I'm aware of the sullen look that has been playing across my face, day and night, for the past few weeks. With school starting, school sports starting, buying new clothes for the kids, rushing everywhere, and being a mom to 76 wonderful children, I feel like I haven't been able to find a single solitary moment for myself. Within the past week I've been egging to do something but with James and I being in a weird relationship, Corbin being unreachable, and the kids being too reachable I haven't done anything other than sulk and sit by the phone. All day I stare at the house phone, waiting for it to ring, praying for it to be Corbin or James...or someone remotely interesting. But, day after day, not a single ring from someone I want to hear. When it's a random number I didn't even pick up, just let the kids get it. Speaking of, the kids whisper about me all the time but I've learned to block it out. It's too much for me to bear, being in this sore spot in the challenge."Oh my gosh Magenta, have you seen mom lately? She's been acting so weird and I don't even think she knows that the triplets moved out. Should we say something?" whispers Lauren.
"No, what if she yells at us or something? And plus she smells really bad. I don't think she's left the couch in a week."
"I'm sure she's gotten up, she has to eat! But you're right, she DOES smell bad! I say we talk to her. I miss hearing her voice."
"Me too, let's do it. But you go first!"
"Ugh, fine. Hold your breath!"
"Mommy!" giggles Lauren, plopping down on the sofa. "Scoot over, Magenta wants to sit too!"
As I inch closer to the edge of the couch, I give them a blank look. "Hey girls, what do you need? Do you need food?"
"We need to hear your voice mommy. Why are you so sad all the time?" inquires Lauren, looking down.
"You're breaking my heart mommy, you're breaking it into itty-bitty pieces." chimes in Magenta.
"Oh girls...I'm sorry." I don't know what else to say so I move the phone away and stretch. "I'm not sad, I'm just...busy. Sidetracked, I mean. What are you up to today?"
"Not much, we've been waiting around for you. School was cancelled because of the heavy rain."
"Wait, what? How did I not know that...what is the time?"
"It's 3:37 in the afternoon. How do you not know the time?"
"It's already the afternoon? Wow...I need to get up." I try to process the idea of moving my comfortable nook on the couch...not likely.
"Do you want to do something with us? We're really bored." asks Magenta.
"Why don't you do something with your sisters? I'm sure they'll do your makeup or something."
"Reyna, Kaylee, and Emily moved out a couple days ago, how did you not know?"
"WHAT?!" I screech, sitting up.
"The...triplets...moved....OUT," slows down Magenta. "Does....that...make...sense...to-"
"I get it!" I say. "But why wouldn't they say bye?"
"They tried to but you were asleep and they said not to wake you up. You've been sleeping a lot mommy."
"You're right. I'm sorry girls," I barely whisper. Tears spring up in my eyes at the realization of my failed mothering. "Are they beautiful? Where did they move?"
"They moved across town...they said to show you a picture of them that I took."
Lauren leans out and hands me a picture from the coffee table.
"What beautiful girls..." I marvel. Reyna, Kaylee, and Emily, all grown up. I can't believe I failed to witness them become young women for my selfish pity party. I've messed up things in my life with all the important people, I am the one who has been sulking for the past weeks, and I am the only person who can do something to change it. Resting the photo down I hop up and get a moment of dizziness. A second later I whip out my phone to see endless texts and calls piled up.
3 Weeks Ago:
From Vanessa: Amber, it's Vanessa...remember me? YOUR BEST FRIEND? Please answer. I'm tired of hearing your old answering machine.
From Reyna: Mom, I don't know where you are, but we need to grow up. I'm giving you one week to get things together or we're not even going to tell you when we do.
From Kaylee: Mom, where are you?? :( I miss you! <3
2 Weeks Ago:
From Reyna: That's it, we're aging up. I think you're sleeping but we're doing it.
From James: Amber, we need to talk. Call me asap.
From Vanessa: Um, hello? I'm still here dork-face. NOW PICK UP YOUR PHONE!
From Della: Amber, are things alright? You've been so distant the past few weeks, we have to meet up for some coffee soon.
From Violet: Where are you? Need to chat soon!
1 Week Ago:
From Vanessa:Still...here. Pick up. NOW.
From Vanessa:You're driving me insane.
From Reyna: Magenta and Laur say you're still in your room. Me, Kay, and Em are heading to Bridegport for a girls weekend, wanna come?
From James: Amber, are you alright? I have been calling you and only your kids are picking up. I'm worried, reply soon.
From Vanessa: That's it, I'm coming over.
From Vanessa: Scratch that, babies are crying. BUT I WILL SEE YOU SOON!
From Penny: Amber, Vanessa says you haven't been up to much...what's going on? I need to see you, I just got back from Africa with Chase so call me asap.
And that brings me back to now. I scroll back and forth through the texts, looking for one from Corbin and rereading the ones from James. They're the only two I want to hear from, but that doesn't mean I'll give into James so easily. No way Jose.
Heading into my room, I feed positive thoughts into my mind and slip on a cute dress Reyna sent me. The note says Dear lord mother, will you ever pick up your phone? Hopefully this snazzy dress can bring you back to life. Underneath the obscenely obvious sarcasm is a gorgeous dress that makes my mouth drop open. Reyna sure does know how to make a woman feel pretty. After a few minutes of applying light makeup and messing around with my hair I comes up with this modern up-do that even Reyna would marvel at. The bangs were a spurr of the moment thing, but they suit me.
"You're Amber freakin Lights," I say out loud, balling my hands into fists. "And I don't need a man to complete me. All I need is myself...and a little alcohol. But mainly myself!" Unclenching my fists I actually laugh and sit down. If I can follow what I just said then maybe I can make it out of this challenge alive.
"Oh mommy!" squeals Magenta. "You look SO pretty now! I love your outfit and your bangs are so pretty!"
"Thanks honey," I say, standing up. "I feel a lot better now that I'm thinking with a straight mind. I'm very happy now."
"Good to know mommy," says Lauren. "But aren't you forgetting something?"
"...what do you mean?"
"You need to have more kids. Don't yell but me and Magenta have been replying to peoples comments on your blog and we told them that you would have more babies soon. They're starting to get angry and demand that you continue! Don't make your fans mad mommy!"
"Oh dear..." I mutter. As I rub my temple I say, "Girls go tell the fans that I am going to get...erm, pregnant right now. Tell them to quit whining! But not in those exact words." They smile and giggle, while racing to the computer to tell every one. I grab a coat and my keys and head out the door. Must get pregnant...NOW!
I hold onto my coat and ditch the keys-who needs driving when walking will get you to the same place? The evening air is brisk and does just the trick to wake me up. I walk up and down the streets, hoping someone will jump out and offer to be a challenge father. I guess I'm not as renowed as I thought because no one even cares when I walk by them. After a good hour of searching I am just about to give up when I lay eyes on a young man gardening and he stands up to wave. Seeing it as a sign of welcome, I walk right over.
"Absolute perfection," he smiles. I blush and take his features into consideration. A strong nose, dark skin, and light brown hair. Not to shabby.
'Hello, my name is Amber Lights. How are you?"
"Hey Amber, I'm Anthony Laurence and I think you are absolutely gorgeous. Have you ever considered modeling?"
"Well I tried to once, but that didn't work out." I shudder as I think about James' uncle.
"Well that's too bad because you're beautiful. Can I do anything else to help you on this fine evening?"
"Yea, actually, You can."
After a good ten minutes of explaining and lot of hand gestures he smiles and places a hand on my shoulder. "I would be happy to help, I'm so busy with my business I know I could never find time to have any kids. I'm in."
"Woah, really? I'm so glad you feel that way because you wouldn't believe how iffy some fathers are."
"That's a shame, I would jump any day to have gorgeous children with you."
"a-ha, you're a funny one..." I trail off, becoming slightly uncomfortable.
We are interlocked in a short embrace before he leads me up to his drab bedroom. Things fly quickly and before I know it I am getting changed, ready to go home. Before I leave he grabs my arm and says, "Oh, and here's my business card. I won't do you wrong like that other photographer did. Give me a call some time." Not wanting to be rude I fold up the card and stick it into the pocket in my dress. "Will do," I say. "Thanks again!"
Lauren and Magenta are happy to pose for a quick picture the next morning. They literally grew up overnight and now they are blossoming teenagers. Their somehow-Jersey-roots are still intact and shining brightly through wild animal print clothing. Lauren is still the sweet, open-minded girl that I raised, and Magenta is still girly and sassy as ever. Got to love them!
Dylan (left) and Dwayne (right) grew up too, into handsome young men! They are tomboys with a love for their family, what more could I ask? They are perfect in my mind!
And finally, the berries. HOW DELICIOUS! Spencer (left), Sarah (middle) and Brendon (right) all inherited their fathers unique hair color, and only Brendon got his luminous skin tone. All three are true berries-they are sweet, giggly, and a complete joy to be around.
Intent with where the day is headed, I throw on my green sarong and finally pull out my dreaded cell phone to give a quick call to Nessa. As soon as she picks up I prepare for a long speech, so I say, "Vanessa, get your butt down to Old Pier Beach within ten minutes. No questions asked, I hope to see you there." I quickly hang up before she can get angry and smile. Time to head out!
"Well well well," says a sarcastic Vanessa, sitting down. "Look who decided to answer one of my fifty text messages."
"You didn't send fifty," I giggle.
"You're right. Seventy-five easy."
"Oh hush. How ARE you? It's been so long!"
"You're telling ME. I'm 99.9% sure you legitamately fell off the face of the earth for about three weeks. Am I right?"
"Yes, you're right. I fell off the face of the earth but with the help of the SimGod I climbed back up. There you go, you got me all figured out."
"A-ha!" she shouts. "Your sarcasm means nothing to me!"
"Yeah, yeah. So anyway, I'm fine. If I am being completely honest I have to admit the past few weeks haven't been so easy."
"Oh, harder than the usual daily chores of a mother? What's gotten into you, are you giving up on your challenge or something?-"
"-NO! Never...I've gotten too far to give up."
"Then what's been up your butt? It's clearly not your family or friends, since you're with me right now. Is there someone else?...namely, a guy?"
"If you're about to tell me that you are in love with Corbin I will slap you silly. You've been down that path before honey, and we all know how THAT worked out." I can tell she's trying not to laugh so I reply slowly.
"No...well, not really. Actually, yes. Well, maybe not. I mean I like him, a lot, but he won't call me. And I don't have his number. But he has mine! And isn't the rule that a guy needs to call you within two weeks of getting your number? It's been almost a month. Gosh darnit."
"Woah, easy there kiddo. He'll call you when he's good and ready but for now you need to focus on yourself. It's not healthy for someone of your age to be obsessing over a man like this. Just take a few deep breaths and calm down. Do it with me." She leads me through some breathing but my face is still deeply furrowed.
"But why wouldn't he call me? I've known him forEVER!"
"Does he have a partner?"
"No. At least I don't think so...we didn't really talk about that. But he totally flirted with me so I think not. Or maybe the flirting wasn't actually flirting, maybe he was just being friendly...oh dear Lord, have I spent the past three weeks fawning over a man who doesn't even like me?"
"Calm down woman! He obviously cares for you, since he took the time to hunt you down and actually say hi. You're fine, deeply breathe again. So this is really how you've spent the past weeks? Just waiting for him to call?"
"C'mon Ambs, you're better than that." she gives me a sidelong look and I actually smile.
"Yeah, I know. From this moment on I'm not even going to care. I don't need a man to rule my life. He will call when he wants, and if he never calls so be it!"
"Yeah, that's the spirit!" Even with her encouraging words my spirit still falls. I push it away for the time being and get up.
The rest of the sunny afternoon is spent talking about lesser, non-important subjects like the season finale of Entourage, Kim Kardashians wedding, and the new products from MAC. It really lightens up the mood and by the time I go home I'm feeling even better about myself. Best friends have the ability to do that I guess.
"FINALLY!" I shout the next morning when a baby bump is in place of my slim stomach. FINALLY I can have more babies! FINALLY I can continue my challenge! FINALLY I feel normal again. Well, sort of. Since it's been awhile since I've been pregnant my body doesn't take very well to the new set of conditions. To take my mind off the impending sufffering I start on Sarahs skills and do a bit of cleaning around the house. I forgot how good it feels to be in a routine, a routine only a mother could learn to love.
Around noon I sit down for a bowl of soup when my phone goes off. Expecting it to be Vanessa I put it aside and enjoy the rest of my meal. Eventually my curiosity gets the best of me and I check my cheap phone.
Amber...you're seriously worrying me. We're talking whether you like it or not and I'm coming over sometime soon. Maybe you're upset about the ring but we need to talk. Reply, please.
I know I should reply, but the stubborn side of me says no. He upset me with that ring and now it's up to him to fix things. It may not be the best thing to do but I could care less at the moment.
I revert my attention back to the important ones and they squeal at my prescence. "YAY, mommy! Come play wif us!" Sarah and Spence enjoy some quality time at the blocks table so I focus my skills on Brendon. He's a sleep little guy, and almost passes out during the entire lesson. Finally I stand up to put him down for a nap, but almost fall back down from severe back pains.
"OUCH!" I wince. My body is really not taking well to these conditions. It's funny that I've been through so many pregnancies but a short break results in this. I stumble over to put all three kiddo's down for naps and shoot out a text to Henry, Vincent, and Jordan to come over and babysit. Thankfully they're available so I hobble into the car and head straight for the day spa.
Not only do I get a back massage, but I also find time for a pedicure, facial, AND a foot massage. Ahh, it feels so good to pampered for once.
Since it's a Friday night I rein the family in for some R&R and my famous keylime pie! As soon as I take it out of the oven the flavors mix together and before I can help it the entire house smells of sweet pie. I try to stifle my laughter as the kids all come out of their bedrooms as once to eat it. There's minimal fighting over the pie, just harsh words and some laughter.
To finish off the family-filled evening I turn on the movie School Of Rock and we all gather round to watch the hilarious Jack Black. It's so good sometimes to just sit back, relax, and marvel at what life has to offer. So much stress, worry, and confusion. Yet so much happiness, love, and adoration. THAT is what living is all about.
"Work that wobble mom!" cheers a bright Lauren.
Smiling first thing in the morning is so sweet. I chuckle and say back, "Oh yeah, I know! How come you girls are up so early on a Saturday? It's only 7 AM!"
"Oh, we didn't tell you? 'Genta and I are taking the boys to the Llama's vs. Packers game today. We figured we could go up early and hang out with our friends."
"Why didn't you tell me?" I ask, slightly confused. "I may be distant but I'm still your mother."
"I totally forgot!" Getting up and coming over to me and surpresses her laugher, saying, "Oh dear mother, will you PLEASE join us for the Llama's game today?"
"Well, when you put it that way..." I give her a wink and rub my belly. "Just let me and these little guys go get changed and I can drive us!"
Getting changed into a blue and green outfit is no easy tast for my swollen stomach, but I somehow manage it. We head straight to the game.
FAMILY PHOTO OPP! The matching outfits and out-of-town arena is too much for an obsessed photographer like myself. I take full advantage of the time to take tons of photos that I will forever treasure. The day goes by way too fast, but the Llama's end up winning 24-0 and and the crowd was extra rowdy, but just as cautious for my pregnant belly. It seemed like everyone is on my side today and I can learn to like that.
By the time we eventually find our way home, it's late in into the afternoon and we're all more than tired. Rather than getting worked up over another family activity, I spend the afternoon chatting with the girls on the porch with Dwayne and Dylan playing in the tree house. Things are going so well I think I could really do with a man.
And finally, the moment we've ALL been waiting for comes around by late night...BIRTH! YAY!
Welcome to the world...
Not even two minutes after putting the boys down to sleep, my phone gently buzzes in my pocket. It takes me a moment (or longer) to finally fish my phone out of my cluttered pocket and quickly flip it open. I hadn't checked caller ID so I hesitantly say, "...hello?" A male voice bellows from the other side, saying, "Amber, I really hope it isn't too late to call..."
It's not too late to call. It's never too late to answer Corbin Fierik.