The 4 year old kidnapper

The guests were starting to leave the party. My aunt stood at the door, hand on the knob, ready to pounce out, waiting for her husband to finish talking to my mom. We were all gathered in the foyer. Then two pirates came twisting through the crowd. The bigger, the eldest by three months, held the wrist of the smaller one, firmly.

Brock: Grandma, can you please move? We have to go outside.

My aunt: You have to wait for your mommy, sweetie.

Brock: I’m taking Evan home with me. He’s coming to my sleep over.

My aunt: (laughing) You’ll have to ask your parents.

Brock: Ok!

Brock turned around and maneuvered around all the adults, towing Evan behind him.

Brock: Mommy! Can Evan come to my sleepover?

T: Not tonight, Brocky.

Brock: Ok. Daddy, can Evan come to my sleepover?

C: (laughing) What did your mom just say? Not tonight.

By this time, the door was open. People began to file out.

Brock: Come on, Evan. You can come to my house for a sleep over.

Evan: No, I want to go to my house.

Brock: But, Evan. There are LOTS of toys at my house.

Evan: I want to go to my house.

Brock: Don’t you want to play with all my toys?

Evan: I’ve got lots of toys at my house.

Brock was now visibly upset, and Evan shook off Brock’s hand.

Me: It’s ok, Brock. We’ll do it another time.

Brock: Ok!

Of course, Evan did try to sneak away in their van.

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Add it to the list

As I herded the boys away from the playground, I had them turn around and say goodbye to a cute, towhead seventeen month boy that they had been playing with.

Evan: Mommy!  I want a baby just like that one!

Me: You want a baby?

Evan: Yes!

Me: We’ll see what we can do about that.

Evan: Actually (yes, he really does say actually), I think Uncle T should have one!

Me: (Because Uncle T is getting married in August and Aunt K would like to wait on kids for a little while, I smile.) Well, we’ll let Uncle T and Aunt K now what you want.

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Goodbyes are hard

As I have mentioned before and will again, two of my cousins had boys the same year that Evan was born, and one of them had another son the same year as Sean. Broc is the oldest by four months; then comes Jacob by four days, and Evan is the youngest. Sean was born four months before Broc’s little brother Brogan. So the family is surrounded by boys, and let’s not forget the eldest by ten years, Bethany. (Can you guess who she’s the oldest sister of?*)
Saturday Broc and Brogan where over at my grandma’s house, which was a quite a treat for my boys, and they did what all boys do. Run around like crazy men, finding every toy and almost toy to play with. To add frosting on the cake, Broc owned a Batman cape and a Spiderman cape. (I know. I know. Spiderman didn’t have a cape. I guess I was the only one in the family to read comic books.) Evan and Broc chased each other in and out and around the house.
When it was time for Broc and Brogan to leave, the boys were beside themselves. “Evan, Evan, Evan, I’ve got to tell you something!” “Wait!” “Broc, Broc, I’ve got to tell you something!” “No, wait! I’ve got to tell Evan something!” “Broc, wait! I’ve got to tell you something!” After ten minutes of stalling, my cousin hauled his son into the minivan.
Broc: (from his car seat as he’s buckled in) Evan! Evan! I’ve got to tell you something.
Evan: (running to Broc) What?!
Broc: Let’s have a sleep over! Come to my house! Want to have a sleep over?!

Evan: SURE!
My cousin pulled Evan out of the minivan and handed him to me. My cousin was desperate to get a handle on the situation.
My cousin: Not today, some other time.
Evan wiggled out of my arms as my cousin climbed in the driver seat and closed the door.
Evan: (looking for a way to see Broc through tinted windows) Broc! Broc! BROC! I got to tell you something! BROC!
My dad picked Evan up and held him so that he could lean into the driver’s window and talk to Broc.
Evan: Broc! We can have a sleep over at my house tomorrow!
Broc: OK!!
Me: Why not? What’s one more boy?
My cousin: A lot. We’ll see you later.
The man pulled out of the driveway fast. Then honked his horn to a tune and drove away.
Evan: Mommy, why’d he do that?
Me: Because your uncle is funny. (or desperate to remain in control, which we know he won’t.)

 

 

*If you guessed Broc and Brogan’s older sister, you’re right! She’s the daughter from my cousins first marriage, which we won’t go into here with out charts.

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When my parents leave

Yesterday was hard on my boys.  The day my parents leave my home is always a tough day.  Usually they leave on Mondays, and my best friend comes over to help the . . . well, I guess. . . grieving process.  They are experiencing a loss no matter if they’ll see their grandparents in three weeks or two months.   My parents just fill the house when they are here.

 

My husband and I live eight hours from our families.  Eight hours in different directions.  Since we live in Southern California, all our friends are scattered throughout three counties.  The nearest friend we have lives fifteen minutes away.  (Imagine that comforting thought when I went into labor with Sean.)  I have not yet managed to make a friend with kids around my kids ages, so it does get a little lonely here.  I’m actually starting to worry about Evan’s social interaction.

 

My husband didn’t grow up with extended family, but I did.  I went to my grandparents’ house every weekend.  I saw most of my cousins at least once a month or so.  I felt surrounded by family, and when we visit, my boys are surrounded by family.  My brother and girlfriend come over to my parents’ house; while, my other brother lives there and is tortuously awoken by Evan pounding on his door at 7am.  It’s actually pretty funny. 

 

When we visit them or better yet, when they visit my house, my parents spend most of their time playing with my boys.  My dad wrestling, sword fighting, tickling, hiding, seeking, and fixing toys, as my mom does the same stuff only she also reads stories and tries to teach Evan to write.  When my parents are at my house, the mornings are spent doing something, even if it is running errands, which I think my dad prefers as he races around stores with the boys in the shopping cart.  Then as if the entertaining of the boys isn’t enough, they help pitch in with my chores, insisting on helping me clean.  Sometimes it gets a little embarrassing with all their help.

 

Yesterday my parents took care of the sheets, the garbage, and the dishwasher before they left.  They played with the boys.  My parents took the last pictures of the boys.  And my mom hugged me tight, whispering to come home soon.  So as they pulled away in their car, my boys and I waved and shouted good bye, turning to find the house quieter and emptier then before.

 

If you had asked me in college if I would go back to Arizona, I would just shrug and said probably not.  But now that I have children I feel pulled towards the desert.  Like the song “Sail Away to America,” something calls me back.  I appreciate the browns and stark greens of the desert because it’s honest, unlike the false green covering the desert that is Southern California.  I miss the heat and the seasons, pre-summer, summer, post-summer, and winter.  Here it seems always the same.  I miss my family, a support that has to be there for me because I’m blood and because they love me and want to help me and my family.  I want to be somewhere where my home isn’t empty when people leave, but just full waiting for more.