Saturday, June 16. Training begins. With my upcoming nuptials with Kenrick I’ll actually be a stepmother by year’s end. I suppose I never really thought about that possibility before Kenrick. I was still of the age and mindset that I was still young
enough to again find love with someone with no children and for that someone to not need for me to have children. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans…
In the early morning Saturday I was awakened when I could no longer breathe using my CPAP machine. I was completely congested. I removed the mask along with my CPAP chin strap and sleep mask (just giving you the visual). I didn’t see the need to also take out my ear plugs. I ached as I sat up and realized that I had a cold. I was no hypochondriac, not this time, it seemed as though only in a matter of hours my stress and anxiety surrounding my upcoming trip to New Jersey had manifested into a cold. I laid there in the dark having previously realized that this would be my first known airplane flight without my parents. It may sound strange but we’re a tight knit group and have travelled frequently for years together. Therefore it’s always strange when it’s not group travel.
By the time we were heading to the airport my nerves began to calm. Sasha played in the backseat with “Kenkick Davidson” and Jordan played as usual on his DSi (as I didn’t permit him to use my iPad due to my trip – I wanted to read on the plane and not worry about battery power). I chatted with my brother whom I’ve grown much closer to in adulthood. It took me turning 30 to truly enjoy and appreciate spending the time that I do with my family. We’re a happy bunch. “Mochahotnes” (me), “Kenkick” (Kenrick), “Tubby Butt” (dad), “Kiazami” (Anthony), “Shonuff” (Elise), “JJ” (Jordan) and Sasha (she’s too awesome for a nickname). There’s also “Clickaty Clack” (mom) but she’s usually working.
While we waited for the 2:50pm flight my cold began to flair up. I was unable to just shove a piece of tissue up my nose as I usually do. It’s not at all uncommon for me to walk around the house or even my office with paper up my nose when I have a cold. Odd, I know. Spirit Airlines has really great prices but be ready to pay for everything else. I’m surprised they don’t charge to use the bathroom or use toilet tissue. However, all in all it was a good flight. Having paid $20 to secure seats together K and I cozied up in row 23 (my favorite number). We purchased one of their “value deals” which included a bottled water, soda and a Cup of Noodles. It was $5. I was grateful that my runny nose was calm throughout the majority of the flight as me blowing my nose can sound quite loud and off-putting. Once the auto pilot was deactivated it really felt as though the pilot wasn’t extremely skilled. More than once my heart was in my stomach. All that was forgotten once we had to wait for our rental car. Even with an upgrade (they had no compact cars on the lot and had to give us a 2012 Toyota Corolla S with NeverLost GPS), the wait was a long one. It was a nice quaint airport, Atlantic City (ACY). I rarely fly to other airports besides Atlanta, Florida and Jamaica.
We drove the hour long drive from the airport to his ex-wife’s house. To talk about it, the trip itself would seem very odd to people. Christine wanted for us both to stay with the girls for a week and is even leaving her house in order for us to do so. While I was initially under the impression that K and I would be in the guest bedroom, it’s now a playroom/office and so I was told at the last minute that K and I would be sleeping in his ex-wife’s bed. I’m really not a surprised or uncomfortable with it as one would think.
Upon our arrival to the house the kids came storming out to run into the arms of their father. At that moment I was invisible to them but was graciously greeted and embraced by Christine. This was the first time I have ever met her in person. From that moment on I felt nothing but comfortable. The girls did eventually greet me once they had gotten sufficient hugs from their dad . They then promptly dragged him into the house and after some brief polite chatter and giving us hand drawn pictures for K and I, they went upstairs. Christine and I sat in the living room across from each other and talked for quite some time. No time was wasted onthe pleasantries of the weather or other conversation fillers. Part of the discussion involved us talking about K’s habits and how the girls are very much like him. Indeed, his girls are both very much like him in very different ways. Nurture versus nature. Nature wins a lot of the times.
Christine, a gracious host, ordered and picked up Chinese food and we all sat down for dinner. The ex-wife, the fiance, the father and their kids. It was great that we were all comfortable with each other. It was in those moments that I appreciated having previously met and developed a rapport with Anna and Margaret. We all shared food together and later had a cake that Anna made for Kenrick (for Father’s Day) for dessert. Shortly there after I was helping Christine fix her wireless network and then she was gone.
Still feeling under the weather I soon made my way up to the bedroom as K and the girls remained downstairs watching television. The house is quite cozy. Earlier I stood inside behind the front door looking out through the outer door’s mesh and watched as a father and his son played catch in the parking lot. It was like a Norman Rockwell moment. The air was crisp and comfortable, the townhouse complex inviting, all the appearance of Normal Town, USA. I never expected to feel this way in New Jersey. Euphoria. As I learned from my mother many years ago, the first thing I did was to get situated. I walked into Christine’s room and tentatively looked around. K and I would be sleeping in her bed! Odd. Despite my cold I took some time settling in and before I knew it the bed of one was filled with three more people. K wanted for us to all stay together. My only request was that I not sleep beside the girls (they still sleep badly). It was a tight fit but all four of us slept (not quite soundly) on the king-sized bed. As I drifted off to sleep I only hoped that my cold would begin to subside and I could be more involved with the girls in the morning.
K wanted to go to church with the girls for Father’s Day. He made us breakfast as I laid in bed with the girls watching a movie. After eating they went to church as I stayed at the house still recovering. Upon their return it was off to lunch at a place of the girls’ choosing followed by a walk to a nearby bakery for dessert and then came back to the house. Since then it’s been movies and more movies. In the past day I’ve watched “Sherlock Holmes 2” (last night and fell asleep partway through), “Journey 2” and “The Muppets” (this morning), “I Don’t Know How She Does It” (while they were at church and I actually played it twice so I could have white noise during the second showing while doing stuff on the computer and working on setting up Christine’s printer (she has the exact same model as I do). I also secured her wireless network and ran Windows updates on the girls’ computer. I offered to do so since I like doing that stuff and it needed to be done. Christine politely accepted. Oh, more movies. We watched “Journey 2” again after lunch then “Mirror Mirror,” “Cars 2” and now “Kung Fu Panda 2”. In between we ate dinner (leftovers from our $70 lunch), had some of the cake made by Margaret for Kenrick’s Father’s Day gift. During that time Margaret decided that my nickname (I shared most of my family’s with her) would be “Boody Cheek.” I’m fine with that. She’s five
going on twelve and I’m sure she’ll forget it at some point.
K said that we weren’t going to repeat last night’s sleeping arrangements so shortly after Margaret fell asleep curled up next to me with her constant companion, Rosie, he lifted her and put her in her bed. “Man, she’s heavy,” he remarked. Now here I sit with Anna (the oldest who’ll be 9 this year) and Kenrick. It has been wonderful watching Kenrick breathe in his girls. He does so literally and figuratively. Besides, he hadn’t seen them in over a year. And despite talking to them almost everyday I can only imagine the pain he feels in being so far away from them. I’ve sternly said that I’m not moving to New Jersey. He understands and accepts that.
Anna leaned over a few moments ago and asked if I was writing a novel. I suppose some may think so. Well, the weather has been perfect and besides the girls having their attention grabbing tantrum moments, things are going very well. I’ve been allowed to be a parent/family figure for them. Their mom told them upon leaving to listen to both K and I. From scolding the girls to playing with them to finding Margaret’s favorite stuffed animal, Rosie, so she could sleep, things have been fairly pleasant. Let’s see what tomorrow has in store. It’s mine and K’s 2nd dating anniversary!