An Ordinary Day of a Military Wife

Submitted by Aafje Adkins to Contest #3 in response to: Write a story about an ordinary day in a person's life. Use their internal dialogue to make the story interesting.... view prompt

“Mommmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyy!” Is it six thirty already? Maybe if I pretend to stay asleep and ignore her, I could get in another ten minutes at the max! The door opened and a blonde headed, high pitched voice, little person walked in. Well to be fair, like I really expected that to work? Alright put on a happy face. “Mommy, mommy, are you up?” “I am! Hey sweet girl, come in here and snuggle with me!” “Okay!” She is getting so big! How is she four years old already? I’ll just stay here, snuggle her forever and maybe she won’t get any bigger. The blonde creature snuggles for roughly three minutes and then is quickly bored and hungry. “Mommy, I’m hungry can we get up?” She lets out a sigh of defeat. “Alright, what do you want for breakfast my Gracie Girl?” “I want pancakes!” “Well it is Saturday!” Which usually means that you sleep in you goofy girl. “Pancakes it is!” Gracie rubs her mother’s big belly. “Does baby Nate want pancakes too?” She rubbed her seven-month, round, heavy belly. “You know I think he does!” First that bastard knocks me up again and then he has the audacity to leave for deployment two weeks later! Nope, don’t go down that path Liz, Army first remember?

Liz waddles into the kitchen with Gracie shadowing behind her. She gets out the eggs, pancake mix and milk. She chides herself a little as she speed reads some of the ingredients that are in the actual mix. I know scratch is probably better but I really don’t have the time or patience. “No, Gracie, let Mama help you with the eggs!” The toddler sheepishly looks up at her and a pang of guilt goes through her stomach and heart. “Let’s just do it together! Does that sound good?” The resilient four-year-old forgets all about being scolded and her smile resumes. Liz stands her daughter up on a stool and stands behind her. She guides Gracie’s hands with hers and together they crack two large eggs into the mixing bowl. I wish you were here Nathaniel…you’re missing all these cute little moments.  They set the table for their pancake breakfast. Liz pours an appropriate amount of syrup on her daughter’s square cut up pancakes and then pours some on her own. Okay, now fingers crossed that I won’t have a sticky mess to clean up. Gracie accidentally knocks the open bottle of syrup off the table and the sweet, thick, sticky substance spreads like a plague. Well that was wishful thinking.

After cleaning up the syrup river it’s time to attempt the biggest challenge of the day; getting Gracie ready. “Sweetpea, let’s get ready for the day! Let’s go read to the dogs at the library! Doesn’t that sound fun?” Gracie just lays there on the floor like she is tired and already had an exhausting day. “Can we get Daddy on the phone?” Child, if I could pinpoint Daddy’s exact location and had super powers I’d bring him home to you this minute! But I can’t… “We’re going to talk to Daddy, on Sunday remember? That’s only one day away.” Liz knows her daughter well enough to know that logic and reason will not work on her. Still worth a shot anyway, right?  Little Gracie’s lip begins to pucker. “I want to talk to daddy right now!” Gracie stamps her foot and a few tears escape.  …three, two, one… The tears are coming at full speed and the small stamping has turned into flailing about on the floor. It’s always amazed Liz at the speed in which her sweet girl can turn from angel to demon. “Gracie Lynn, I will not have this, go to your room now!” Gracie picks herself up and stomps off to her room. Well at least that’s progress. I didn’t have to drag her to room like usual.  Liz pauses from life to take out her phone. She opens up her e-mail app and selects a new e-mail. She titles it, “Your demon Spawn” and tries to think of the title as a joke as she types in her husband’s military e-mail.

Hey Baby!

I had a moment to send you a little e-mail. I love and miss you of course but we’re getting along just fine. I wanted to take Gracie, to the library program today but we’re having a tough day today. No worries, I got her covered. I can’t wait till you’re home!

Love, Liz

Liz presses send and the e-mail whooshes off to the love of her life somewhere in the middle east. I swear I think I’m more married to my phone than an actual person.  She wasn’t entirely wrong. If she wanted to vent to him (not a lot just a little) she sent an e-mail. If she wanted to discuss some new ideas on how to better parent their daughter, she sent an e-mail. If she wanted to write a very sappy love note she sent an e-mail. He’ll be home soon though only two more months.  

After checking Gracie in her room to discover the tantrum had tired her out and put her to sleep Liz accepts the reality that they won’t be going anywhere today. The program was only for an hour and it’s her naptime anyway. Liz feels the baby’s small but insistent kick against her ever growing belly. Apparently, it’s not your naptime is it little guy? Liz’s phone begins to ring and she checks the caller ID before answering. It’s her mom and she hasn’t talked to her in over a week. Guess I’m not going to get any housework done either today.  Liz answers the phone and attempts to work up a over the top excited and enthusiastic voice. “Hey mom! So good to hear from you!” There is barely even a five second pause when her mother launches into her rant. “Do you want to know what your father did today?” I don’t really care but you’re going to tell me anyway. “Haha! What did he do now, Mom?” Liz’s father had retired two months into the deployment and it was driving her mother crazy having him home all the time. Truth be told, the day Nathaniel retires he may drive me crazy.

Liz listens to her mother rant about her father for two hours straight. After that she put her mother on speaker phone while she composed a new e-mail. She remembered to make the right verbal sounds for her mother such as, “uh huh, yep, mmm, and mhmmm.” She sent the e-mail to Nathaniel basically reiterating the funny stories her mom was telling her about her dad taking apart her kitchen to make it more efficient for her. Her mother brought her out of her dazed off stupor with the question, “So how are you doing with Nate being gone?” I’m loving it! Yay me the life of single parent-hood!” “Oh…we’re hanging in there you know?” “Yes, I do.” You really don’t mom, your husband was home every night to help you with your kids at the end of the day.  Liz decides that it’s not the time to vent to her mother. “I actually need to go mom, I let Gracie sleep longer than normal and I still haven’t gotten my house work done.” It takes another half hour of Liz’s mother lecturing her before she finally gets off the phone. “Gracie needs structure right now with her daddy being gone. Isn’t that what they taught you in the FRG meetings?”

It’s already four thirty and Liz feels like the entire day has been wasted. If I have the energy, I’ll get the housework done before my bed time after I put Gracie to bed. Gracie plays quietly in the living room with her Little People dollhouse while Liz starts dinner prep in the kitchen. She checks her phone for what must be the millionth time today to see if Nathaniel responded to any of her e-mails. He hasn’t yet. It must be a busy day for him today.  “Mommy, what’s for dinner?” Her little tyke asks her this as she stares into the fridge containing all the healthy fruits and veggies, she planned on using that night. After a day of tantrums, her mother basically telling her she was a bad mother, and no word from Nathaniel she has zero energy to be super healthy. “How does chicken nuggets and French fries sound?”  Gracie is excited but also impatient for her food. “How long will it take, Mommy?” “Well according to the bag both are going to take about twenty-five minutes. That’s how long one episode of your Micky show will take. Do you want to watch it while you wait?” “Yeah! Yay!” Well that’s the easiest she’s been all day.  

Liz feels a little guilty. She remembers the conversation her and Nathaniel had right before deployment on cutting down Gracie’s screen time. Sorry Babe, I’m going for easy tonight and it’s just one slip up. When he’s home, they work as a team and encourage their daughter to read or play quietly with her dollhouse. All those times though, were of course when she had a partner and she wasn’t as huge as a whale and tired all the time. The evening goes smoother than the morning had. Gracie eats all of her chicken nuggets and French fries. Around bedtime she is not ready to sleep and Liz resorts to the screens again. “How about this, I’ll set up a movie for you in your room and you can watch it while you fall asleep. Mommy needs to get some cleaning done before she goes to bed.” Gracie has no qualms about more T.V. time same as prepping dinner. Praise the Lord for “Frozen!”

Liz manages to get all the dishes rinsed off before her eyes feel heavy and a massive yawn comes out of her mouth. She gets the last bit of ketchup off of Gracie’s dinner plate and then surveys the damage of the day. The linoleum floor is still a little bit sticky despite cleaning up all of the syrup from the morning. Gracie’s toys are scattered everywhere. I completely forgot to ask her to clean up her toys! The breakfast and kitchen dishes are all rinsed but piled high in the sink. Did they day really get so far away from me that I forgot to feed us lunch? Poor Gracie! No wonder she finished her entire dinner. She was hungry!  At this thought Liz begins to sob. She tries to remember it’s just one bad day and that Nathaniel only has two more months. She did six so far so what was another two?  As she silently berates herself her phone rings. It’s an unknown number but if her hunch is correct, she knows who will be on the other end of the line. “Hello?” she says into the mouth piece raspy. “Hey Baby! It’s me!” His voice is my favorite sound in the entire world right now. “You okay? You sound like you’ve been crying?” Liz sucks up the snot in her nose and quickly wipes away the tears from her eyes. “It’s been a tough day but honestly hearing your voice makes it all better.” I just want you home though. 

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2 likes 1 comment

06:32 Sep 04, 2019

I enjoyed this peek into Liz’s life. You did a great job following the prompt. The way you switched from first to third person was a little confusing. Try staying in first person and let Liz show us her movements, instead of narrating them. For example you could say “Gracie’s plate was the last to rinse, and I had to really scrub the dried on ketchup.” I love the internal dialogue she has, and how you show us her struggles but how she wants to be strong.


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