As the kids were getting ready for school, I heard Gavin screaming, “No no no no nooooooo!” from the bathroom and rushed to the door to see what was wrong. “MOM!” he yelled, “Someone pranked the shower head, and my hair is bright pink or purple or…. MOM! What do I do?” I said, “Honey, open the door and let me see,” to which Gavin immediately replied, “Mom, I’m not a little boy any more. No way!” “OK, Gavin,” I said, “Try getting back in the shower and shampoo it again to see if it comes out.”
Luckily, another shampoo was all it took. Gavin’s hair went back to its original reddish brown, and he was able to get to the school bus on time.
With five teenagers in the house, hormones run wild, and mood swings are common. Unfortunately, not only did that mean an increase in the number of pranks being pulled, but placing blame on the right person was nearly impossible. Gavin will never know who rigged the shower or whether he was the intended target. Neither will I.
I have a sneaking suspicion it may have been his twin Gabrielle, however. She was late for the bus once again, causing her to have to ride her broom to school. Was it because she wanted to see her prank play out on Gavin? Possibly. Then again, maybe Gabby just prefers her broom over the bus. It certainly looks like a lot more fun, especially now that the training wheels are off. I always watch her in awe from the window.
While the older kids were at school, I took care of Hannah and Hunter. I’d already taught them all the skills they needed to start elementary school. Tonight, we’ll be having a birthday celebration for them. So, today was our last day to play together while they were still toddlers. Hunter was having fun mastering the peg box. He had figured out all by himself that the round peg didn’t fit in the square hole. Atta-boy, Hunter.
Meanwhile, Hannah preferred to make beautiful music on the xylophone. She even sang along with the notes as she played.
It was a tough call which Hannah preferred more, however — playing music or chewing on the percussion stick.
When the kids come home from school, homework takes precedence over entertainment. Gabrielle was done her homework fast … surprisingly fast. I think my little witch found a way to use her powers because she was done before the other kids even had a chance to settle into their seats.
I had told the kids that we’d have the birthday party for Hannah and Hunter as soon as they were done with their homework. Maybe that’s why Gabby was in such a rush. Since Hannah was born first, she had the first birthday cake. With my help, she blew out the candles.
As a child, Hannah became a Genius, in addition to being a Brave Loner. It’s still a mystery as to whether Hannah is a genie or not.
The next birthday cake was for Hunter. Once again, the whole family welcomed Hunter’s new life stage with cheers and noisemakers.
As a child, Hunter became Mean-Spirited, in addition to being Brave and Athletic. The jury’s still out as to whether Hunter is a genie as well, although since he has my skin tone, I think he’s human like me.
It was late, and everyone was tired, so we all had a slice of birthday cake and went to bed. The next morning, I saw that Gabrielle had slept in her outerwear. None of my other kids have done this, so I can only assume that it’s a symptom of her insanity.
After school that day, Gabrielle changed into her swimwear and started having a heated argument with herself in the middle of the living room. There was no calming her down.
Evan and Emma didn’t know what to make of it and kept their distance. It was easier to ignore what Gabby was doing than try to intervene, so that’s what they did. Gavin had seen his twin behave this way before and just walked on by. Eventually, Gabby stopped talking and appeared to be back to herself again.
A few minutes later, Evan’s cell phone rang, and as he listened and responded, I could see his eyes grow wider and his cheeks flushed beet red. I asked him, “Evan, who was that on the phone?”
Looking a little embarrassed, Evan said, “It was a girl from school, and she asked me out on a date. I’m meeting her at the park in an hour.”
I, of course, needed more details than that. “Oh, how exciting — your first date,” I responded. “Who’s the lucky girl?” “Emelie Van Gould,” said Evan.
“See? I told you the girls would think you were a cutie,” Emma said, joining the conversation. “After all, you look a lot like me!”
After some quick primping in the mirror, Evan called a cab and left for the park to meet Emelie. For me, time stood still while my sweet boy was out on his date. It seemed like forever but was merely a few hours later when Evan walked through the front door. I tried my best to be nonchalant about it, but I was dying to hear every last detail.
“Sooooooo, how was it?” I asked. “Good,” replied Evan with a cheshire cat smile.
“I can see you’re happy, and I’m thrilled for you. Evan, humor me. I’m your Mom, and I need more information than that. I’ll make a deal with you. If you give me a few details about your date, I’ll teach you how to drive within the next couple of weeks.”
“Mom, seriously? You’re bribing me?” said Evan, with a knowing smile. “OK. Deal. I’ll tell you a FEW details.”
As Evan recounted his date with Emelie, I tried to picture it in my mind’s eye.
“… and then I kissed her. She has the softest lips,” Evan said as he absent-mindedly traced his finger along his bottom lip and looked lost in thought.
“You really like this girl, don’t you?” I asked.
“I do, Mom. I asked her to be my girlfriend.”
“And she said, ‘Yes,’ didn’t she, Evan?”
“She sure did, Mom. I’m the luckiest guy on the planet.”
“Evan, you’ve got that backwards. Emelie is the luckiest girl on the planet having you for a boyfriend. I’m proud of you, son.”
I gave Evan a hug and thanked him for sharing his special night with me. We’d lost track of time and didn’t realize how late it had gotten, so we said goodnight and went to bed.
Over the next few days, I began to see another side to Hunter. He frequently picked fights with his siblings, especially Hannah. Faith seemed to enjoy watching Hunter hurt someone’s feelings.
Evan had only been seeing Emelie for a few days when he received a call from Zoe Durwood, asking him out on a date. He politely declined, saying he had a girlfriend. I was happy to see my son was acting like a gentleman and keeping his teenage hormones in check.
My own hormones were running a little hot, and I decided to take a take a dip in the cool ocean water at La Shove Beach. With no toddlers at home to tend to, I knew my teenagers could handle things for the evening. As I slowly waded into the water, I realized it was a lot cooler at the beach than I had expected. Fall was just around the corner.
I never had a chance to swim because the water was just too cold. So, I started heading back towards my car when a man caught my eye. I went over and introduced myself and learned that his name was Jerrik Traynor, and he worked in professional sports.
Jerrik was on his way to the men’s room and asked if I’d wait so we could continue our conversation. I said, “Sure. I’ll meet you back at the top of the steps.” I put my jeans and blouse on over my swimsuit while waiting.
Down on the beach, I could see another man making his way towards the stairs, and he stopped to chat as well. His name was Lucas Cardenas, and we talked while I waited for Jerrik to return.
The wind started picking up, and after taking a dip in the ocean, I was chilled to the bone. I bid them both, “Goodnight,” and rushed home to get out of my wet clothes and warm up.
Summer was definitely over, and fall had made its presence known. The foliage around town was breathtaking. Our backyard was filled with deep red and orange leaves that had fallen from our maple tree. Evan, Emma and Gavin made quick work of raking the leaves into several large piles. At one time or another, all the kids went out to play in the leaf piles. I had to admit, it looked like a blast.
Of course, Gabrielle insisted on playing in her formal wear.
That evening, as I had promised, I taught Evan how to drive. It was the least I could do after he had been so forthcoming about his date with Emelie. It took a while, but Evan finally got the hang of it and was able to drive us both home.
When we got home, I saw that Faith was up to her usual tricks, this time sneaking up behind Emma and scaring her.
Poor Emma clutched her heart as she shrieked, then went straight to the safety of her own room and went to bed.
For a while now, Jerrik had been calling me and asking me out. As an athlete, Jerrik worked odd hours, depending on when a game was scheduled. Because of that, we could never seem to make date nights work, but we always found time to talk on the phone. Tonight, I asked him if he wanted to come over after work. He was getting off at 9:00, and by the time he got showered, changed and drove here, the kids would be in bed and we could have some privacy.
When Jerrik came inside the house, he immediately put his arms around me and said, “Jill, I’m so glad you invited me over. With my crazy schedule, I didn’t think we’d ever get together. Your kitchen may not be the romantic place in the world, but it works for me.”
“I’ve been wanting to do this for the longest time,” Jerrik said as he pulled me in and planted a sweet kiss on my lips.
“Mm-mm. Me too,” I said as my pulse quickened. He pulled me tight against his chest and kissed me more passionately. I whispered in his ear, “Do you want to spend the night?” Jerrik’s response was, “I’d love to. Are you sure?” I nodded my head, took his hand and led him into my bedroom, where our privacy would be ensured.
Once I had closed my bedroom door, Jerrik removed his sweater, revealing very muscular arms and a strong chest. I liked what I saw and smiled a coy smile. Beneath his trousers Jerrik wore blue and gray striped boxers.
I started to unbutton my blouse, but Jerrik said softly, “Please … allow me.” He looked deeply into my eyes as he slowly unbuttoned my conservative cotton blouse, not looking down until he had it completely off, revealing the sexy teddy I had picked out especially for tonight. Jerrik’s eyes widened, but he didn’t say a word as he undid my belt and unzipped my jeans, pushing them gently over my hips and letting them slide to the floor. I stepped out of my jeans and tossed them to the side. Jerrik stepped back and, with desire in his eyes, looked me over from head to toe, saying, “My God, Jill. You’re so beautiful.”
Jerrik took my hand and walked me over to the side of the bed. Then he stretched out and motioned for me to lie on top of him. As we gazed into each other’s eyes, I thought of what beautiful children we could make together.
Then Jerrik pulled me into an embrace as his strong arms gently caressed my back. Our kisses became more fervent and eventually our desire for each other led us under the sheets, where our passions were ignited and our needs fulfilled, including my need to conceive a child.
After our late night, Jerrik and I were still asleep while the kids got ready for school in the morning. When we finally awoke from our slumber, we both ate a hearty breakfast of birthday cake. Well, it was ready to eat, and we were famished. Even after eating, though, our appetites weren’t quite satisfied. We were still hungry, but not for food. Jerrik wrapped his arms around me and kissed me ever so softly. I pulled him in closer, and he took my cue to deepen his kisses.
It was then that I remembered the huge piles of leaves in the backyard and got a wonderful, naughty idea. I whispered it to Jerrik, who grinned and said, “Lead the way.” Out into the backyard we walked, towards the largest leaf pile. I crouched down a bit and looked to see if any of the neighbors were around. Seeing that they weren’t, I snuck into the leaf pile, away from view.
Then Jerrik climbed in as well.
We giggled like a couple of teenagers as we went at it, leaves flying everywhere.
When we were finished, I poked my head out and saw that the coast was clear. So, I made a hasty exit.
Jerrik followed right behind me, with a mischievous grin on his face. This was a first for us both. Once we had gotten out and brushed away any errant leaves, we smiled at each other and agreed that we’d had a great time. It wasn’t as comfortable as my bed, mind you, but still lots of fun.
By now, Jerrik had to get going because he had a game tonight. Besides, the kids would be home from school soon. Jerrik gave me a hug and a kiss goodbye and said he’d call me later.
That evening, we had three birthdays to celebrate — Evan, Emma and Faith. Faith had done so well in school that she was able to graduate a year ahead of schedule, with the same class as Emma and Evan. First to blow out her candles was Emma.
As a young adult, Emma became Nurturing, in addition to her traits of Hydrophobic, Loves the Outdoors, Lucky and Good Sense of Humor. Emma wants to be a Master Magician.
Next up was Evan, who had invited his girlfriend Emelie Van Gould to the party. Emelie will be celebrating her birthday soon, too. Evan looked over at Emelie as he blew out his candles, making it look like his wish pertained to her in some way.
As a young adult, Evan became a Savvy Sculptor, in addition to his traits of Hydrophobic, Friendly, Kleptomaniac and Virtuoso. Evan wants to be a Hit Movie Composer.
Finally, it was Faith’s turn to blow out the candles. I don’t know what she wished for, but I doubt that it was good.
As a young adult, Faith added Handy to her traits of Slob, Evil, Animal Lover and Ambitious. To my dismay, Faith wants to be the Emperor of Evil.
Soon Evan, Emma and Faith will be moving out on their own, with Gabrielle and Gavin not far behind them. And, so the cycle continues. With every child I raise and send out into the world, another comes along to fill the empty bed.