Election? What election?

Workers at my shop during elections

This may be short and a bit disjointed, as it’s about 1:30am and I have to be up in 5 hours at the least to get breakfast and lunches ready.

As you can see above, I worked the elections at my day job.  That’s not asking for sympathy or attention, it’s part and parcel to the job I have.  I’ll be honest, too, in that I wasn’t as involved as you might think.  I was a pinch hitter, so to speak, a troubleshooter.  If the results had issues I was to help track down the election commissioner for whichever county.  Only really had to do that a couple times.

But this isn’t so much an election story.  Not really.  Sure, it was the day for it.  You might see the divisive nature of the country in those maps  with the red and blue states screaming at you from the television, but whichever side you were on you have to admit one thing: we were active.  My daughter voted for the first time.  There were some counties with record numbers of voter registration . . . and even better, voter turnout.

My day, though, wasn’t consumed with elections.  Sure, I was working stories that weren’t election-related:

Doing Interviews

But my day started as a Dad.  I had lunches made the night before, thankfully.  I scrambled after dropping the kids at their school and got dinner made.  I made a meat sauce – from scratch – and got all the ingredients in a crock pot to cook for the ten hours that the kids would wait before dinner.  I made a batch of cornbread muffins and put them in the oven.  I called it pathetic – a friend called it smart – that I took off my dress shirt so it wouldn’t get tomato sauce on it.  Then I grabbed my lunch, headed out the door, and readied myself for a long, long day of elections.

Still, there’s the issue of being Dad during a stressful day.  I should have seen it coming, I really should.  Whenever there’s a situation where I’m unavailable . . . completely, thoroughly unavailable . . . things happen.  It’s like Hannah and Noah – and Sam at times – realize that they can’t get access to me easily.  That, or they think there’s nothing I can do so they’ll get away with it.

So in the middle of the election coverage and my trolling through records I’d obtained for a story my son lost it at school again.  This time – no surprise – in the chaotic time during the Extended Day Program.  I know this because when I got home the house was dark but the little white behavior note was waiting there for me.  The boy hadn’t gotten his way, got angry, and spouted a bunch of, shall we say, colorful language in the room at other kids.

Don’t email me, I take responsibility for this.  I’m not walking around the house all day like the Honey-Boo-Boo parents and talking in curse words every other breath.  (I don’t watch the show, they may not do this, but I choose to believe they might)  But in some instances, where I don’t catch myself, I start to do it.  I’ve noticed Abbi starting as well.  I’m already working on stopping this.

That doesn’t address the main issues, though.  It’s every . . . single . . . time I’m unavailable.  Particularly when I only half-jokingly tell the kids “unless you’re bleeding, you’ve lost a limb, or guys with guns are banging on the door I’m not coming home on time.  Call the cops or ambulance first . . . then call me!”  It’s once every four years this happens, not every month.  But when it happens . . . I’m more exhausted than the weekend I spent in DFW with no sleep.

So it’s easy to see why, to me, the election didn’t even amount to a hill of beans to me.  It was important while I worked it and then I got home . . . and it was a microcosm compared to the universe I inhabited.  So I sat to write so I didn’t go wake up the kid and ask him “WHY?!  FOR GOD’S SAKE WHY?!!!!”

We’re trying our hardest.  Noah’s going to see his new therapist in a couple weeks . . . apparently not soon enough.

So while the country says it’s divided and the two sides – pro and con on each side of the aisle – tear at their clothes and moan, the reality is the checks and balances for the country are still in place.  The president can’t write laws.  The Congress is still divided.  Both sides are entrenched in a silly battle of radical philosophies and blame people like me for carrying a torch on one side or the other.

But in reality, they don’t get the real struggles we face.  My struggle isn’t about whether two men or two women should marry.  My struggle isn’t whether they should give universal health care.  Mine’s more basic.  What does my son need that I’m not giving him?

Election?  No election can answer that question for me.

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