This story happened a couple of weeks ago, but it’s certainly worth repeating.
I was booked for the biggest recording I’ve ever done: 5 books right in a row. Good news was, it happened over my break from teaching. Bad news: it meant leaving the house a little after 7AM and not getting home until 5:30 or 6. For three weeks. During the holidays. It would be hard on me, exhausting, and hard on my kids. But, the tradeoff was that I’d make a nice chunk of change to save in case Kendall doesn’t rehire me. There’s no way I could say no.
I am a single mom, but it’s not like it was last year. I’m not entirely alone now. I have my mom to help, and I also have Kealoha. One morning, I asked Kealoha if he could drop the kids off at school and daycare. This way I wouldn’t have to be late for the recording. But I was also thinking that 1) it felt nice to be able to rely on him and 2) it would give him a little time with the kids on his own. Kealoha and I are tentatively, gingerly talking about What Could Happen Next. We’re talking big future stuff here, so I thought that, well, he’d have about forty minutes with the kids, take them to school and it would be just a little practice.
Forty minutes. Just forty minutes with my kids. What could go wrong?
I kissed the kids and Kealoha goodbye and drove to Grand Haven.
Pretty much as soon as I was gone, Kealoha was sitting at the table with the kids. Louis said,“Man, I love this smell.”
“What smell?” Kealoha asked.
Louis looked at him. “Cinnamon. It smells so good.”
“I don’t smell any cinnamon.”
Louis smiled. “Well, yeah. Nana had some cinnamon sticks for crafts and I stuck one up my nose.”
At this point, Kealoha freaked. “Get it out! Blow your nose!” He grabbed a tissue and had Louis blow and a big chunk of cinnamon came out.
Kealoha breathed easy.
Meanwhile, I was whistling away while driving. About twenty minutes after I left, I got a phone call on my cell. From Kealoha. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Simone misses you,” Kealoha sounded stressed. Sure, why not? I could hear Simone screaming and crying in the background.
“Put her on the phone.” Then I talked to Simone.
“Mommy, I miss you!”
“I miss you too, baby. But you know, I’ve only been gone for twenty minutes.” She cried and cried and I tried to calm her down. Then I heard something in the background. It was Louis saying “Ow! Ow!” And then Kealoha got back on the phone, flustered.
“Louis has his peter out.”
“His peter! His penis! He’s…Louis, don’t pull on that. Put it back in your pants! No! Don’t tug on it! Not over your pants, it’ll hurt that way! Just….Gotta go.”
He hung up.
There wasn’t anything I could do. At this point I was in Spring Lake. Simone was having a meltdown, Louis was whipping his penis out, and Kealoha was having some sort of panic attack.
Kealoha managed to get Simone’s socks on while she screamed and cried. He got Louis’s penis back into his pants unscathed. Then the kids fought about who got dropped off first. Kealoha took Louis and Louis immediately jumped out of the car as soon as it was stopped and started running for a door. Kealoha wasn’t sure what was happening but then saw the teacher let Louis in the building.
Then he took Simone to daycare. Simone cried the whole time. An older caretaker at daycare, one with a deep smokers voice, said to him “Yeah, this happens with kids. Separation anxiety. Just sign her in and take off.” Kealoha did.
I recorded all day, started to lose my voice, came home. Got the kids dinner, put them to bed and then Kealoha came over. “You want a mai tai?” I asked. He nodded, his eyes wide. Then he hugged me. He clung to me. “So, are you going to break up with me?” I asked.
He thought about it. “I might break up with Simone.”
I poured him a drink. He downed it. I poured him another. “I’d tell you that this is as bad as it gets, but it gets worse. This is sort of my reality,” I said. “The kids are great but they throw fits, they scream, they fight. They’re also funny and loving. Can you handle this?”
Kealoha kissed me. He didn’t need to say anything.
And you know, he’s still here. And we’re still inching ever closer to What Could Come Next, whatever that is, with my two crazy kiddos along for the ride.