No matter what happened yesterday, no matter the celebrations in the streets and online (I think my favorite being Ding Dong the Dick is Dead), real life must go on and for us that meant getting the kids up in time to have breakfast and then catch the bus, getting Alex to school, and walking the dog. Sure, we can open the back door and let him outside to do his business, and we generally do that first, but Tank has his own expectations and a couple of daily walks is one of them. And Char likes to shove me out of the house every now and then so that she can soak up some silence.
Tank and I wandered around the neighborhood and when we started to pass Erin's street I figured what the hell, I'd stop by and see what she was up to, see if she wanted us to take the kids for the afternoon so that she could soak up some of her own silence. When I got there, Miko was standing on the sidewalk leaned up against the car, and he was staring at the house like he was terrified to go in. I greeted him with something lame about skipping out on work early (and in my head was thinking for a nooner but that was a might too creepy to actually say out loud, all things considered) when he said She texted me a while ago and told me I was coming home for lunch. She never does that. I think she sounded pissed off in that text.
Having been on the receiving end of a few angry texts, I completely understand. I also figured it might be a good time to take the boys home with me. That would make Char happy, and would give Erin a couple of hours before Toni got home, enough time to deal with Miko's body if she needed to.
We walked into the house and she was there, ready for him. He got three steps inside and she chucked a cupcake at him. I don't mean she just threw one, she whipped that cupcake across the room and nailed him with it right between the eyes. And before he could pick it off, she threw another one. I have to give her credit, her aim was so good that she didn't get any on his suit. But once that second cupcake had bounced off the first and Tank was enjoying some unexpected snacks, she realized I was there and hissed You couldn't come alone? You brought my dad to protect you? What the hell?
There was more, but I stopped hearing anything she said after that point for a bit. While in my heart, she's as much my kid as Alex, Rachel, and Kevin are, she's never referred to me as her dad before. And I never had a problem with that, because early on she'd expressed worry that if she called me anything but Uncle Ian Alex would feel slighted. He's my oldest and she always thought he deserved to have that. But still, Erin is my kid, even though I didn't get her until she was sixteen.
I'd be lying if I didn't admit that hearing that felt awfully damned good.
By the time I stopped not listening, Thad was crying and Miko headed up the stairs to get him, and I still had no idea what the Cupcake Wars were about, and I think by then Erin realized that whatever shorthand they were speaking was going right over my head. Tank had cleaned the carpet up pretty well, she notched down the anger a little and then sighed, I begged him to get a vasectomy. He is such a goddamned little boy.
What she was saying hadn't quite worked its way in and I fumbled out with, You just called me your dad.
You know that look women get when you've said something really stupid, when you've stated the obvious? I got that look. Well, you are. And then she kept going. Would it have killed him? Really? YOU got one and survived.
I got one because I was afraid getting Char pregnant again would kill her. Erin wanted Miko to get one because she was afraid that if she got pregnant again, she would kill him. Instead, she whipped a couple of cupcakes at his head. I had a hard time sympathizing with her, because she and Miko make some beautiful babies, and she is an incredible mother.
I'm selfish enough to want more grandkids.
By the time she calmed down enough to not want to pound Miko with the rest of the contents of their pantry I had the boy in a stroller and had called Char to let her know I was coming home with them. I sure as hell wasn't doing Erin any good being there and being happy when she hasn't quite gotten to that point. But I have no doubt that she will, because you can't look into her kids' faces and not understand that they are everything to her and she has a lot more love to give. And her kids have nearby grandparents ready to watch them at a moments' notice.
As for Miko? He's thrilled, but I will personally escort the boy to the urologist if she wants me to, because I'm pretty sure that's what a dad should do.