September 12, 2011
Carters (2) - Round 7
Jansen tried not to let her get to him, but failed miserably. "Why would you say something like that?" he demanded. "Look, I'm doing my best, okay. It's not easy. I was cleaning up dirty diapers and bottles when I was 10 & watching all my siblings when I was 13! I didn't really get a childhood until I moved away from home. And then I met you!"
"What are you saying? That you wish you'd had more time to be single?"
Jansen's head started throbbing. "No!" he exclaimed. "Of course not!" They'd have this same exact argument yesterday morning. Carlye wanted him to talk to his Mom about how he'd felt growing up. She said it would be closer. He knew it would just open up a can of worms. He knew exactly what his Mom would do: she'd lay a guilt trip and make him feel bad for even bringing it up. Then, she'd ignore his phone calls for a few days until she'd decided he'd sufficiently suffered and then would begin to call all the time again.
"I have to go work out," Jansen said, jumping out of bed. "We can talk about this later." Or not, he silently added.
"Oh Christ, Carlye. Can't I get a day of peace without you harping?" Jansen snapped. "I. Don't. Want. To. Talk. About. It."
Carlye smiled and said. "I don't want to talk about it. But, I want you to talk to your Mom."
Jansen sank back against the cushions. "That's even worse," he said miserably.
"And why is that? You can't talk to your own Mother?" Anne said from behind him.
Jansen bolted up straight and nearly gave himself whiplash as he turned to see his Mom. Turning back to Carlye to glare, he pointed his finger at her. "You set me up!"
Carly dismissed him with a wave and then put her hands on her hips. Anne sat down on the couch across from him. The hair on Jansen's arm was standing on end. He didn't know what Carlye was going to say and that terrified him.
"Well I don't know why we had to go through so much subterfuge. He could've just called."
Carlye smiled weakly and said, "Unfortunately, it seems to be hard for him. I'll go to the store so that you guys have some space." As she walked by, she laid her hand on Jansen's shoulder and squeezed. She was hoping that he would forgive her once he talked it over with Anne.
Anne clasped her hands together. "So. What is it you have to tell me? And don't think for a moment that I'll ever forgive you for letting your wife know that something was the matter before me. Why, what she must think of me! Thinking that there's something my own son can't talk to me about!"
Jansen listened to Anne gear up into the defensive mode. Once she was like that, it was hard to make anything sink in, especially lately.
Jansen clenched his fingers on his legs. This wasn't going to work, he panicked. He surprised himself by blurting out, "Carlye wants to have kids."
Anne smiled and clapped her hands. "Well of course! What woman doesn't want to have kids!"
Jansen couldn't quite meet her eyes. "I don't."
Anne's smiled crumpled. "Well, why ever not?" Anne asked. "You've always been a natural with your brothers and sisters!"
"Mom, I love you and I love them... but... it was too much..."he stammered. Slowly, he started to talk to his Mom about feeling overwhelmed with the housework, the babysitting, the desire to go to school and get out of the house.
Anne had gasped and then grown very silent. When Jansen finished, he waited for her to get mad.
He was shocked when she leaned over and clasped his knee. "I never knew you felt that way Jansen. And to be honest, I'm not sure if it would've helped." Sighing, she leaned back and played with her necklace. "You're old enough to know that things weren't always... great.. between your Dad and I. And I guess I was too sad to deal with it all. And then I kept getting pregnant and all I could think of was... well... I'm not proud of myself... but I couldn't help but want all six of you married and not my responsibility..." Anne hung her head. It was hard to see her mistakes through the eyes of her children.
Jansen knelt in front of his Mom and clasped her hands. "Mom. Regardless of it all, I love you. I love my family. And I guess, when I think about it, it wasn't that bad. Could've been worse."
Anne swallowed a teary laugh. "It couldn't have gotten much worse. I was an awful Mother!"
Jansen felt awful seeing his Mom like this. "Well, with six kids, I guess I should've understood that you'd needed the help more. It's not like we had the money for nannies. You did well with what we had, Mom. That's all we can ask for, right?"
Anne sadly smiled and patted his hand. "Well, if it wasn't that bad, maybe you should tell that wife of yours that you want kids after all."
"Didn't you hear me call?" she asked nervously. She couldn't read his face. Feeling tears prick her eyes, she ran over to the bed and threw herself at him. "I'm so sorry it didn't go well. I really thought that it would be better if you talked to her about it!" she said as she started to cry, with her head in his shoulder.
Jansen gently pulled her away from him so he could look in her eyes. "Actually, I'm ready."
Carlye blinked. "You're ready?" she echoed.
Jansen smiled as he grabbed her hands. "I'm ready to be a Daddy."
Carlye's breath rushed out of her lungs. "Oh my goodness. I don't know what to say! I didn't think... You mean right now?"
Jansen leaned forward to kiss her. "Right. Now." he whispered. "Unless you don't want babies with me..." he teased. "You know, I could always set up an intervention with my Mom for you. She's awful keen on the idea of grandbabies!"