Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Why I Kiss My Wife Goodbye Everyday

3-year-old Lennon came into the play station room (Sarah’s vacant room) and asked,
“ Can I play with you?”
“You know who Tiger Woods is Lennon?” I asked.
“Best Golfer,” he smiled.
“You want to play Tiger?” like I didn’t know the answer.
Bigger smile.
“OK, you be Tiger and I’ll be Natalie Gulbis, she’s hot.”
“Hey Tom,” Lennon’s 6-year-old brother Lux enters the room. Today he sounded older.
“You want to play or just watch me thump your brother with a girl?”
“I’ll play but I don’t want to be a girl.”
“That’s cool. Is John Daly manly enough for you?”
“I don’t know.”
Daly it is. ”

I’ve known Lux before there was a Lennon. My kids love these boys like brothers. It has been a couple months since I’ve seen them. They are usually with their mother Jen when she comes to baby-sit for Sherri and me. But Jen hasn’t worked for us this summer.

Back in June, Jen’s husband Jeremy was killed in a car accident. His car was hit head-on by a drunk driver.

Of course the drunk driver was able to walk away.

Jen had to ID her husband’s body on the side of road at 3:00 am while Lennon was asleep in the car.

Jeremy worked at a local casino. He was car-pooling home with some other workers. One of these workers called the casino from the accident. The casino called Jen and said he was going the local hospital. When she called the hospital they said he wasn’t there yet. So she packed up Lennon and headed to the hospital. Lux was in Colorado with his grandmother.

She had no idea it was this kind of accident. The casino didn’t give her any details.

The only way to the hospital from Jen’s house was highway 62. The same highway Jeremy takes home. Arriving at the accident was unintentional.

She pulled over to ask if Jeremy was on his way. The CHP asked her to wait in the car. She did, for almost an hour. They finally did come back to tell her that Jeremy had died at the scene and that he was still there. She chose to ID him there. They drove her home.

A week later she drove by the accident site and found personal things from the car still lying around on the ground. She picked it all up.

Jen wasn’t just our babysitter. She is Sherri’s best friend in the desert. I had met Jeremy a couple of times through the years, but wouldn’t really say we were friends. I knew him more from stories that Sherri had told me; stories Jen had shared about Jeremy that weren’t that great. They are about 10 years younger than Sherri and me. So we would hear these stories and shake our heads, “You’ve totally done that!” “ No way, I’m not that dumb.” “Uh yeah, you are.”

Tonight was the first time I had scene her since the last time she had babysat for us. It was awkward. I had to acknowledge the death of her husband. I tried to give her a hug, but it didn’t feel welcome, so I think it came off weak, like a limp handshake. I hate limp handshakes.

So I let the girls talk and bond and do what girls supposedly do best, communicate!

I would then focus my attention on something I can deal with, her sons. We played Tiger Woods and Ape Escape 3. I even let them win. We talked about kids stuff. Dexter’s Laboratory or SpongeBob. Does Lux like Alissa? Or does Alissa like Lux? We didn’t talk about their dad.

I’m sure they are going to have lots of guys trying to be father figures. I’ll just be the same silly guy they are used to. If they ever want to talk about dad it will be their choice.

I wondered what they were thinking while they played with me. Dad and me used to play video games. We don’t have fun like this at home anymore. God I miss dad. Tom sucks at Tiger Woods.

You hear about these kinds of tragedies all the time, but it really doesn’t hit home until it happens to someone you know, not even family, just someone you know. I may have to let Austin beat me occasionally with his new golfer, Caroline. :)


Elizabeth said...

Good Lord, I can't possibly tragic.
That was a very kind thing you did for those boys. And even "weak" attempts at a consolation is appreciated, deep down.

White Hot Magik said...

Today is the day I read all the terribly sad stories. Life goes on, though and little things like that where someone acts normal with those kids has got to be worth something. Hopefully you can hang out more.

Guinevere said...

Wow. I can't even imagine what that must've been like for her! But I can relate to how you felt... A friend of ours and his son was killed in an accident with a drunk driver a few years ago. The son died instantly and the dad died at the hospital shortly after getting there. Horrible!!! And it was the same way...we hadn't seen them for years, so when we had the opportunity to talk to the wife and daughter at the funeral, it was so awkward. There just aren't any words that seem sufficient.

You're right, though. Just be the same silly guy the boys have always known. That's the best thing to be for them! :o)

Oh, and the hot chick at the top of my page telling you to "stop, stare, and flirt" is a part time employee of mine. I pay her to distract innocent bystanders...and randy middle-aged men. lol Tomorrow she'll be in a deer suit...


Chris said...

Underneath all that malathion, you're a heck of a good guy. Nice work, dude.

Steph said...

Holy crap what an awful thing to happen for that entire family. I'm sorry to hear that they lost a husband and father but you did good. Sometimes it's just best to let women do the women-thing and try to be there for the kids.

Malathionman said...

Here's an extra sucky detail. The drunk driver had been drinking at Jeremy's casino.

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