Where do I begin?? I shall say I never hang out with married couples, and even less with married couples who have kids. I never did great around children, and these little beings scared the heck out of me… Yes, until recently, I was children-phobiac.
So here we are. Memorial Day weekend. I have no plans. My lovely publisher Lisa Gus at Curiosity Quills invites me to spend the holiday at her home, with her hubby and her four year old son. Yes. I know what you’re thinking. Did I run in the opposite direction? I actually booked a round trip ticket to Washington-Dulles for $120. I have no idea why, but I thought, heck, it’s a three day weekend, what could go wrong? I’ll handle the hubby and the kid. I can handle anything.
My confidence ready to implode my huge ego-fantastic scale, I count the days until departure. Yes, yes, the day finally comes where I’ll have to face my biggest fears. How will I survive?
I just don’t think about it.
And then, two days before leaving, Lisa announces she’s sick with pneumonia. Oh no! One side of me feels terribly disappointed, while the other side thinks it’s maybe a sign I am not to be surrounded by children because I’m just not a children person, and I should spend the rest of my life hanging out with my single childless friends in New York while crying over the Rangers’ loss against the Devils during the playoffs of the Stanley Cup.
But I digress.
While talking with my pen friend Krystal Wade, and mentioning Lisa’s health, Krystal offers me to stay with her so I can still come to Virginia to celebrate Memorial Day. I hesitate. I know Krystal has a hubby and not one, but THREE kids. Oh Lord. I don’t know what to say. I keep telling her I don’t want to impose, but she insists on having me around. The weekend will be busy, she says, as the whole family will celebrate the 12th birthday of Krystal’s kid #1, Ethan. Oh Lord. I think I developed cold sweats as I kept talking with her and tried to persuade her it’d be better if I went to Virginia another time. But no. Krystal is excited. She wants me around.
Alright. I surrendered.
So here I am, packing my bag on Friday morning, ready to take a 45 min flight to Dulles and I have no idea what I got myself into. Babies, toddlers, teenagers… My fears have all been presented to me on a silver platter, and I start to panic. But deep inside, I know I will be fine. Because I know Krystal, and she’s awesome. So her kids must be awesome too.
When I finally arrive at Dulles around 10:30 pm, Krystal picks me up. It’s the first time we meet in person, after months of chatting online. You would think we were both as nervous and as excited to finally see each other. And yes, we actually interacted the same way we did online. We goofed, we exchanged book ideas, we talked business and pleasure – the main topic of conversation being this new guy I’ve been dating for a few weeks. The ride goes smoothly, and we make it home safely.
I don’t see the hubby or the kids. It’s too late. Thank God. Krystal tells me I’m sleeping in Kid #2 room. Abby’s bed is surrounded by flower and ladybug lights. It’s pink, it’s girly, I lie down in polar bear sheets and cover myself with a Pirates of the Caribbean blanket. It’s official, I’m five again.
One of the three cats jumps on the bed and starts purring in my ear, meowing to pet her. I do the best I can with what I know about cats. And it actually works pretty well. If I can score with the kitties, I can score with the kids.
The night passes. I sleep until 10 am, the exact moment where I hear a loud knock on the door and the voices of two little girls. I open my eyes and see the silhouettes of Krystal’s daughters by the bedroom door. I blink, then smile.
“Hey guys!” I say with with my nicest tone of voice.
I hate when adults do weird goo goo ga ga sounds around children, so I keep it simple. I wave and wait for a response.
Kid #3 stares at me like I’m an alien, while Kid #2 smiles back. Ok, I didn’t do so bad. Then Krystal tells me to get ready so we can all go to Krystal’s MIL’s house and pull the weeds off the swimming pool area.
This weekend is all about my domestication.
I meet Kid #1 and I know my torment has just begun. How am I going to deal with a two, a five and a twelve year old at the same time?
I think I silently prayed for a bit.
And then, well, I don’t know what happened. I started goofing around, and Kid #2 fell in love with me at the Post Office. Then Kid #3 got seduced by my awesome baby holding technique while we were at Wawa – but I have to admit, for one second when Krystal asked me to hold Rissa, panic could be read all over my innocent face. Finally, Kid #1 warmed up to me when we talked about cell phones and video games.
Hubby even liked my sense of humor after I let Kids #2 and #3 mess with the living room pillows because I had the genius idea to play elevator and staircase.
So yes, I made a raft out of Popsicle sticks, twigs and blades of grass. I played I Spy. I told poop jokes. I watched Nascar and the Nationals and I fell in love with their pitcher Steven Strasburg. I won one thousand coupons at Dave and Buster’s. I ate a banana wrapped in bacon and I drove Kid #2’s cardboard box made up tchoo-tchoo train from Krystal’s front porch all the way to California! I raced Abby in grocery store aisles. I used a 4,000 Dave and Buster’s coupon Banana as a slide…
And guess what? I loved being surrounded by kids.
Who would have imagined I could be so great with children? If someone had told me I’d be such a great baby sitter, I’d have laughed right in their face.
And now? I couldn’t be such a smartass even if I wanted to.
So my thanks go to Krystal for having faith I’d be awesome around her babies, and to Ethan, Abby and Rissa for putting up with my lack of children skills.
At the end of the stay, their hugs meant more to me than a million dollars in gold.