Some weekends with the kids, I nearly grit my teeth down to bloody nubs and damn near sever my own tongue, biting back words that are quite true but nonetheless don’t need to be said where the kids can hear. Some weekends, every sentence out of the kids’ mouths begins with “Mama said…” and finishes with the freshest round of lies, bad-mouthing, and absolute nonsense that make us strain eye muscles, rolling them so hard.
Other weekends are like this past one. The kids burst out of Crow’s daddy-paid-for car with shrieks of “Daddy!” and ran up to our front porch, where we were waiting in the rocking chairs I love so much. We went for a walk and bike ride to a nearby park since the weather was perfect, and as Gary and I strolled along in the sun, watching the kids on their bikes, I laughed at the regular Norman Rockwell painting we were just then. It’s not often we get to enjoy calm, peace, nice. Normal.
Gary and I were joking around over the weekend, singing made-up songs worthy of the radio’s Top Ten, fabricating absurd nicknames for each other and the kids, then laughing uncontrollably at our own jokes. Sunflower, who is now 13, tried to roll her eyes like she was disgusted, but she couldn’t hide the happy, tiny smile on her face as she told us, “You guys are weird.”
Weird? Yeah, I’ll give her that. There’s not a whole lot normal about the endless garbage heap of drama that Gary and I shovel through, courtesy of Crow having too much time on her hands since she has no friends, integrity, or life. But we do our best to make sure the kids have stability, laughter, and fun at our home, no matter what else is happening on the battlefront.
The day the kids had to go back, Sunflower, who was no longer smiling, sat on the sofa beside her father, crying softly and holding onto him tightly. Maybe someday Crow will see that her crap is doing nothing but hurting the kids. Maybe someday she will even care.