Last fall, Monkey Man scored an exclusive, private invitation to Annie Grace's birthday party at her house - complete with petting zoo. And a zip line running through the backyard. All the pizza and sugar you could snarf. And he was one of three boys invited among something ridiculous like 20 girls, so it was a little bachelor's paradise. But when Quentin's mom Jay found out, she begged me NOT to tell Quentin about it because he hadn't been invited to the party and would be just heartbroken.
And at this point, I realized that sometimes, obsession over Kindergarten Love can go a little overboard. But whatever.
This year, Annie Grace is back in Monkey Man's room again while Quentin was sent packing to another class. But his love remained steadfast, with Monkey Man coming home with sporadic reports of smooching on the playground and declarations of love forever, or at least until recess was over.
Apparently, though, the love is gone. Finished. Over.
Two weeks ago, we ended up at the local pizza joint one night after baseball and Quentin's family happened to be there. He came over to sit with us while we all waited for our food to arrive, so I asked him how school was going and your typical parental grilling questions. "So...how is Annie Grace, is she still your girlfriend?" I asked.
"Well, Miss Liz," said Quentin sadly, "things aren't going so good. Annie Grace tried to kick me in the nuts the other day on the playground and now she's not talking to me."
I just about fell out of the booth. It was all I could do to keep from laughing. Although a huge part of me wanted to take Quentin to the side and explain that this would probably not be the first time, nor the last time, that a female would attempt to have him by the balls - either literally or figuratively. But I figured that was probably a conversation for another time.
Fast forward to last Friday, when I was chaperoning Monkey Man's class to the state park on a field trip. I drove him to school since I was asked suckered into riding the bus with the class, and on the way to school I asked him who his friends were, who he liked playing with, which of the girls he liked and didn't like....
"So Monkey Man, which of the girls do you not like playing with on the playground?" I asked.
"Annie Grace," he said squinching up his face. "She tried to kick Quentin in the nuts the other day, and he's my peep. I've got his back!"
And they learn so early. Bro's before ho's.
I could apologize for being absent again, but it's kind of pointless. About two weeks ago, we found out that my dad's cancer has spread into his bones now. Leg, spine, ribcage. Not unexpected, but still hard to take. I did make it down to see him two weeks ago and he doesn't look good at all...my sister and I suspect that he is much sicker than my parents are telling me.
Add to this some other issues that I'm not going to get into here but have been weighing heavily on my heart, and I have been just trying to put one foot in front of the other and keep myself going. It's hard, though. I'm realizing more than ever that maybe there isn't much I can control in my life anymore. The pieces are all falling around me and I swear if it wasn't for the people that I love, I wouldn't make it through this with one bit of sanity left. The sadness of it all is overwhelming me at times, yet I realize that life does go on and that I have some amazing people that I share it with - family, friends, coworkers.
And for that, I am grateful. Because even when life kicks you in the nuts, a little love can make it all better.