My wife takes off her pants and I watch, sitting in my chair enjoying the view. She stops and looks at me, notices my staring. Or more appropriately, my glaring. I have been with this woman for 22 years, I have earned the unashamed glare.
"What?" she asks.
"What do you mean what?"
"Why are you staring?"
I do not feel the need to explain my actions. It should be self-evident. My wife has no pants on. I like it when my wife doesn't wear pants. It's awesome and the fulfillment a dream of 16 year old me. "What?" she asks again.
"I like it when you don't wear pants."
"Oh, yea?" She says, a smirk now on her face. "It's been over 20 years, sure it's not getting old?"
"Nope," I say. I like where this is headed.
Bacon Hoss runs into the room like he is being chased by a carnie with a pitchfork. He misjudges the turn and smacks the bed, falls down but quickly gets back up. His little feet start moving again, taking the time to give a kick to the bed because fuck you bed, that's why. He jumps into my lap, I wince to avoid certain areas, and look at him.
He grabs my chin tightly, his vice-like fingers surprisingly strong for a 4-year-old and looks me in the eye.
"I have a donut on my forehead."
"What?" I ask.
He jumps off and is gone. There was no donut on his forehead. Bubba Hoss comes in as if getting the go-ahead from the stage manager that he was missing his cue.
"Dad," he says. "I lost my school book and need to find it for tomorrow. Also, did you know that Hans Solo uses a DL-44 to shoot Guido?"
This is what it's like with my son. The first statement is about something he lost. The second statement is a star wars fact. That's where we are at with him at the moment. I tell him to check under his bed for the book, that I didn't know the exact model of the gun and that it's time to go brush his teeth. We are doing early bedtime tonight for, um, reasons.
Little Hoss comes in. I imagine this is how clown cars work. Just have more people show up until the driver can't fit anymore. She says that she needs her girl scout shirt and she can't find her girl scout shirt, why can't she find her shirt, the boys must have taken it. Stomp, stomp, stomp. I don't even say anything to her. She just stomps out.
My wife is at the sink now, getting ready for bed, still pantsless. I can salvage this.
All three kids come in for the curtain call. If they take bows and I'm going to be knocking some heads. I shut them down before they can even tell me who hit who, I don't care if you're bleeding, and can we all just stop talking for a bit? I tell them to zip it and everyone go brush their teeth and get ready for bed.
My eyes go back to my wife. I find her evening ritual slightly alluring. I don't know why but I always have. 22 years I've watched her do it and it never gets old. Mentally, I high five the teenager still inside me. We are living the dream buddy, we are living the dream.
Screams can be heard from the kid's bathroom. There are shouts and yells, accusations and a 4-year old that is just crying. His voice rises above the rest, but my daughter's whine is giving it a run for its money. Bubba Hoss is in the middle of defending himself, demanding that slanderous and libelous statements be retracted. I consider ignoring it until a sentence catches my ear.
"You broke my toothbrush." The absurdity of this snaps my eyes off my wife's legs. How the hell do you break a toothbrush? Jesus Christ, are you kids serious? A toothbrush? Was someone making a prison shank? I don't think I could break a toothbrush if I tried. I would have to get tools out to break a toothbrush. God Damnit, seriously?
They did indeed break a toothbrush, I didn't care to find out whose. For some reason, I keep a lot of extra toothbrushes because you never know when one is going to end up in the toilet or apparently be sharpened on concrete to make a point. The kids are given a new toothbrush and I make a mental note to put them all up for adoption tomorrow.
My wife walks by, headed downstairs. She has pajama pants on now.
I have missed my opportunity and I realize that I have more in common now with that 16-year-old teenager in me than I thought.