Elise, her parents, grandma, Maly and I are in Tulsa for Elise’s cousin’s wedding.Â We started the day yesterday three hours late for a road trip that was to take all day.Â We had a rehearsal dinner to get to at Elise’s aunt and uncle’s house which is 507 miles from our driveway in Austin.
The day was a little stressful.Â I led the two-car caravan well into Oklahoma at as close to 80 mph as I could.Â We were only half an hour late for the rehearsal dinner.
The day was stressful because not only did Elise and I have our normal stresses traveling as a family with a 1-year-old, but we also had three other people traveling with us.
As far as I could tell, Elise and I weren’t stressed with one another, as we usually are.Â Instead, we were battling our own outside individual stresses.Â For lack of a better phrase, we were in the same boat, paddling together instead of on separate ships, firing at each other.
The rehearsal dinner was nice.Â I was able to meet a lot of people from Elise’s mom’s side of the family whom I had never met.
We were all exhausted and Elise, Maly and I left the party around 10:30.Â Â Maly was 3 hours past her bedtime.
We stopped at the QT on 71st near the hotel where I bought a 12-pack of beer as I had not yet had my RDA of Moloko Plus.
It wasn’t until we parked the truck when Elise and I had our first falling out.Â Elise was carrying Maly and the stroller as we made our way to the hotel entrance.Â I was carrying two backpacks, our cooler full of food, 12-pack of beer, my suit, a granite bust of Jack Nicholson, a competition series air hockey table, a kayak, a late model Dodge Neon and four fruit baskets.
I was in a hurry for the elevator because I was about to drop the Jack Nicholson bust on my foot.Â Elise got mad at me for not waiting and went so far as to remark on my lack of chivalry. Â Ouch.
Half an hour later, Maly is asleep in her travel crib and Elise’s eyes are barely slits as she lies on one of the twin beds in our room.Â I’m lying on the other bed with the computer on my lap, a beer in my hand and a Robert Redford movie is playing on the TV.
I finally convince myself to go to bed at 1 a.m.
I was so tired but couldn’t fall to sleep.Â My mind was working but I couldn’t tell what it was working on.Â I rolled over a few times and finally found myself on my back, staring at the white popcorn texture on the ceiling.Â I stared at the ceiling while listening to my daughter breathing in the crib on the floor next to me.
Eight months ago I was in this same place, only in a different hotel in a different city for a different reason.Â It was the night that we took my Dad off of life support.Â Elise, Maly and I stayed in a hotel room in Odessa.Â Our room had two twin beds.Â Maly was only 5-months-old and still slept with us a lot of the time.Â All three of us couldn’t sleep in the same bed on that night as the bed would have been too small and I would have kept my wife and daughter up with my crying.Â Instead, Elise and Maly slept in one of the beds and I in the other, rolling over and over, crying and trying to cope with the sudden death of a part of me.
I would stop crying long enough to stare at the popcorn texture on the ceiling and listen to my daughter breathe.
I didn’t sleep well last night.