March 12, 2009

Here Comes Trouble


We barely put our toes across the open doorway of Gretchen’s house when four-year-old Andrew comes flying at us in a whirlwind of dirt and fingerpaint, waving a paintbrush like it’s a magic wand. His shiny brown hair, cut in a bowl shape, is highlighted with gobs of yellow and red, and his face and arms are smeared the colors of the rainbow. His red t-shirt fittingly reads “Here Comes Trouble!”

I feel myself instantly shrink back, clutching my pocketbook to my chest. Trouble is right. I’m not too good around kids.

Andrew smashes against Mom’s knees and flings his arms around her, leaving purple and red hand smudges up and down her jeans.

“Wow, my big boy!” Mom cries, bending over and kissing the top of his head. “I’m so happy to see you!” She doesn’t even seem to notice the cloud of chaos that surrounds him as she drops her bags and squats down to Andrew’s height.

“Grandma, today me and Magda played chase, and I won. And then she got mad, so I painted her a picture. It’s a car. Magda likes to drive crazy. She always says so. ‘Drive crazy!’ she says. So I made a real big car…” Andrew rushes on without taking a breath while Mom smiles and nods her head.

I carefully step around Mom and Andrew, bending slightly to avoid his flailing, paint-caked hands, and look around.

I don’t really remember the inside of the house from the last time I was here for Billy’s funeral. It’s all a blur of black high heels and suit pants and wilting flowers and fluttering tissues.

Now, I soak it all in. The front door faces a large staircase that sweeps up to the right, and there’s a railing at the top where you could look down to the floor below. The foyer, where we stand, is small but elegant, and it connects a formal dining room to the right and a formal living room left. But that’s where the formality ends.

Right away I notice the house is filled with contradictions: china vases overflowing with Tonka trunks, ornately framed mirrors smudged with fingerprints, stuffy leather couches covered with Spongebob stickers. The floor is littered with building blocks and puzzle pieces; the furniture draped with super hero costumes.

Mom was right; Gretchen does have her hands full with Little Mr. Trouble.

Suddenly, we hear a loud crash from the back of the house, and Gretchen yells.


  1. I wanted to stop by and give you a big warm welcome to the SITSahood! It's always great to have new bloggers join! We look forward to seeing you around!

  2. Hi.
    Stopping by via sits.
    Have a great weekend!

  3. amazing writing...truly!

    OH, I am also stopping by to introduce myself and welcome you to the SITStahood. You are going to love this wonderful community of women.

    You might consider following my blog…I host a monthly drawing for fun prizes EXCLUSIVELY from my list of followers. No need to check in every day (though ya might want to, and I would love that) just follow…pretty cool right?

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  4. Congrats on being a featured blogger at "Following the Footsteps." I look forward to reading your blog and getting to know the "SPITsisters." You sound like a fun group.

  5. This is a neat site. I am new I just found you through Jen's page. Everything on her is a story. I love the first one with the little boy and paint. Any Mom will just brush the paint off. I am such a clean freak and now when my little one gets me dirty or does something silly I do not mind. Crazy how motherhood can change someone. Have a great day.

  6. Hi! I'm just stopping by from "Following the Footsteps" and wanted to say congratulations on being a featured blogger today! :)

  7. Another part of the story, another piece to your puzzle. Always intriguing!

    I see that you joined SITS too. Welcome! Seems very fitting to have a SPITsister in SITS. :)


  8. Hi! I'm Mary visiting from SITS. I'm not on the official welcome team or anything but when I report in on roll call, I'm trying to make a practice of visiting the blog of the person who posted just ahead of me and today that was you!

    You have a great theme here - I love that idea of having a place to connect with other young gals of divorced parents. And clearly you are a very gifted and talented writer too! I as totally drawn into this story. Keep at it.

    Have a great week and welcome to SITS!