by R. M. Guitar
Kina, Zoey's mother, goes to therapy.
| When Kina goes to back to her room after fighting Connor to go to sleep, she checks on Steve who is sitting up in his bed, reading a book about insects. Always so quiet.
“Steve,” she quietly calls to him, “it’s lights out, baby.”
He looks up at her. “Five more minutes, Mom?”
“Alright, but you better have that book set aside when I come back in, okay?”
He nods, going back to reading.
She stares at him for a few more minutes before stepping out.
Zoey crashes into her, wearing only a pull up. Thomas follows behind her. “Zoey, come on, you need your jammies!”
“No! No jammies!” She looks up at her mother, eyes dancing. “Hi, Mommy.”
Kina picks her up. “Jammie time.”
Zoey’s eyes widen. “Traitor!”
The two adults laugh at her. Kina does find some of her daughter’s shenanigans funny…. Sometimes.
She holds Zoey down while Thomas gently forces a wiggling foot into the pajamas, then the other, getting the footie PJ’s on her.
They get the three girl’s to bed, sending Annabelle to her chambers for the night.
After they get the children to sleep Kina follows her husband to the bedroom where he plops on the bed.
“Are you that tired?” She asks.
He replies with a yawn. “Just a little bit, but we can…” Yawn. “Still have that talk.”
“And take the chance of you falling asleep on me?”
Even as she says this, Thomas is already snoring.
Kina rolls her yes at the decorations Jazmine laid out. It was ridiculous. Sometimes she wondered if the woman was a child herself or not. It’s been a few weeks since she and her kids have been seeing the psychologist.
“You know,” Jazmine pulls her out of her thoughts, “you don’t have to be so obvious.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Your annoyance with my house. The way I decorate it.”
“I’m not annoyed.”
“No? You sure?”
“Positive.” Kina shifts in her chair, pulling at her skirt.
Jazmine watches her. “So, how have you been doing?”
“How has it been with the kids? Did you talk to Thomas yet?”
“He’s taking me out for dinner tonight. I plan on talking to him then.”
“And the kids?”
“Still a handful,” she says indifferently, shifting again, “what do you expect?”
“You to tell me what’s eating away at you?”
“Zoey’s getting worse. Having Annabelle helps with the other children, but Zo refuses to cooperate.”
“She just needs time to adjust.”
“How much more time will it take! For Christ’s sake! CPS thinks I’m hurting her and Cloey because she wants to hurt her sister and herself! Not to mention Connor and being such a damn klutz! What use is having a husband when he isn’t home because he keeps,” Kina uses air quotations, “‘having trouble at work’.”
“If you were hurting them, Zoey would’ve already said something, wouldn’t she have?”
“Exactly my point. So why the Hell is it a problem? Why won’t they look at my useless brother in- law? Every time I see his sons, they have bruises or look sick as all Hell!”
“Have you reported him?”
“Multiple times since his wife disappeared. Even before then. For domestic violence yet the asshole isn’t behind bars.”
“You’re wound up pretty tight, Kina. Have you been getting enough sleep?”
“How can I when at least one or all of my children wake me up in the middle of the night? ‘Connor wet the bed’, ‘Zoey was kicking Cloey’, ‘Nikki had a nightmare’. The list goes on and on. Sometimes all the kids come in at separate times. Other nights it’s one or the other throughout the entire night.”
“Which is why you hired Annabelle.”
“Wanted her to help, but my children really want to pester me, not her.”
Kina shifts in her chair again. The frustration starting to fade away as she lets it out. She loves her children, she does. It’s just… “They can be too much to handle a lot of the time.” She speaks out loud.
Kina continues to speak, unaware of Jazmine’s curious gaze. “When me and Thomas first got pregnant, we were so excited. We left the town his parents raised him in with Alex. Johnathan followed with his wife and children. More than likely because he wanted away from the confines of it. It’s hard to start a good business from there. Fortunately, Thomas got into a business, climbed up the ladder fast. Basically is the owner’s right hand man. Steve was such a quiet baby. Never really fussed or wanted for anything. Then when he was two, we got pregnant again with Connor. Such a hyper boy. He was enough, but I wanted girls. We wanted to wait until Thomas could have more time with his family, but… Accidents happen.” Kina’s eyes mist up. “The girls were born. I was so happy. I was. They came pretty fast, though. Couldn’t get the meds. It hurt so bad,” she slightly smiles, “I broke Thomas’s hand.”
Kina takes a shaky breath, continuing, “we’re young. Thomas works a lot for this reason or the other. He’s hardly ever home these days. When he is, he’s exhausted. He still does things with them when he’s home while they’re awake. But… it isn’t enough. At least not for me. Steve’s only six. He already locks himself in the room. Connor constantly bugs for his father. So does Cloey. She’s Daddy’s little girl. Nikki and Zoey… They’re always up my ass. Now, imagine having five children with a workaholic husband.” She looks up at Jazmine, her stomach in a knot. “I love my kids, Jaz, but sometimes, I really just want to walk away.”