I was looking forward to a romantic date night with my husband. Ron and I had been walking on eggshells around each other for almost ten months. It all started when we adopted Ron’s nephew and put a pause on trying for our own kids—something we’d been trying at for over a year. We finally agreed to try couple’s therapy a week ago and our new therapist, Sal, suggested that a bit of relaxation from our normal schedule might ease the tension. Aside from a few groceries I still needed to pick up, almost everything was in order. My cousin Hannah had even offered to take Jayden for the night, so I was very excited Ron and I would be having the whole night alone.
I was getting ready to head to the store when the phone rang. I ran from the living room to get the phone from the kitchen. As I came through the doorway, one of Jayden’s Legos managed to find its way under my foot.
“Ouch! Jayden! I just cleaned, not again, put the toys away!” I said grabbing the phone and trying to pretend my foot wasn’t burning in pain, “Hello?”
“Hi Veda, it’s Hannah. I’m sorry. I can’t babysit tonight. My boss asked me to come in,” said Hannah.
“Hannah, I really need you,” I said, “I really can’t have Jayden tangled up in my hair during dinner tonight.
“I’m sorry, Veda, really I am.” A dog barked loudly through the receiver, “I have to go, I’ll call you later,” the phone clicked and went silent.
“Just great,” I said slamming the phone down, “Jayden, go get your shoes!”
He ran into the room, carrying his Spiderman light-up sneakers, “Mommy!” he beamed, “I get to go with you?”
“I’m Auntie Veda, and yes. Sit down,” I said taking his shoes and sliding his tiny feet into them. He smiled up at me. Gosh, he looks just like Ron when he smiles, I thought furrowing my eyebrows, “But nothing like me, not like my own child,” I muttered under my breath. I picked Jayden up and slid him onto my right hip, “Ron, I’m heading to the store with Jayden, but I’ll be back soon!” I called down the hall.
“Drive safely!” he said.
I turned around heading to the door, but Jayden was rubbing his fingers across my swimming trophy. The gold trophy wobbled for a moment before crashing to the floor into three jagged pieces. I took a gulp and caught myself before cursing.
“Veda? Jayden?” Ron said running out of our bedroom and down the hall to me, “You okay?”
I clenched my lips tightly together. Feeling the flush enter my cheeks, I set Jayden down.
“Mommy, I’m sorry.” Jayden was frowning.
“I told you, I’m Aunt Veda,” I said rubbing my forehead.
“Honey, that’s not what we agreed on,” Ron raised his eyebrows, “We are his parents. That’s how he knows us.”
I sighed and ran my fingers through Ron’s pale blond hair, “Can we talk about this later?”
He seemed disappointed, but nodded. “I’ll clean up this mess, you two go ahead to the store,” I noticed the bags under his eyes, but looked away, reached down to pick Jayden back up. I stared for a moment at the cracked trophy, the last trophy I won before I tore my rotator cuff and had to retire from competitive swimming. I wiped my clouding eyes and headed out the door.
- Excerpt #2, from my short story, Mommy (amandareimer.wordpress.com)
- Excerpt #3, from my short story, Mommy (amandareimer.wordpress.com)