The kids were already at home when I got home from work on Friday, and there’s absolutely nothing quite like the excited shriek of a child who spots you in the door, drops their toy, and comes running to say hello and deliver hugs and kisses. The kids were on fire this weekend, making me laugh so hard that Bear even imitated my laugh and snorted, “You laugh funny!” This from a boy who laughs like Woody Woodpecker with a megaphone; you can’t possibly miss it when he’s on a roll.
Friday night, I was helping Sunflower wash her hands in a restaurant restroom. Another woman in the restroom struck up conversation, asking if Sunflower was the only child, and I told her no. She turned to Sunflower and asked, “Oh, are you the baby?”
Sunflower glanced at her like she had the I.Q. of a gnat and answered, “No, but I was a baby when I was born.”
As we were walking back to the car, Wolverine asked for some quarters for the gumball machines in the lobby. Gary had wiped out his quarters getting food at the carnival petting zoo, so I checked my wallet and announced, “I don’t have any quarters. I have pennies and one dime.”
There was a pause, and then Bear piped up, “So…can I have a dime?”
When I was finished laughing, I gave him the dime. How could I not? That was smart.
Saturday morning we went to what was supposed to be an awards ceremony for the boys’ basketball teams, but actually turned out to be a 2 hour sermon. Fine, I understand the basketball program is hosted through a church, but the so-called awards ceremony didn’t even mention the kids at all, except when their team names were announced as they were being seated! After the 2 hours of Bible thumping that I tuned out and instead played with Dove and talked to Gary, they made an announcement that this was the end of the program, and the coaches could pick up the awards and distribute them to the team members. And that was that. We sat through 2 hours of preaching for that? Call it a sermon, not an awards ceremony, if that’s all it’s going to be. How shameful to make it about the church instead of the kids.
We made it back in time, barely, to grab a quick lunch at home and catch the tail end of a small St. Patrick’s Day carnival up the street. We learned that Wolverine absolutely does NOT like the swing ride, that Sunflower can stomach the swing ride twice in a row, and that Bear likes to play daredevil in the airplane ride. We stopped at a friend’s house afterward and wrapped up a great day over there, since the kids love playing with their son.
While the kids were playing upstairs and we adults were chatting in the living room, Sunflower came downstairs and said to me, “Can you come upstairs with me? I need to talk to you.” So I followed her to her “office” (the hallway at the top of the stairs) and took a seat across from her, as directed. She leaned in and asked quite seriously, “How would you feel about living here?” I asked, “You mean all of us in the same house? All 8 of us?” She nodded. I said, “Don’t you think we’d be a little crowded?” She seemed to need some time to think about that and sent me on my way in the meantime. As luck would have it, the house next door to our friends is empty, and the kids dropped many hints about moving in there.
This morning Bear and I went for a quick walk around the neighborhood. We had only gotten a few houses down the street when a dog the size of a hamster came tearing down a driveway, yapping and yammering at us. Bear almost jumped into my skin trying to get away, and I told him, “That dog isn’t even as big as Tweetie!” He cautiously regarded the dog some more, sidled a bit closer to me, took my hand, and told me, “Just in case…I’m staying next to you.” I was honored and am glad to know that my repertoire of superpowers includes Protector from Yappy Little Dogs.
It was a great weekend, until late this afternoon when Gary said, “OK, guys…it’s about that time…” Faces that were once smiling and laughing crumpled, and the tears started. God, I hate how hard this is on them. Anyone who feels like they “won” this crap by keeping the kids from their father has no concept…or no ability to care….or no concern….for what the kids need, want, and feel.