With a houseful of kiddos, I don’t often get to spend quality one-on-one time with them. The little ones, in particular, don’t get out of the house as often as I’d like. So, today, I’m taking Megan out to Bright Beginnings Day Care. The multicolor building hints at the fun beyond its doors. I’ve heard such great things about this place, and I can’t wait to check it out.
As Megan and I are making our way to the entrance, I hear someone call out, “Jill, darlin’….” I turn around and see my southern gentleman walking towards us. Charles looks rather … sporty … which seems so out of character for him.
In his sportswear, with his adorable freckles and bright eyes, Charles looks so much younger to me. “Charles, isn’t this a nice surprise! What are you doing here?”
“I’m on my way to the gym to meet some friends and play basketball. But when I saw you and Megan, I had to stop and say hello.”
“You are looking as gorgeous as ever, sugar. And our daughter is too beautiful for words. Hello, Miss Megan,” he says with a big smile as he tickles her belly. “Alas, I really do need to run. You know how I loathe tardiness. Thank you for brightening my day, ladies. Bye now.”
“Bye, Charles. See you soon. Say bye-bye to Daddy, Megan.” Megan waved her tiny little hand while she beamed at her Daddy. “Da-da!”
Megan and I make our way inside, and I can see this is a place all the kids will love. Megan’s eyes are wide as saucers as we enter the toddler room with all its toys and bright colors. Since she can’t walk on her own yet, I put Megan in a walker so she can roam around the room and safely check things out.
After a little while, I move Megan from the walker to the playpen so she can rest her little legs. She’s having fun playing with the rows of blocks. When it’s time to go home, I lift Megan out of the playpen. She looks like she’s about ready for a nap because she puts up no resistance. Before leaving, I check out the rest of the first floor and notice there are cribs, potties, changing tables and basically anything a toddler could possibly need while away from home.
Today we have five birthdays to celebrate, and that’s a lot, even in the Thomas family. Kevin invites Abrielle, the girl he’s been dating. Knowing how hectic it gets once the birthday festivities start, Kevin asks Abrielle to come over a little earlier so they can spend some time together.
As I walk by the living room, I spot them kissing in the corner where they think no one can see them. I let out a quiet sigh and just shake my head. Teenage boys. “Spend some time together” is just code for make out. I’m onto you, Kevin.
Time to get the birthday celebrations underway, and we start with Logan and Lucas. Logan was the first twin out of the womb, so he gets to blow out the candles first.
Logan is now a Cat Person, in addition to being a Friendly, though Grumpy, Genius. He also bears a striking resemblance to his father Jameson.
Lucas takes a little too long making a wish and the candles start to melt onto the frosting. Assuming he lost his train of thought, which happens every now and then, I remind him, “Lucas, make a wish!” His eyes light up and he blows out the candles.
Lucas is now Nurturing, which will definitely come in handy with his younger siblings. He is also Brave, Absent-Minded and has a Good Sense of Humor.
Although Kevin is the oldest of the triplets, he decides we should go in reverse order this time and give his sisters a chance to go first. Kylie, who is usually last, steps up to her birthday cake and blows out the candles.
Kylie is now a Savvy Sculptor, in addition to being an Easily Impressed, Disciplined, Grumpy Loser. Kylie wants to attain Physical Perfection by excelling in martial arts and athletics. Of the triplets, she’s the only one with my hair color.
Up next is Kendra, who blows out her candles and cheers along with the group.
Kendra is now a Workaholic, in addition to being a Good, though Inappropriate, Couch Potato who Loves the Outdoors. She wants to be a World-Renowned Surgeon.
Finally, Kevin makes a wish and blows out his candles. All the while, Ethan Tanner is blowing his party horn as loud as he can in Kevin’s ear. Who invited Ethan anyway? I didn’t.
Kevin is now a Kleptomaniac, in addition to being a Good, Athletic, Insane, Supernatural Fan. He wants to Become an Astronaut and discover whether there really are any aliens and other supernatural beings in outer space. Kevin reminds me so much of Garret now that he’s a young adult.
After everyone grabs a slice of cake and the dining room clears out, Ethan starts yelling at Kevin. “I’m gonna kick your ass, Thomas! Abrielle was MY girlfriend, and you stole her from me!”
I give Kylie and Kendra a look that says to keep Logan and Lucas outside on the patio. I want Kevin and Ethan to resolve this on their own, but I stay within earshot to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.
Kevin says, “Dude, seriously? You’re gonna pick a fight with me in my own house? You’ve got a lot of nerve. Listen, man, when I met Abrielle, she was already thinking of breaking up with you.”
Ethan cries out, “I want her back!”
“Too late, dude. You should’ve treated her better. Then maybe she would’ve stuck around. She’s with me now, and she’s happy. So, back off.”
Abrielle came around the corner and interrupted the argument before it went any further. “Ethan, I told you it’s over. Get it through your head. Everything Kevin said is true. I don’t want to see you anymore.”
Ethan looks defeated and skulks out of the house. I breathe a sigh of relief that the fight didn’t become physical. If it had been Jayden, fists would’ve flown. As I pass by the dining room on my way to the stairs, I see Kevin hugging Abrielle and rubbing her back to calm her. My boy is smitten; I can tell. Like his father, Kevin’s a lover, not a fighter.
I head upstairs to check on Megan and Molly. They’re happily playing with their blocks and blissfully unaware of the turmoil that was brewing downstairs. Seeing my babies makes me think of Charles, and I know the time has come for me to break up with him.
After the little kids are tucked in their beds for the night, I call Charles and ask if it’d be OK if I come over.
“Sure, darlin’. You know you’re welcome anytime, and you haven’t even seen our new place on the water yet.”
When I arrive, Charles comes out to greet me in his robe. “Hi, Charles. Sorry it’s so late.”
“Jill, darlin’. Do come in.”
As soon as the front door closes, I say hello to Vaughn. He replies, “Hello, Jill. Goodnight, Charles,” with a wink. He heads into what I assume is his bedroom.
“Mmm … I’ve missed you, sugar. You feel like heaven in my arms,” Charles says as he wraps me in a warm embrace.
Charles slides his hands down my arms and says, “Dance with me, sugar.” Soft music pumps through his stereo speakers.
“Really, Charles? Right here in your foyer?”
Charles chuckles softly. “Sugar, use your imagination. Instead of this robe, picture me in a dapper tuxedo, with you in an elegant ball gown, as we glide around the dance floor of a posh hotel.”
“OK, that does sound delightful. But just for a few minutes. I came over because I need to talk with you.”
Not surprisingly, Charles is an excellent dancer, and I find it easy to follow his lead. When I compliment his dancing, Charles simply says, “Sugar, no self-respecting southern gentleman would bumble around on the dance floor and take the chance of stepping on a lady’s delicate feet. Dance lessons are de rigueur in polite society.”
“Of course. I should’ve known better,” I say with a smirk. When the dance ends, Charles brushes his lips over my knuckles, thanking me.
I brace myself as I begin the awkward conversation with Charles and hope that his impeccable manners will allow him to keep his cool. When I’ve said my piece, Charles looks at me with such disappointment in his face that it’s almost more than I can bear.
“Jill, the twins are still toddlers! I thought we’d have more time than this. I don’t want to lose you, darlin’. Have I not been good to you? Is there someone else?”
“Charles, I’m so sorry. You knew our time would be limited. You’ve been absolutely wonderful to me! No, there’s no one else. Though you know in time there will be. I have no choice. Please … be reasonable.”
Charles paces around the living room while I quietly wait, and he seems to come to some decision.
“I care for you a great deal. My jealousy has gotten the best of me, and my manners are abhorrent. Please, sugar, have a seat and let’s discuss this as adults.”
We sat on the loveseat, and Charles put his arm around my shoulders. We talk for hours and come to the conclusion that we can still be friends, especially for the children’s sakes. It was getting late, and I told Charles that I should get going.
Before I can move off the loveseat, Charles kneels on the floor between my legs and tugs me closer to him.
“Charles, what are you…?”
“Sugar, before you leave, I want to hold you for a moment so I can remember you just like this.” Charles leans forward and wraps his arms around my back, laying his head on my chest and holding me tightly. I rub his back, and after a moment or two, he raises his head.
He leans forward and gently cups my face. I lean into his hand and kiss his palm. “How could I ever forget you, Charles? My sweet, southern gentleman. You called me sugar.“
“And you’ll always have a piece of my heart, sugar.”
The next day, the triplets can see that I’m a little sad and, so, they help out with their littlest siblings. Kevin and Kylie try to teach Megan and Molly the basics of English, or as Kevin likes to call it, “how to get what you want without pointing at it.”
Once Molly has learned enough talking to get by, Kylie shows her how to get from Point A to Point B using those tiny little feet. Molly’s a little wobbly at first, but she eventually gets the hang of it.
Kendra, my inappropriate couch potato, spends her time sitting on the couch browsing the Web, no doubt searching for the next unsuspecting victim of her forum posts.
While the boys are doing their homework, I spend some time catching up on what’s been going on with Kylie. Logan’s been in a mood all day, and I can hear him grumbling from here.
“Luke, I’m sick of doing homework. Let’s go pull some pranks instead.”
“Logan, what’s your deal, man? You’ve been a royal pain all day.”
“I don’t know, but I’ve gotta do something.” Logan lowers his voice to a whisper. “I picked up some hair dye at the pharmacy. You should see the color,” he snickers.
“Are you out of your mind, man? Mom is gonna freak!”
“So what? We’re teenagers. We should be able to do what we want.”
“You actually believe that? Man, you are so screwed.”
That night, Kendra sat down on the living room rug to read a story to Molly. It’s her favorite book, the one she reaches for again and again, and she is one happy little girl.
Meanwhile, Kevin’s on the other side of the room teaching Megan to walk. She’s really getting the hang of it, and Kevin looks so proud of her.
I was invited to a party at a friend’s house and went to my master bathroom to get ready. The door was shut, so I knocked and asked who was in there. Kevin said, “It’s just me, Mom.”
“Kevin, I need to get showered and dressed for a party. Are you almost done in there?”
“Oh, yeah, sure, Mom.” He opened the door and came out.
“Kevin, why were you using my bathroom when you have your own upstairs?”
“Oh, I was just hanging out, sitting on the tub, Mom.”
“On the tub?”
“Mm-hmm. Have fun at your party, Mom. I’m not going anywhere, so even if the girls go out, I’ll be around for the kiddos.”
“Um, OK, Kevin. Thanks.” Well, I guess my handsome boy hasn’t outgrown his quirks like I’d hoped.
I get dressed and head over to Christopher Daley-Palakiko‘s house. He had come to my pool party, although I didn’t get a chance to talk to him much since he danced the whole time. Christopher greets me at the door and ushers me inside.
“Am I the first one here?”
“Mm-hmm. Make yourself at home. You wouldn’t happen to shoot pool, would you?”
“That sounds like fun. I’m a rookie, but I’ll give it my best shot.”
“Woot! Did you see that shot?”
“Pretty impressive. I thought you said you were a beginner.”
“I am. Maybe luck’s on my side tonight.” Then my next shot was a miss. So much for that lucky streak.
Christopher takes the next shot while I watch and learn. When our game is nearly over, I ask Christopher, “When are the other guests arriving?”
Christopher smirks and comes around to my side of the table. “Ah, I see I’ve been caught. You were my only invited guest, Jill.”
“Oh. Well, I’m flattered. I just got out of a relationship, though, and I’m not looking for anything serious right now.”
“That’s … unfortunate. But I understand. Timing is everything.”
“I’d still like to be friends with you.”
“That sounds like as good a starting place as any.”
“Hey, a man can dream,” he smirks.
“I have to get going. My triplets are graduating from high school tomorrow.”
Christopher leans in to give me a gentle hug. “I’ll walk you out.”
The next morning, I’m up early and decide to throw in a load of laundry. Fifteen minutes later, I hear a banging sound from the laundry room and go in to investigate. The washing machine is rocking back and forth, and suds are overflowing. Man, what a mess. Luckily, I’ve become quite handy over the years and have actually fixed a washing machine before. I pull out my trusty wrench and get to work. It’s graduation day, and there’s no time to waste.
I pack up the kids and head to City Hall to watch my triplets graduate from high school. They all received highest honors. That was a proud moment.
Kevin is class valedictorian and is voted Most Likely to Get Arrested. To say I have mixed feelings would be an understatement.
Kendra is voted Most Likely to Offend Others. Another lovely superlative. That’s my girl. Ugh.
Kylie is voted Most Likely to Motive Fail. I have no words.
As if all of that wasn’t enough fun, I spot Logan sporting cobalt blue hair! “Logan Thomas, come here this instant.” Logan walks over to me with a face that says he knows he’s in trouble. “What on earth were you thinking? BLUE hair? On graduation day?”
“Mom, I think it looks cool. It’s just hair. It’s no big deal.”
“Logan Thomas, I’ll tell you what IS and IS NOT a big deal. I did not expect this from you.”
Logan mumbled, “It’s just a rinse, Mom. It’ll wash out in the shower.”
“Well, thank goodness. Logan, I love your natural hair color. You look so much like your father. He’s a wonderful man, and he loves you and your brother very much. You should be proud to resemble him so much. Lucas does, too, but he has my blonde hair so it’s not as obvious.”
“OK, Mom. I get it. I’ll wash it out when I get home.”
True to his word, Logan went upstairs as soon as we got home and showered the color rinse out of his hair.
Within a few minutes, he’s back to his old self again.
The next morning, Lucas and Logan help get their little sisters dressed and fed. Lucas scoops up Megan.
While Logan stands nearby, Lucas tells Megan all about Logan’s adventures with blue hair.
Megan tried her best to keep up her half of the conversation, but she was a little confused. “Wogan hair not boo.”
“Nope. Not anymore. Mommy made him change it back.”
Holding Molly, Logan looks over at his brother and says, “Thanks a lot, Luke. How nice of you to throw me under the bus.”
Molly started crying, “Wukie, no frow Wogan under da bus. Wogan gonna get a boo-boo!”
“Now see what you’ve done? I got in enough trouble already. I don’t need any help from you.”
Luke just laughs and says, “Don’t worry, Molly. Lukie was just joking.”
Author’s Note: Title inspired by Pink’s “Glitter in the Air” — soundtrack with lyrics hyperlinked to “You called me sugar” in Jill’s farewell to Charles. (Copyright 2010 Pink.)