten boys with a gun.

Okay...
she says.
But he was also driving around in a big truck and saying he's going to get illegal immigrants...and people still voted for him?

Yeah,
I say.
Many of the same people who voted for Donald Trump.

I do not think Brian Kemp should be a governor.
she says.

Amen.
I say.
Meeting adjourned.

Chapter 5.

One of you is going to take a nap,
I order the class.
And the other two are going to sit in on a meeting of how the Dutch, French, and English colonized the Americas. I will be leading the meeting.

What about the Spanish? one says.

We're done with them.
I say.
There's a section I wanna get to before Thanksgiving. Who remembers the second permanent English settlement in the Americas?

Jamestown? one says semi-excitedly.

Wrong.
I say.
That was the first. Think harder. Remember, we're in the 1600s now.

They think harder, but they fail.

Plymouth.
I sigh.
Plymouth was the second permanent English settlement. They came for what reason?

Gold?
one says.

No! I say.
How can you not remember this?

I berate them viciously before returning to the topic at hand: religious freedom.

Because,
I scream at them to make sure they remember,
PEOPLE SHOULD BE FREE FROM PERSECUTION!

Chapter 6. 

Do whatever you want,
I say.
But put back whatever you get out. And don't get injured badly. Understand?

Uh-huh!
he meets my expectations with cheerful eye contact and agreement, and

heads off to practice going down the slide backwards while holding a fistful of freshly-sharpened  colored pencils in each hand.

As a treat,
I yell as he tumbles down, if you don't get hurt too badly and don't get any poop or blood on the couch or carpet or clothes, then maybe I'll let you use one of my typewriters later!

Chapter 7. A meeting of nebulas. 

If you can tell me,
I announced, what happens when a cloud of gas and dust are floating around in space, and gravity starts pulling them together and pretty soon the core is super hot and there's two types of a certain molecule starting to fuse together...if you can tell me what they're called, then I'll cancel the rest of the meeting.

What was the question again?
one says.

Hydrogen. I say smugly.
Hydrogen atoms. Two hydrogen atoms slam fuse together and form helium, and this reaction at the core is what provides the outward pressure to hold off gravity and keep a star stable for as long as it's alive, which may be somewhere between a million and ten billion years.

You didn't even let us try answering!
they complain.

Well, you should have been more prepared for the meeting,
I say confidently as I smoothly segue to the next point.
Like a star getting ready to die. What happens when the hydrogen goes bye-bye?

More fusion?
one guesses.

NO!
I scream.
Now the star is dying! But how gloriously it's dying! Don't come to a meeting unprepared next time!

Chapter 8. 

Daddy!!!!
someone screamed.
There's poop on the floor!

See: Prologue, Number 2. Pun intended.

Chapter 9. 

We are going to have a little chat.
I announce.
I told my brother I had meetings, plural, so we need to have at least a couple so he doesn't find out I made it up to sound important. So we are going to have another meeting.

Can we wrestle instead?
a boy says.

No.
I say.
But then it turns into a wrestling meeting, and I am injured during this meeting.

Chapter 10. 

We will take a break from meetings,
I announce.
And do some racing. I will time you.

YES!
one says.

The other grins confidently. She is wearing sandals in November.

Chapter 11. "I am ready to face any challenge that might be foolish enough to face me." *

It is bedtime.
I say firmly.

Can we just watch a little Pocahontas?
one pleads.
It would be educational, and it really helps us to learn another perspective about the English settling of the Americas!

No.
I say.
And if you're not asleep in the next thirty seconds, Thanksgiving may get canceled and we'll have meetings instead.

Becca and I sink into the purple couch together and snuggle up with a sigh.
Should we go get lunches ready for tomorrow, or do dishes, or have a meeting about finances?
I murmur…

…or should we watch The Office?

Uh-huh,
she says,
as her eyes close.

A lot of meetings. Can't wait to tell Jonny about them.

*Chapter 11 title : courtesy of Dwight Schrute