On lockdown and every day, my three teens always want a piece of the story that has long been buried. They have a lot of questions about their dad about me, about my parents, and his parents. No, we are not divorced, but he is not around. He is not around anymore. My husband was a hero, one of the firefighters who died in 9-11, and I always tell our children that he was the most honorable man I have ever met and had the privilege of loving.
Normally, we would eat at our dinner table, just the four of us and I have everything answered. All their queries and interrogations, I pass with flying colors—thirteen days in on this lockdown, all Aces. But on the 14th day, I was stumped. How do you explain things that will not make you appear immoral?
“Mom, if you are thirty-four and I am sixteen, does it mean you gave birth to me when you were eighteen?” My firstborn asked me bluntly as he chowed down on the burger that I prepared for them.
Gulp. How do I explain this? That their mom was shagging their dad since she was sixteen and that on that one day that they did not use protection, he was conceived? How do you explain that???
“Sweetie, can you pass the bread and that jam by your right.” I was hoping to change the subject and asked my youngest to give me the food. He did so, oh, but no. There’s a catch. These boys are sneaky and sharp, as their father – God bless his beautiful soul. They were all looking at me, piercing eyes, as though they could slice the bread with it.
“Evelyn, Dante was asking you a legit question.” My second born feels that he is “mature” at fourteen, oh almost fifteen and that he can call me by my first name.
“Dino Guerrera, my name is Evelyn, yes. But to you, it is “mom” or “mama.” Got that? Another call by my name, no Switch time.” They can play the Switch, at most, 2 hours a day. And he was not going to like me confiscating his time.
“Yes, mom. Got that.” He answered sheepishly.
“Mama, I would like to know. You said we could talk about anything. This is interesting to me. I would like to know.” My thirteen-year-old, Derek, was asking me nicely. I could not bear to look at his puppy dog eyes. He is so cute and adorable! Oh, dang. I will have to tell them that story, but I need to protect my image.
“Ok, it happened like this.” And the lies began…
“Dad and I were very young when we met each other, but we knew that we were in love. And not just that, after the in love phase, we loved each other.”
“In love phase? What the heck is that?” Asked Dino.
“Your mouth, boy.” Oh, he never ceases to test my patience.
“Even though we were young, we knew that we were meant for each other and that we would grow old together.”
“But mom, he is gone. And you are only thirty-four. You don’t look old too.” Derek said.
My baby is right. I am so lost right now. How do I say this?
“Mom, it’s ok,” Dante said. “Hey guys, let’s not pressure mom.” And the two boys followed in their brother’s authority.
It kept me thinking, though. And so, I said, “We loved each other so much that he asked me to marry him. We shared a great night when I was eighteen, and we….. Connected. That’s how Dante came to be.”
Dante stopped eating and said, “We know, mom. You married young because you had me. Did you regret it? More now, that dad is gone, and you are all alone with us?”
Oh, so. That was his real question.
“Never. Not one bit. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world, even ten times over. I would still pick the same life. Who would be taking care of mom now if I didn’t have you, marry dad, had Dino, and Derek? Who would be here with me right now on this pandemic lockdown? NEVER.” I said.
Dante was beaming. “See, I am the cause of mom’s life happiness.” He told his brothers, and we were laughing.
Whew, I escaped the trenches of humiliation. I wonder what they have in store for me tomorrow.