I rubbed my eyes. They were burning and hurt to open. But Shasta was announcing that it was time for me to get up regardless of what my body was telling me. I emerged from the bed as quickly as I could without making the mattress move or rustling the blanket too much. I grabbed the monitor and unplugged it immediately muting the baby jabber that had been filing our room and disturbing well needed slumber. I shut the door in the- hold the handle and slowly release the latch so as not to make a sound- fashion. Tiptoeing across the hallway I greeted our little boy with a smile and good morning kisses. There is nothing like baby kisses in the morning. We crept down stairs to start the day.
Breakfast, bath time for two little ones, shower for me. All the while trying to keep the noise at a minimum. Sierra was helped into her black tights and red and black Christmas dress. Black shoes were velcroed at the latches and an over sized red satin bow dressed up her straight brown hair. Shasta wore tweed gray pants and a black vest. A white button up shirt was the perfect contrast to the red and black checkered tie. I placed a little black hat over his blond Mohawk. Glancing at the clock, I quickly threw on a red skirt, white top and black cardigan and we were ready to go. My eye caught a glimpse of CA Cop's red and black Christmas tie hanging in the closet. It was the Sunday before Christmas. We made our way into the Chapel and sat down on a cushioned pew. The kids looked absolutely adorable. The service was nice, as usual, and strangely the kids were actually pretty well behaved. I wished he was there. As people passed us in the hallway I was stopped by the usual friendly salutations followed by the "CA Cop working today?"
He was supposed to be with us. But the day before he worked 19 hours!? 19 hours! There I was in bed watching the bright green numbers on the alarm clock change from one minute to the next, from one hour to the following hour. As the day turned to night and night into morning. He had left our house before 6AM on Saturday and returned home at 3AM Sunday morning. I couldn't believe it. And I couldn't sleep knowing where he was at that night. In the trenches. In the gutters of the bay area.
As church drew to a close I packed up my family and loaded them into their car seats. I made the drive back home staying alert amongst all the frantic Holiday shoppers clogging the roadways. I had one thing on my mind. I hoped he was awake. I wanted him to see that bow in his little girl's hair and how she still fit the Christmas dress his mom made her last year. I wanted him to see Shasta in that 1920s newspaper boy hat that he miraculously left on for the entire duration of church. I wanted to ask him about his night. We pulled into the garage and I unloaded the babies. We really need a new car. My back is aching from bending down and fiddling with car seats. An SUV is in order, at some point anyway.
I heard the squeals as they entered the house and I knew he was up. He smiled at Shasta and complimented him on his future ability to get girls with those looks. He smoothed down Sierra's hair and laughed at the obvious fact that she must not have grown much since last year. I looked around our home and the chaos of the morning had been cleaned up and put away. The counters were bare and freshly wiped down. The pillows were neatly placed on the couches and my best friend was in the recliner. Home. He stood up and put his hands around my waste.
19 hours straight is a new record for him. I'm sure to some this is nothing. So what's the longest shift your family has endured?