I looked over at Jethro. He was slumped down on the couch, his new towel gone. Probably already tossed in the trash.
“Nothing”. He mumbled.
I looked back at Kelly Marie. She looked at me while nodding over at Jethro, I guess encouraging me to talk to him. Great. Here we go. “What is it, buddy?” I asked, putting on that fake “like-i-give-a-shit” voice.
His chin couldn’t have been any further into his chest without touching his spine. “Nothing.” He sulked.
I looked quizzically at the others. “He thought you were gonna say we’re going to Disney.” Natalia spoke up.
Did I miss something here? How does she know that? Other than my announcement and Sarah graciously pointing out how much I hate the shore (it’s called growth! Look it up!)…it’s been dead quiet. “How do you know?”
Natalia shrugged. “I just know.”
I shook my head. So these two are communicating telepathically, now? “How? How do you know.”
“I just know.”
I rolled my eyes. Whatever. I turned to Jethro. “Are you really that upset about Disney?”
“Yea.” He muttered.
“For real?” I asked him again, but looking at the other three for confirmation.
“You’ve been saying for years we’re going to Disney.” He pouted. Yes. He had tears welling.
I stood there, stunned. Perplexed. Helpless. I looked at all of them for something? Some kinda clue. Was this a joke? I mean, he was right. I had been saying for years that we’d be going to Disney…the next following year. It’s always been my intention. I want to get back there, probably more than them. But Jethro? He didn’t express interest in Disney. At all. It’s always Sarah and Natalia busting my nuts about me making the promise of next year. And then holding my feet to the fire when the next year came and went and all’s I could say was…Next year, kids! Next year!
“I know. I know I have. And I really want to take you guys. But, I can’t afford it this year.” I back peddled a bit.
“It costs a lot of money for all of us to fly to Disney, Jethro” Kelly Marie offered sympathetically.
“That’s true.” I chimed in shaking my head in confirmation. “But, I thought this was pretty cool. And at least we’re doing something this year. You guys have been saying for years we don’t go on vacation, right? Well…we’re gonna go on vacation this year.” I said with as much fake excitement as I could muster.
“You hate the shore, dad.” Sarah pointed out again.
I shot her a look. “Sarah!” I growled.
She rolled her eyes. “Well? You do.”
“Sarah! Shut up! You’re not helping.”
“Whatever.” She replied turning her attention back to her laptop.
I knelt down in front of Jethro. “I’m sorry we’re not going to Disney, buddy. I just can’t afford it yet. It is a lot of money for us all to go. But, at least we’re doing this, right?” I pulled as much empathy, sympathy and all the other “athys” out of me that I could.
“You said we would go to Disney.”
“I know. I did.” Yea. I said it calmly, but the pissedoffness was starting to climb in me. “And I’m not saying we’re not ever going. I’m saying we’re going to go to the beach for the week. This year. It’ll be fun.” I looked out across the other three for some support. “Right?” Don’t leave me hanging here guys.
The only sound in the room was the creaking noise coming from the branch those other three left me hanging from.
“C’mon! Isn’t anyone excited? Do any of you want to go? Sarah?”
She shrugged. “I guess.”
“Sure. I want to go.” She said that with as much as enthusiasm as you finding out you’re getting root canal.
He looked up from his DS, which I swear doubles as a communicator from whatever planet he’s from. “I don’t care.”
“Great!” I said sarcastically. “Lovely. If you guys don’t want to go…fine. You can stay with your mom that week!” One of the perks of being divorced. Being able to threaten to drop them off somewhere else.
I looked back at Kelly Marie. “I can’t believe this…” I sputtered.
“It’s fine.” Kelly Marie responded, seeing the frustration brewing in my eyes. “They’ll be excited as it gets closer.” She reassured.
“I said I wanted to go!” Natalia spoke up.
And then? The inevitable. The ol’ man popped his corked. “No! You know what? You’re all going. I don’t care if you’re excited or not!” I said pointing at Jethro. God. I was fired up! “We’re not going to Disney. We’re going to the shore. And you’re all gonna have a great time whether you like it or not! This is gonna be the hap hap happiest vacation since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny fucking Kaye!” I shouted and stormed out of the room.
Ok, well…maybe I didn’t say that last line. I think it’s from some movie. But the rest? Yea. I did. Plus probably some other things that either I’m not proud to admit, or just have force deleted from my mind. Probably the latter, but I’m not going to admit it here. Just chalk it up to another classic parenting error on my part. Right behind buying a trampoline and getting not 1, but 2 chinchillas. Meh…what’s another 3 years in family therapy at this point?