Right about now, I'd love to be kicking and screaming and pouting and yelling "It's not fair!"
I don't want to have to be a responsible adult. I don't want to say the right things when everything in my heart is dying to say what I'm really feeling.
We took the kids out shopping tonight. Their cheapo Wally World sneakers were about one day's recess away from completely coming unglued (literally), and so we actually went somewhere and bought better-quality sneakers this time.
Geez, they won't stop growing!
Large Fry has gone up a size. Medium Fry has gone up a size. Small Fry has gone up two sizes!
Then we went out to dinner, since we had a $20 Applebee's gift card.
This turned out to be a comedic disaster.
I surprised Hubby by ordering steak tonight. I usually don't, for a couple of reasons. One, it's expensive. Two, I need to have it cooked well-done (and there are certain chefs who get their noses out of joint about that). And three, it's almost never cooked to order when I do decide to splurge on myself like this.
First: Hubby decided to try their chicken tortilla soup, in hopes that it would be almost like Max & Erma's tortilla soup (which also has chicken in it). It wasn't. Not even close.
Second unpromising moment: Large Fry was brought a kid's chicken sandwich rather than chicken strips.
The manager stopped by our table after that to apologize, and to make sure all else was well. She even asked if my steak was cooked correctly.
Well, it was...mostly. There was this tiny strip on the one side that was somewhere between medium and medium well, but I didn't want to make a fuss. And the rest of it was probably just a skosh more towards medium well than well, but again...didn't want to fuss. It was still yummy, and hitting the spot.
Although, I really began to think that the generally dim lighting in most restaurants isn't so much for atmosphere as it is to keep you from really being able to see your food sometimes.
The last inch and a half of that steak, though...it was decidedly medium rare. There was no way I could eat it. The next time the waitress stopped at our table, I reluctantly pointed it out.
No, I didn't want another steak...I'd already eaten 2/3 of this one. And I had a monster baked potato. I might go for a dessert, but eh...check with me later.
The manager came by again. Offered to comp a dessert. The headache I'd had when we walked into Kohl's had suddenly reappeared (I was really hoping food would fix it), and I didn't want one. We settled on ordering oreo sundaes for the kids.
We got oreo milkshakes.
The manager stopped by again, and Hubby asked if everything was okay with our waitress. Her service otherwise had been wonderful. The manager looked surprised, and said that our waitress was usually spot-on and near-perfect...but she'd had a very irate customer earlier, who had even managed to tick off the manager herself. And, the manager said, while that should not have affected our service or our orders, it's possible that the waitress was still a little internally flustered over the earlier events.
I totally understood that one.
The manager was very kind, and comped all three of the kids' milkshakes, and took care of us herself until we left. When she departed to handle our bill, I looked at Hubby. "I want to make sure..." I said.
"Oh, I know," he agreed. I love it when he and I think on the same wavelength like that. I wanted the waitress to have a good tip. He left her a tip of well over twenty percent, and a note on a spare napkin, wishing her a merry Christmas and a better evening.
Now, I told you all that, so you'd kind of understand my general mindset as we got in the van to head for home.
Headache going into Kohl's.
Cranky, hungry children going into the restaurant...tired, sorta cranky children coming out of the restaurant.
Headache that food didn't fix.
Not getting to eat all of my yummy steak.
Me being tired myself.
Naturally, this is when your children start asking difficult questions.
And Medium Fry is too smart for my own good.
She led the Inquisition tonight.
First, she asked why the song on the radio—a Christmas song—mentioned her sister's name. And since Small Fry and I share the same first name, there's now a general wondering about why our name is popping up in songs.
This led to a discussion about the Fries' names. "Why did you an' Mommy pick dem?" she asked Hubby.
"We didn't," Hubby explained. "Daddy S and Mommy XSIL did. That's why Small's first name and Mommy's first name are the same."
And since we've now parsed out what Mommy's and Small's first name means, well...the obvious question. Define Large and Medium's names, please.
Innocuous little conversation, all in all.
Up to this point, anyway.
Since it was Medium, I was half hoping that the conversation wouldn't veer into uncomfortable territory. And since it was Medium, I knew I was hoping in vain.
"Why doesn't Daddy S like us to call him Daddy S?"
Hubby and I both heaved huge, silent sighs.
We have lots of speculation on that one. And I am so glad she asked Hubby that, not me. I was trying to figure out how to charitably respond that one, just in case, when Hubby answered.
"I think I know why Daddy S gets upset about that," Hubby said carefully. "But I'm not sure. So I'm going to say I just don't know."
"I just don't think Daddy S likes that you call me Daddy." Hubby glanced into the rearview mirror to look at Medium.
"Doesn't Daddy S like us?"
I am changing Medium's moniker on here to the Inquisitor, I think.
"Yes, he likes you," Hubby reassured her.
"Daddy S not liking what you call Daddy has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with him," I said. And then I nearly bit my tongue to stop myself from saying more.
"It's so crazy! We have two daddies and three mommies!" Medium nearly wailed the words.
I nearly swallowed my tongue, but managed to say, "You have lots of people who love you, then."
"We have Daddy, an' Daddy S, an' Mommy, and Mommy XSIL, an' ...who else?"
"That's five people who love you a lot!" Hubby exclaimed.
"But who loves you the most?" I asked, desperate to not be relegated to the backseat of my children's hearts.
"Daddy an' Mommy."
Hubby reached over and wordlessly eased three of his fingers into my clenched fist. I squeezed for all I was worth, burying my rioting emotions in that as much as I could. "That's right. Nobody loves you more than Daddy and I do."
Ham. "Yes, Jesus loves you more than Daddy and I do, but he's the only one."
There was relatively blessed silence for the remaining two minutes of the drive home. We got inside and Hubby studied my face as I collapsed on the couch in the den. The Fries had gone upstairs to get ready for bed. "You okay?"
"No." I never am after these conversations. I don't want to be smart. I don't want to be kind. I don't want to be charitable. I want to eradicate the memories of their biological parents, who do not deserve the smattering of loyalty their children give to them. I want to selfishly hoard them all to myself, to our little family. And teaching them to love, and love generously, sometimes makes me want to throw a tantrum that a two-year-old would envy.
"They know," Hubby said quietly. "Mommy and Daddy. They know."
Knowing that is probably going to be the only thing that will let me sleep peacefully tonight.