Over the weekend, my husband was away on a press trip to Rosemary Beach, Fla. I’ve taken plenty of these nice trips; this time, it was Todd’s turn to join journalists in the Florida Panhandle.

Organizing the schedules of our two boys, 14 ½ and 11 ½, is hard enough for two; take one parent of out of the mix, and we get barely ordered chaos. The boys are in different schools, so that means two trips in the morning (picking up neighbor kids, too, on the second school run). If neither son forgot anything (gym clothes, swim bag), that might be it for the morning. After-school coordination requires texts be sent to parents of swimmers to inquire who can take and pick up; it would be impossible to have a set weekly carpool schedule.

Raising an 11-month old puppy, Jed, adds to the coordination. If he doesn’t go to Doggie Day Care (I state that without the least bit of embarrassment — it’s such a great idea), he needs to be let out and checked on during the day. He saves his best behavior for when one of us is gone. This time, Jed chewed up a prescription medicine bottle that we did not know he could get to. I learned that to make a dog throw up you pour hydrogen peroxide in his mouth — a foamy mess. (He is fine, and we think his teeth are whiter.)

When the traveling parent returns, the family always is happy to share a collective “Whew.” It really does take a village it seems to run a household. Small presents and mementos come home with the returning parent: t-shirts, shells — or a wall plaque with a special message that reminds us just how hard and rewarding the parenting job is.

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