Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.
They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted.
Blaine 39, Viktoria 38, Anastasia 13, Brendan 8
Since I am the one telling this story, I would love nothing more than to be the heroine, the perfect protagonist who rises above adversity, always chooses the right thing to to and knows the right thing to say.
Alas, I am only human and react flawed like humans do sometimes, especially when exhausted or under pressure.
What I am about to detail now happened some years after the last post. The misplaced kiss between Caleb and me was a thing long forgotten by all. Around us children grew older, some new ones were born, most noteworthy Penny’s little boy with Ulysses, who was a dedicated step-father to her son Clay from a previous relationship, now a teen, but even more so to his own biological one, toddler Roman.
It all began on the eve of Anastasia’s 13th birthday party.
Yes, our little girl would officially be a teen, while that was a milestone to many, all it meant for us was that the number on paper had finally caught up to her attitude. She had those hormonal rages for years now and already grown into a tall and pretty girl, promising to become a beautiful young woman one day, a female version of Blaine, the only reminder of my involvement seemed to be the eyes, color and shape inherited from me.
Her little brother Brendan, now in school and 8 years old, was still the same silly, but sweet little boy, so much more easy-going than his sister ever had been. Lucky for us had the relationship between the kids improved and they got along fairly well. They would never be the ‘one-heart-one-soul’ variety of siblings but close enough. Our little boy was a hoot though, always that gleam in his eyes, just waiting to land the next joke.
Anyway, back to the birthday eve. Naturally I had spent nearly the entire week planning, calling all the parents to make sure the kids were able to come, telling everyone what things she liked so the parents could assist the boys with gift selection, preparing little gift bags for the guests, planning a menu that would please adults, teens and children alike, all that.
Tonight I was finishing the cake, when Ana walked in not even looking at me as she was typing on her phone. Still, I cursed Blaine, whom I had positioned to prevent exactly that from happening, so I tried to hide my work best I could by standing in front of it.
That earned me rolled eyes and an annoyed snort from my daughter, while she took a Selfie completely unimpressed, giving me barely a second of a glance before she started typing again.
“Seriously mother? Like I don’t know you are making a cake for my birthday. I mean like, duh! Only been the same old thing for 13 years, you do it for Bren and for dad and will be the same till the day we all die. But chill, I am not even looking, just need a coke. Didn’t even seeing that cake in my favorite color that you are trying to hide behind you.” she sighed theatrically.
MOTHER?! Had we all been slingshot back decades in time? MOTHER?!
“Since when do you call me ‘mother’?! What happened to mom or mommy?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“I haven’t called you mommy since I was – like – a child, hello? Fine, then mom, if that makes you feel better. Anyway, MOM, I know your memory isn’t the best, so you remember Arthur has a nut allergy, right?! Whatever is in that secret cake that I know nothing about, please don’t kill my friends, okay?!” she rattled down as if I were a waitress at some fancy restaurant. Or her maid.
While I was literally rendered speechless at her insolence, she now turned to the fridge, pulled open the door, I pushed it back shut.
“Don’t you think it is a little too late for you to have caffeine? You can have orange juice or water.”
“OH. EM. GEE! Are you like for realz?! I cannot wait till I’m 18 and can move out of this dump!” she went straight into a fit.
“You moved to a dump? Just let me know which, so I can forward your mail.” Blaine joined us.
“Where were you? You were supposed to keep her from seeing the cake.” I laid into him right away.
“Sorry, had to piss. I mean use the pisser. Bathroom, that is what I had to use. Anyway, she knows you’re making a cake, you do it every year for each of us. Figured her walking in here was the lesser evil of my two options, and the better choice compared to me watering the living room plant with my build-in hose.”
“Blaine! For heaven’s sake, watch your language!” I said, while Anastasia was grimacing and moaning about her parents’ behavior, which evidently was too much in her book.
“Sure. Anya, don’t repeat anything I just said and don’t piss on your mom’s plants either. At least not until you’re 18 and no longer our problem. After that age we’ll blame everything on teachers and society, like everyone else.”
“Sure thing, daddy. Hey, I just wanted to grab a coke and …”
“NO CAFFEINE FOR A TWELVE YEAR OLD AT THIS HOUR!!! HOW MANY MORE TIMES DO YOU NEED IT?!” I roared at the sweet child o’ mine.
“I am practically 13!”
“Oh babygirl, we drink caff … uh … right. Your mother is right. No coke. Have something your mom approved.” Blaine told her, then shooting me a look like a dog awaiting the reaction of its owner to see if what he had done was acceptable. Had I not been so upset, I would have probably thrown him a cookie.
Man, when had I become this uncool person in everyone’s books?! Was trying to raise a child properly really so bad?! All I was doing was pretty much what my mom had done and I never gave her this much grief, nor had Blaine, for that matter and neither of us thought my mom was some uncool nagger. What was I doing wrong?
Well, the party went great, even though I felt benched, as Ana’s entire attention was on her friends and not one single word of thanks for all the effort I had put into her party. Maybe it was what was supposed to happen, but I felt like I was missing out and losing my little girl. Watching her slip away like sand through my fingers.
I was happy for my little girl having all that fun on her special day, but watching her hug pretty much everybody, including our dog, except one person: me, that stung badly.
Not one single smile, no hug, no thanks, nothing at all. I was completely ignored all day long by her and when I went to hug and congratulate her she ignored that and went outside with two of her friends.
Riordan smiled at me from a corner
“I know the feeling, can’t go outside myself either and she just ditched. We can hang out, Mrs. C.” he offered.
Sweet gesture by a sweet kid but I really didn’t want pity from a 14 year old boy with a sunlight problem, cos he was a vampire.
Later on more cake, more laughs, more hugs … except for me.
But nothing could have prepared me for what was still forthcoming.
The next day. I had been running around like a chicken with the head cut off all day long trying to get the house back in ship shape after the party. I had just gotten done scrubbing the bathroom and was on my way to the kitchen, from the living room I overheard the last bit of something Anastasia was saying to Blaine.
“… anyway, so we were all having so much fun, in stitches with laughter, until the nag-monster came in and ruined all. Nag nag nag, I just scrubbed that and now Sven has his feet on it .. blah blah blah … so humiliating. We should get her a parrot for her birthday that sits on her shoulder and just repeats all her nags all the time.”
I was about to blow up at her, when I heard Blaine’s reaction to it all, which I swear was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
You know what my wonderful husband said to save my honor?
Did he reprimand our daughter, shut her down? Nope.
You know what he did instead?
Yes, that is right, he was amused by our daughter bashing me and my efforts.
Wanna guess who wasn’t amused? That’s right, me. I was hurt and livid!
And this is where my parenting fail and meltdown started.
Like a steam engine I rushed into the kitchen and yelled unflattering things at my daughter, then merged straight into telling my husband – verbatim – that he was an ‘asshole’ and to put the cherry on top I underline my words with very inappropriate gestures.
Right in front of our daughter.
If you are judging me, saying I should have been able to hold back, please know, I did, as my primal instinct was to bash my husband’s head in with a frying pan and sell my daughter on Craig’s List.
You see, crude gestures and insults were were already the highest of all feelings of control for me at that point. Yeah, THAT bad.
And then I removed myself from the scene, hopped in my car and drove off to destination unknown.
Naturally Blaine tried to call my cell, again and again, so I turned it off.
Oh, that was bad, I admit it, but it would get worse yet. Much worse.
I did not know where to go, at all. We basically shared our friends, even though Blaine wasn’t cray-cray about Penny, he was pretty friendly with her husband so were I do go there, someone would tell on me. Caleb was out. He was so dead set on not offending Blaine again, he would call Blaine the minute the door chime would have stopped chiming. All the other friends were either Blaine’s to begin with and mine only by association or not close enough that I’d feel comfortable there.
So I went to a bar.
Yep, that’s what I did, and yep, I know, this won’t get me nominated for the mother of the year award.
You know what? They can all take that award and SHOVE IT!
So now here I was at a bar, THE perfect place for a mother of two minors who had just pretty much lost her last marble, and who was also an alcoholic lightweight.
And I ordered a drink. I didn’t know what most of them even were, just ordered something that sounded interesting. Pathetic, I know, for the wife of a former bartender.
While the heat of the alcohol was still burning in my throat I already ordered another drink. This time something that sounded big. And it was. Huge glass full of something else that tasted differently, but burned the same. Soon I already felt the warm and fuzzies in my brain.
How did I ever think I’d get back home, since I already would barely have been able to even get the car door open at this point? Simple answer: I didn’t care.
Not this girl. Nope. Not tonight. I’d cross that bridge once I came to it, probably the same bridge I’d be sleeping under, lacking other options.
And then I thought go big or go home – and I wasn’t going home. I double-fisted my feel-better juice.
Ha, feel better, we all know how this is going to end and most definitely not with me feeling better, right? I would have written ‘spoiler alert’ but if you have followed my tale this far, this is not a spoiler. You know this is going to hurt. Later.
I don’t know what the national average consumption rate is for a woman my height, weight and age but I lost count anyway and at some point I was lit beyond recognition.
I wanted to get off the barstool to go pee and nearly did a faceplant. I could not stop the room from spinning, I puked all over the floor, through thick fog did I heard people yelling and screaming complaints at me, until strong arms steadied me. When the face before me finally stopped swirling I recognized Blaine.
I tried to speak to him but made no sense, even to myself.
“Where are your keys?” Blaine was already feeling me up, digging through my pockets for the car keys, making me giggle
“Tickles … hahaha …”
Some men and the bartender started saying something to Blaine to which I only heard him growl.
“Chill mah dudes, this little lady is my wife. I’d offer to pay for the cleanup and shit but you lush over there overserved her, you rookie! Rule number one for any decent barkeep ‘know your audience and don’t overserve’, so you’re on your own here, bruh. She is coming home with me RIGHT NOW, I don’t have nerves to argue with any of you, so if anyone wants to stop us, you can tell it to my righty and lefty. Any takers?!”
Then he picked me up and carried me outside.
The fresh, cool air felt like a bucket of water hitting my face and suddenly I was so tired and exhausted.
I don’t remember many details, faintly recall Blaine loading me into the passenger seat of my car, strapping me in, at some point we were home, Blaine put me down in the bathroom, I wanted to go sleep in the tub, he held on to me, even stayed with me when I started puking like crazy. At some point talked to Caleb, who had stuck his head in, I think Blaine gave him a status report, then handed him his motorcycle keys to bring it home.
At some point he started peeling off my layers of clothing, Blaine patiently and carefully cleaned me up, while I was giggling, completely out of it. I swear I fondled that poor man, literally drooled on him trying to kiss him, which could have not been one bit appealing. Yeah, that’s how you know it’s real love.
I recalled laying in bed, the room spinning around me when finally Blaine crawled in next to me, and just held me tight, it felt so good and safe, I drifted off to sleep. The last thing my conscience sent off to happy lala land with me was Blaine’s voice, quietly mumbling from behind me.
“I’m sorry, babygirl, I screwed up again, I know it, but I’ll fix this for ya. You’ll see, it will all be better soon. I know just what I need to do.” Blaine whispered