Last night started well enough. Lex, Lorrie, Mel, and I had everyone’s favorite pot roast dinner. The girls chattered away about school, friends, little Eddie, Freckles and her penchant for leaving dead possums for Lorrie underneath the quilt at the foot of her bed. Same as always. Lex’s brother and future sister-in-law were spending the evening at Martha and Charlie’s. Who would have suspected?
I took Eddie upstairs for a bath and rocked him to sleep afterward. Lex and the girls had gone to the den where Lex reclined on the couch, promising to stay put and rest her back. The girls were deciding what board game to play.
As I carried Eddie from the bathroom to the rocking chair, I could hear it begin.
“That’s not your piece, Mel!” Lorrie insisted in her big sisterly way that drove her younger sister insane with the need to defy her.
“Yes it is. Momma said I could always have the blue piece ’cause it matches her eyes. Isn’t that right, Momma?”
I didn’t hear Lex’s reply. Personally, I thought she was trying to stay out of it. The chicken!
“You already have the yellow piece, you can’t change it now. Besides, I have the blue piece!” Lorrie’s righteous indignation was no match for her sister’s own version of reality.
“Momma never said that, did you Momma? You said I can have the blue piece when we play.”
The closer Eddie got to being asleep, the more my little “angels” argued with each other. I swear. Or should I say, I swore that if they woke Eddie up, they were in trouble. Eddie was about to sport a new tooth. So between his aching gums and all the attention, he was not his usual cheerful self, so putting him to bed early was an act of survival.
As I laid Eddie in his crib and thanked the heavens that he hadn’t stirred despite his sisters shouting from downstairs, I heard Mel shriek and bolted for the door.
By the time I was halfway down the stairs, I heard Lex shouting, the girls crying. Lex crying. Upon entering the den, I saw the three of them in a heap on the floor. Lex was on her knees holding both girls close. She was sobbing and apologizing. The girls were sniffling and subtling trying to edge each other away from Lex so that they could be the closest to her.
I stood there in the doorway and rolled my eyes to the heavens in exasperation. “Lorrie, Mel, go wash up and get ready for bed.” Off they went.
“Momma used a bad word, but she’s sorry, Mommy.”
“That’s ’cause you cheated, Mel.” Lorrie just couldn’t resist that last parting shot, could she?
“I did not!”
“Girls! Upstairs now!”
The mumbled, “Did nots” and “Did, toos” could be heard even as they both stomped up the stairs.
Lex was a mess. I spent the next five minutes convincing her that she wasn’t a bad mother because she yelled at the girls. They could try anyone’s patience. Sometimes I wondered if they needed to be yelled at once in awhile to be sure that we’re really paying attention.
Of course, in the midst of all that crying and wailing and apologizing, Lex strained her back, and I had to help her upstairs to bed.
So. How was your evening?