Jordan wanted to be out of the house no later than Sunday afternoon so he enlisted the help of both his brothers and Eric. I had asked him if he wanted me to talk to Chad or Zack about giving us a hand as well but he assured me that the four of them would have everything covered.
“What about cleaning?”
Shrugging, he told me that his parents had volunteered to clean while he emptied the remaining rooms. “I have everything under control,” he insisted and went as far as to tell me that I didn’t even need to be at the house. “Why don’t you take this time and go into the city with the girls? You normally take them in to do some Christmas shopping before it gets too crazy.”
Despite how much I tried to argue with him, he continued to insist that I take the time to enjoy time with my nieces. “All that’s left in the house is my stuff,” he told me – we had finished bringing my few boxes to my brother’s house a couple days before so all I had was a bag with some clothes and accessories.
“We can manage besides you won’t have much time to do anything when we move into our house and you promised to keep the tradition of Christmas shopping this year.” He went on to explain that with all the cleaning and painting alone, we would be lucky to be ready to put up Christmas decorations this year. “It’s too bad we don’t get possession for another few weeks, it would be awesome to have everyone over for Christmas dinner.”
It didn’t matter how much I objected, Jordan ended up getting his own way. It wasn’t easy to fight it especially when he had already mentioned me taking the girls to my brother.
“They are packed and ready to go,” Zach told me days before Jordan told him we would leave – he even joked about sending them to me at that moment. “You don’t want to disappoint them, do you?” Zach also added that the girls promised him a really cool Christmas present and he was counting on me to help them. “I gave them extra allowance,” he stated with a chuckle. “Mary doesn’t know.”
To tell the truth, with my brother and boyfriend having planned my weekend for me, I started to wonder why they were doing it. Of course, the only answer I got from Jordan was his original one; I needed to spend some time with my family because there wouldn’t be much after we got possession of the new house.
Before he fell asleep he mumbled, “Think of it as a well deserved break Babe.”
Friday morning, I was in the middle of setting the new baby wipes section when I heard a gasp, then a familiar voice say, “See Courtney, Aunt Anna is working today!”
Dropping the MOD sheet I was staring at, I happily turned my attention to my newest niece and her very tired looking mommy. “How’s it going?” I asked Susan as I started to pull back the car seat cover enough to lift Courtney out. “Are you being good for mommy?”
“She’s prefect,” Susan commented while tugging a tiny pink knit hat from Courtney’s head. “I can’t believe how easy it’s been this time around, she doesn’t cry non stop like Krystal nor does she demand food all the time like Conner.”
While I showered my niece with lots of love, I half listened to Susan talk about life with a third child and how much Chad really wanted another boy but fell in love with Courtney the moment he laid eyes on her. “She’s daddy’s little girl, according to him and Krystal is upset about it. She told me the other day that she didn’t like the baby because she stole all daddy’s love from her. But that’s just silly, Chad loves her as much as he ever did, Courtney didn’t change that.”
“Didn’t she act the same way when Conner was born?”
Susan nodded, “But it was different because Conner wasn’t Chad’s ‘little girl’.” With a shrug, she told me that she wasn’t too sure what to do. “Chad has tried to explain it to her and even took her out for special days…”
“But she still wants to be his only ‘little girl’?”
“Exactly.” She went on to say that Chad was at a loss for what to do. “I don’t really blame him; I would be getting frustrated by now, if I were him.” After slipping into silent thought for a moment, Susan shook her head and gave me a helpless look before changing the subject. “How is Jordan? Are you ready to move into the new place yet?”
“In a couple weeks we gain possession and then it’s cleaning and painting before we move in. Jordan is hoping that we are living there in time for Christmas but I don’t think we’ll be ready to have a real Christmas at the house.” I frowned and Susan asked me what was wrong. “I don’t know what we are doing this year, we always had Nick and Amy over and did our own thing but this year Nick had Bradley, Jordan might or might now have Jenna and…”
“You’ll figure it out Anna, you always do. But, if you don’t, you are more than welcome to come over our place, I told Chad I wanted to spend Christmas with his family this year – less drama.”
Chuckling, I told her that I would talk to Jordan and see what he had in mind. “We could end up at his parents’ house for all I know.”
Susan visited for a little while longer before telling me she had to pick up a few items and then they were off to the doctor for a check up. “I’m glad I ran into you Anna,” she gave me a hug and told me that I should come for supper one night. “The kids have been asking when you would come over again.”
“I’ll do it soon,” I promised.
Just after Susan wandered out of my department, a thought came up and hit me in the face. I never do anything with Krystal. It was never intentional on my part to not plan stuff with Krystal, she just wasn’t around because Chad lived so far away. Since they moved back into town, I spent time with them as a family and with just Conner but, for some reason, I never had any time with just her.
You should invite her to come along on the shopping trip.
It sounded like a great idea, I would have some time with her and she would get to do something super special with her cousins and me.
Now, I just have to convince Susan and Chad that they want to let Krystal join us.
As I took off from my department, I hoped that it wouldn’t take too much to convince them and that they wouldn’t be too upset that I technically waited until the absolute last second to mention it. But, as luck would have it, Susan thought it was a great idea and something Krystal needed to show her how special she was.
“I’ll call Chad the moment I get home,” she promised. “I’ll let you know as soon as possible.”
I returned to my department but I didn’t want to be there – my excitement for the trip to the city had expanded – I just wanted to pick up my nieces and go.
Just before I left work Susan called to tell me that Chad had reluctantly agreed to let Krystal join the other girls and me in the city. Not even five seconds after I hung up from talking to Susan, Chad called me to tell me that it wasn’t everyone he trusted with his daughter’s life. “I want her back as happy and safe as she is when you kidnap her to the ‘city of great evil’.”
Rolling my eyes, I sighed. “Chad, Zach has trusted me with his girls for years and I keep bringing them back in one piece.”
“Old age messes with his mind,” Chad chuckled. “But I guess it’s time to trust you with my little girl…maybe.”
Since he already told me he wanted her back happy and safe, I knew he was just playing around now. “Well, while you think about that Chad, I’ll pick Krystal up after school. Do I have to stop by to pick up her overnight bag?”
“This is so exciting!” Krystal squealed as she bounced in excitement in the back of my car. “When Mommy told me I was going to the city with you Aunt Anna, I just couldn’t believe it! I never get to go anywhere! And Daddy is letting me go with you all weekend? AWESOME!”
Natalie just stared at her cousin; horrified and maybe a little concerned. “She isn’t going to be like this the whole way there, is she?” Shaking her head as Krystal continued to chatter away. “You’d think she never went on a trip before.”
“….And I get to sleep in a hotel! I’ve never slept in a hotel before! I really hope the bed is comfy. My Daddy thinks I’ll be scared without Mommy or him but I told him I’ll be alright. You’ll be there, right Aunt Anna? And Cassie. And Lindsay –”
“Krystal. Please. Stop! We aren’t even leaving yet! We have to wait until Aunt Anna, Cassie and Lindsay are done at school!”
Krystal’s eyes lit up as she turned to stare at Natalie. “We are going to the high school?”
I mentally groaned along with Natalie when Krystal squealed once again.
It was promising to be a fun weekend.
All I had to do was make it out of town.