Friday afternoon I was on the way to soccer practice. Did I tell you Tre and Max are playing soccer? Yeah, they are. I’ll have to remember to describe their individual soccer styles for you sometime. Suffice to say, I suspect I won’t be retiring in the Bahamas off the proceeds from their soccer careers.
Anyhow, this particular afternoon I was irritated. Annoyed. Peeved. It had taken roughly seven hours to get the boys connected with their soccer gear and in the car. One shin guard mysteriously disappeared from Tre’s room, and a frantic last-minute search failed to unearth it. This was no real surprise, considering that he seems to have collected half of the physical reality of the world IN HIS ROOM, and has deposited it in a jumble on the floor on the far side of his bed. So from the door, it looks like a relatively tidy room. Given to outbreaks of bookmarks and Coinstruction sets, perhaps, but other than that, livable. But then, when I stepped INTO the room and peered over on the other side of his bed, I found acreages of junk. Paper airplanes, Bionicle bits, eons of old magazines, GOOD LORD WHERE DOES IT ALL COME FROM?
We could NOT find his missing shin guard amidst the mess, so he opted to go shin-guard free, and stomped off to the car, stewing in a sense of unfairness. In the meantime, however, Max had been gamboling through the house with both his soccer ball AND Tre’s. This was intended as a helpful gesture. He was planning to bring his brother’s soccer ball to the van for him.
Except what he did was wander into his room for something, drop both balls, meander around, and when I called him to the van, grab HIS ball, completely forgetting his brother’s. So when Tre was sent to fetch HIS soccer ball, he raced helplessly through the house, tearing from room to room, utterly perplexed. He would not, you understand, ever go in Max’s room to look for it. WHY WOULD IT BE THERE?
Eventually I found the ball (thanks to magical Mom-sense – like Spidey-sense, but less tingly), corralled all boys and related soccer gear in the van, and set off down the road. The trip to soccer practice was accompanied by The Sound of My Voice, as I harped upon my lovely boys about such concepts as Responsibility and Tidiness and Punctuality. They heard “wah wah wah wah wah wah.”
A good time was had by all.
Eventually I arrived at the park where practice was being held. Silence had fallen in the van. Raphi was asleep in his car seat, and Max and Tre were mute, rather than taking the chance of activating The Sound of My Voice again. As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw Clay, waiting for us. He strode over to the van, and as soon as I parked, he pulled open the back passenger’s side door and crawled in, right in the midst of the boys. In his hand he had a piece of paper.
“Did you see this?” He asked. I smiled and said I had. It was an email from a lender we’d been talking to. We were prequalified for a mortgage, meaning we could house-hunt in earnest (did I tell you we’re looking for a house? No? Huh. My bad). The boys started to stir in their seats, releasing seatbelts and scrabbling for soccer balls.
“Wait a minute guys,” Clay said, “I need to ask something. See, this has got me thinking about the past, present, and future.” He looked at me. “We both have a past, and I’m glad, because it’s brought us here today to be together. This,” he held up the paper, “is our future, the home we’ll live in as a family. So that leaves today. And today I have to ask you something. Will you marry me?”
I saw a flash of a diamond, Clay’s slightly teary eyes, and behind him the grinning faces of Tre and Max, as they craned to look over his shoulder and see my response.
Max leaped on Clay’s back, shouting, “YOU FINALLY ASKED MY MAMA TO MARRY YOU!” Raphael woke up, and crawled into my lap. I showed him the ring and asked him if he knew what it meant. He studied it, then whispered,
“Clay will marry you, and I will have a dad.” He buried his face in my chest, then peeked at Clay shyly.
I didn’t get Tre’s reaction until later, as we were climbing back into the van after practice. Max suddenly realized he NEEDED the bathroom, RIGHT THEN, so Clay ran off with him to find one. As I passed out post-practice dinner, I casually asked Tre,
“So…what do you think about this ‘being engaged’ stuff?” I tried not to push too hard. Certainly he knew I was happy about this, and of all the boys, he would be the one who would strive to give me the “right” answer. So I didn’t push for eye contact, and tried to keep it light. He looked right at me and lit up the van with a smile.
“I’m gonna have a dad again.” We grinned at each other. “You get to be married, and I get to have a dad. That’s cool.”
It really is.
ps - can you tell the ring's a touch large and needs to be sized?
pps - three diamonds - past, present, and future. How romantic is HE?
ppps - February 18. Or, as my mom pointed out to me today, four months and nine days. Commence freaking out.
pppps - I love him so much. What else is there to say?