This weekend is formal recruitment weekend for sororities at the university in our town. For most normal 30-something Kirksville couples with kids, this means nothing. But in our house, the second weekend of September is always chaos. As the Recruitment Advisor for Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, I spend Thursday through Monday galavanting around town with a herd of nervous college women. Most nights I am not home until after midnight, and in the mornings I am usually engaged in some kind of excessive-grooming-while-frantically-texting kind of activity. By lunchtime I'm back out the door in my matching outfit. Yeah, that's right; I said matching outfit.
For Kyle this means he gets to step around boxes of centerpieces, tablecloths, sweaters, and other party planning materials for most of August, then gradually help move those boxes to my car over the course of recruitment weekend. In exchange for getting our guestroom/study back, he is asked to help protect a delivery of 10 dozen flowers from our kids for three days (while they "perk up" in preparation for use on Saturday). He agrees to be a special kind of single parent for five days; the kind who has an anxious, overtired, coffee-swilling debutante breezing through the house from time to time.
Some years, this does not go so well. Like the year Kyle and both the kids got a stomach bug in the middle of our preference party, and I ended up having to explain to the dry cleaner why there were vomit stains on my formal. Or when Kyle put his back out and crying infant Daniel had to hang out in an alley behind a banquet hall with Aunt Madeline.
This year, though, I must admit that things have gone remarkably well. I was able to sleep in until 8:00 this morning (a feat in our house). The house is clean, the laundry is done. Children are well-fed and rested. They went off to church on time and in appropriate clothes this morning. Yesterday, without being asked, Kyle retrieved all the empty food containers and boxes and aprons I'd left in the car when I'd returned home at 3am, washed and put away or disposed of everything. This weekend he has listened to me discuss my frustration with Panhellenic Coucil, my reflections on the decorations and venue for Open party, and a full oral dissertation on whether it would be more tragic to have more people than we can seat and feed at Invite or too few people to set us up to make quota.
One thing I love about the advising position I have is that I get to help in lots of practical ways that people don't always see. I enjoy thinking about little details, and keeping things running behind the scenes so that everything goes smoothly for the people who are in the spotlight. Many of the ladies in the organization have no idea how much work I do, but there are always those who do and who remember to recognize that and say thank you. I never, then, come out feeling unappreciated.
Kyle, though, probably deserves an honorary membership for all he's done over the years to support Alpha Gam recruitment. He has brought babies to me to nurse between parties, has managed mealtimes and bathtimes solo, made coffee and kept children quiet. He has hauled things and solved computer problems and put off going jogging and had some lonely nights at home, all after working a full week of his own. I'm certain that he's never gotten a thank-you note or an advisor appreciation gift. It's also pretty clear to anyone who knows us that things like matching outfits and party planning, cardigan crises and bid signing are about the last things in the universe Kyle would be interested in. But he never makes jokes, never accuses me of being petty, and never questions my priorities as I run off in my matching t-shirt.
And I think to myself, "So THIS is what it's like to be with Superman..."