Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Journal of Penny Grant - June 3 - What just happened?

Life with three babies continues to be difficult. We have to schedule a time during the night for each of us to do the baby rounds; cuddle and feed, or cuddle and change. It's tiring having to get up at least once a night every night.

"Honey, if you take care of the babies all night tonight, then I'll do it tomorrow. We could each have one good night sleep."

I shook my head. "Nick, the last time you told me that, you didn't follow through the second night. I'm not letting you sleep all night first." Poor Nick was seriously stressing out from too many babies. Not enough sleep and he's definitely not comfortable with that many new babies around. I wasn't much better. I love my babies but they are so much work.

"I swear honey, this time I mean it."

"No, Nick. We'll do the usual. I'll check them at 1. You get 4." I rolled over to get what sleep I could before 1 am rolled around.

Sure enough, 1 am and the babies needed attention. I went around to every crib, picking up little ones and giving them the attention that they need. At least Buddy is old enough to sleep through the night now. There's only the triplets to check.

At 4 am, Nick tried to ignore the sounds coming from the baby monitor. "No, back to sleep", I heard him mutter. In the end, it took a gentle shove to move him out of bed.

He's very good with the babies once he gets up. It's just the getting up that he finds difficult.

It's not surprising that he is good with the babies. How can you look at the sweet little face of one of the triplets like Joey and not be in love with them? Ruby is my gem, Daisy is my flower and Joey is ... hmm, that fails as a metaphor doesn't it?

Well, Joey is special too. They are all precious little babies. They are also sometimes loud, stinky and demanding little babies.

And our little Buddy is our handsome little man still. Though he's not so little any more. School is just around the corner for him.

Needless to say, I'm grateful for that. Because the triplets are going to be moving around a lot more soon and having one child old enough to do some things for himself will be good.

The little swing had worked so well for Buddy that we went ahead and bought two more. So all three babies can sleep in those swings.

It's one of the few times that we can really take a break from the babies.

Nick uses the quiet time to take a long relaxing bath.

I tend to use the time to work out or practice my board splitting skills.

All too soon for me, Nick ran out of parental leave and was due back on the base.

"Bye Nick. Hope work isn't too stressful today." I gave him a light kiss as he got ready to leave.

"Bye Honey. See you later."

Nick's day may or may not have been stressful. But mine was very busy.

The triplets need the same amount of attention during the day. They can't know that there is only me today.

I tried to give them the same amount of cuddles and attention as they had been getting from both of us. This was keeping me so very busy that I failed to notice for awhile that Nick was late getting home. It was nearly five when I realised.

I decided to give Emerald a call. Nick isn't under her command, of course, but his Mum might know a bit of what's going on at the base.

"Emerald? It's Penny."

"No, I'm fine. I was just wondering. Do you know when Nick will be getting off duty? He's usually home soon after three and he's not turned up yet."

"You'll ring his commanding officer and find out? That's great. Give me a ring when you know what's up."

It was about 15 minutes after I rang Emerald that I notice she and Brad were approaching the door.

That's odd, I just thought she was going to ring. And Brad too?

"Emerald. Bradley. It's a surprise to have you guys come and visit."

"Well, dear. It's about Nick. I didn't want to just ring."

Brad was standing there, rubbing his temples like he had a headache.

My anxiety level started scaling upwards. Did he get hurt? Was he in the hospital? Why didn't the base call me?

Emerald said, "We better sit down, dear. Brad and I want a serious chat."

We moved over to the sofa. "So, guys what's up? Is Nick hurt? Will he be ok?"

Emerald sighed and shook her head. "It's not that. I wish it were that."

"I don't understand."

"Nick transferred this morning to a unit that was being posted overseas today. He is taking a two year tour of duty in Simolia."

Nick's parents looked at each other and sighed.

I was still trying to absorb this news. Nick had done what?

Brad took over the story. "We've pretty much always known that Nick has an evil streak. His grandfather, my father was like that." He shook his head slowly. "What we didn't know was that he's also a bit of a coward. So when he found out that there was an opportunity to go overseas and leave his family behind, he went."

"I knew he was stressing about the babies but he left us? He's gone?"

Emerald nodded sadly. "Two years. Now that he's on tour of duty, there's nothing that can be done to get him back. This is why we had to come over. I didn't want to break this news over the phone."

I was still stunned. If they hadn't come over, I would have assumed it was some joke that I was failing to get the point of. But I know that Brad is like me, it wasn't a joke.

I wanted to run out of the room, screaming or crying. I wanted to break boards until I broke me. I wanted...

I wanted Nick. But he was out of my reach. And out of our lives.

"Em and I want you to know that we are here for you. We've already told your parents, and our other children Abbey and James. Your parents promised to ring your twin so the entire family knows."

"Are you sure?" my voice was trembling as badly as the rest of me. "Are you sure that Nick is gone for two years?"

Emerald sighed. "I'm sure. I double checked the duty rosters and the lists of the troops that shipped out today. Nick won't be here for two years."

"Penny, your dad and I talked about it. There will be a sitter coming over every day. Your parents are doing half the cost, we'll be doing the other half." Brad said softly. "I know it's not the same but ring someone in the family any time it gets too much."

Tears were starting to flow. How could Nick leave now? Those babies would be toddling around everywhere, Buddy was ... oh god, Buddy was so close to his dad. How can you tell someone his age that Daddy is gone?

I was a ball of misery. A plate of food appeared in front of me then eventually disappeared again. Babies cried and were quiet again. And the world finally went away until the next day.


For the fans of Jerod (Shrimp) Grant
His sons Dedric and Alfred.