Friday Fiction – Launch – Chapter 3

Today I’m sharing Chapter 3 of Launch, an unpublished book I wrote a few years ago. A few weeks ago, we met Cindy Clarke and got a look at her life. She’s in the middle of a launch from stay-at-home mother to the working world. After meeting her husband Ted, we return to Cindy’s effort to redefine herself.

I hope you will take a look to see what happens and if you want to start at the beginning, click on the links at the bottom of this post


Launch – Chapter 3

It was four-thirty when Cindy walked into her house.  She felt an annoying flutter in her stomach.  Kevin and Katie were already home from school.  For years, she had planned her days around being home in time for the kids.  They needed her.  She’d cheer for them as they walked in the door.  “Hello!  How was school?”  Her afternoons had been chaos during those early years.  Kids blasting in, being loud, talking to her.  “Mommy, look what I did in school!”  She’d look at elementary school papers, crafts, smile, and congratulate their small selves.

And when only the older ones were in school, Katie and Kevin would be napping and the noise would wake them.  For years, endless years, frozen time, during the after school hour, the Clarke house had been a loud, exploding jumble of backpacks, lunch bags, homework folders, kids, shoes and crumpled art work.

Cindy loved seeing her kids come in that door.  It defined her, being home to greet them.  But she also knew what was on the other side of that momentary lift of seeing her children, home from their days out in the world, ready for nurturing, demanding attention.  Nurturing at that age was not all cuddles and sweet talk.  She could still do that with Katie and Kevin back then.  But for Teddy, Brian and Jessie, nurturing had become something else.  It was answering an explosion of questions.  “Mom, can I go over to Jack’s house to play basketball?”  “Mom, Teddy ate four cookies already.  That’s not fair!”  “Mommy, you said we were going to go out to Toys R Us after school today.  I want that new Barbie car.  Remember Mom?  Remember?” By then, Katie and Kevin would be awake from their naps, hanging on her, needing new diapers, asking for juice.

What followed was the marathon of getting dinner on the table.  Every action was interrupted.  So much physical work, movement, running up and down stairs, sending the older kids outside, but checking on them constantly (she couldn’t help herself), keeping Katie and Kevin occupied, usually with the TV, while she cooked.  All the while, watching the clock, waiting for Ted to come in so he could take over this insanity while she performed the miracle ritual of making dinner.  Cindy’s stomach would wind into tighter and tighter knots if Ted didn’t get home by a certain time.  She needed him.

And then, by the smallest measure of change, this period of time became something different.  Her kids grew.  They needed her less.  They talked less.  They became involved in their own lives.  She had still been there when they came in, greeted them in a cheerful “Hello!” but it was different.

Everything always changes.  Just when you master a certain phase in your life, the drivers shift.  What was once important disappears and it’s up to your confused self to figure out where you fit.  No one else seems to notice.  No one is there to tell you how things have changed.  It comes in pieces.  When your kids come in and say hi, then go up to their rooms, or engage themselves in PlayStation or their phones, then it’s up to you to redefine yourself.  No one is going to do it for you, but everyone expects you to handle the change, to make your new self happen.

Thank you for reading.

Click on the chapter links to start from the beginning:

Launch – Chapter 1
Launch – Chapter 2 Part 1
Launch – Chapter 2 Part 2

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