Well, there was an incident. God knows I don’t get out much. Most nights, I’m in bed before Madonna takes the stage. So when a girlfriend called last week to tell me a friend of ours was in town from Vail and asked if I would like to meet them for a quick drink, I jumped at the chance. We met at a local place at 5:30 and began our reunion. Six- thirty turned into 7:30, and 7:30 turned into 8:30. Laughter and cocktails—it was a classic girls’ night, with one small problem…

We sat at the table with our children’s to-go dinners congealing in their white plastic bags as the waiter delivered some complimentary calamari and we begrudgingly (ha) ordered another round. It was turning into one of those nights: the stars align and you end up in a room at the Four Seasons, or hitting a jackpot on a slot machine. That’s what I was thinking anyway…and that’s when the phone calls started. Apparently, I have children and homework—and obligations.

As phone after phone buzzed around the table with the signature ringtone for each child, we dove into appetizers and pretended fairly convincingly that we were 20-something singles without a care—or a kid—in the world. And if we were going to shirk our maternal responsibilities, we were going to do it with a bang. When 10 o’clock rolled around, it happened. I looked down at my phone and saw the following text from Whiny: Thank you for the betrayal and for taking such good care of us.

Well, you can just imagine how I felt—ashamed, inadequate. I had left two teenagers and an 11-year-old home to fend for themselves while I took a break. The nerve. Of course, just then, my friend sitting next to me glanced at my phone and saw the text. I had never seen an actual spit-take before that. When I finally got home, everyone was in bed and sound asleep. They had left some dishes out as proof that they had had to manage for themselves—poor things. I will pay for my betrayal in the coming weeks. I will dedicate myself to checking Social Studies notes and making home-cooked meals; and when I ask myself if I would ever be so neglectful again, the answer is obvious: in a heartbeat.

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