And this is the telling of the secret —
Yesterday afternoon, (Monday) I was so tired, I could have almost dropped. And Certain Man came home for a late lunch with enough time to hook up the gas range that we recently purchased to serve as my second stove. I still had 20 loaves of bread to go, and was thrilled with my good fortune. But there were great struggles, and Eldest Son was home and he lent a helping hand, and finally almost everything was done. It was around 2:30, and in the midst of looking for a power plug, that the phone rang.
“Uh, Mom-” It was Youngest Son. We were eagerly looking forward to his arrival home on Tuesday.
“Yes, Son! How are you?” (“It’s Lem!” I mouthed over the receiver to Certain Man. He didn’t comment. He was occupied.)
“Uh, Mom, I have a problem. I kinda left all my money back at the dorm, and I wasn’t going to tell you this (cause I wanted it to be a surprise), but we got out early today, so we are on our way home, and I don’t have any cash so I was wondering if it would be okay if I put some food on the credit card. Don’t say anything because I want to surprise everyone. Especially Raph! I wouldn’t have even told you, but I need to know about what I am supposed to do.” (Actually, there were a few more things to iron out, so I quietly got into another room and finished the conversation, and hung up. But how was I ever going to keep this information from Certain Man?)
In the meantime, Certain Man had gotten his feathers ruffled over the lack of electrical equipment, and had proceeded to march about looking for an extension cord. Until the situation got resolved, he had forgotten all about the phone call. (Whew! Got by that time!) And Raph hadn’t even noticed that his bro had called. No one else was home.
But the news was electrifying to me. It seemed like it was a dose of energy and optimism, and even though it seemed like I would never get done, there was at least a goal in mind. Later in the evening, when it seemed like our offspringin’ needed some encouragement, I hinted that I knew a secret that they would like to know, but I wasn’t going to tell. This was met with great wheedling and cajoling but for once, I wasn’t going to tell anybody in the house anything. If they hadn’t heard by the time they left the house in the morning, I would tell them.
Along about 10:00, the bread was baked and bagged, much of the laundry was finished, and we were just about to call it a day when Certain Man discovered that we were totally out of milk, and headed off to fetch some. I took the opportunity to slip out and call Youngest Son.
“Hey, Lem!” I almost whispered. “How long before you will get here?”
“Not for a little while yet. Why?”
“Because Chris and Jess are here, and I would like to keep them here until you get here if I could.”
“It won’t be for quite a while, yet, I don’t think. I probably have another hour and a half.”
“Well, Lem, can I tell the rest of the household what is going on? I won’t tell Raph, (he is gone) but I would like to tell Dad and Chris and Jess and the girls.”
“I guess I don’t care if you tell them, but DON”T TELL RAPH!”
So I got to tell the homefolk around 10:15, and their responses were gratifying.
And then he got home around 11:30, locked his keys in the car, and had some bonding experiences with his dad over getting them out. They were finally procured, everyone duly hugged and then Certain Man and I betook ourselves to bed. We really wanted to be awake when Raph walked in, but we could not stay awake any longer.
Along about 12:30, the driveway monitor went off, and the kids knew it was Raph. Lem got behind the refrigerator and waited. When Raph came into the kitchen, suddenly, right in front of his face was his younger brother!
“DUDE! YOU’RE HERE! YOU SAID YOU WERENT COMING UNTIL TOMORROW NIGHT!”
“And then,” reported one of his sisters, “There were many exclamations, and huggings and slapping on the backs and accusations of ‘You LIED to me!’ but you could tell they were really glad to see each other.”
How sweet it is to have our sons home again. It won’t last long, but I am glad they could spend this many nights together before Raph leaves for six months. We are preparing our hearts for separation day, but none of us really want to think about it. Sometimes a good Secret can help us make it through.
So now you know. My secret was that Youngest Son was coming home to surprise us a full day early.