When it was time for Martin to leave I noticed that one of his handles on his suitcase was stripped down to the metal strap. It was sharp and dangerous and I was worried he or an airport worker would get hurt handling it. My daughter ran into the garage and decided he needed a little bit of duct tape. She wrapped and wrapped the handle and before we knew it, the problem was solved.
Duct tape is awesome. It seals cracks to hold in or out water and air. It is strong and is protective. It makes me think of MacGyver. Remember that guy and that show? He could fix anything or do anything with a little duct tape.
I’m beginning to see Martin as a type of MacGyver. This last Saturday in particular he was my hero. One who I know has flaws I’m sure somewhere…but for now he is working some magic in my life and in the life of my children.
This Saturday could have been a really bad day. We had plans to hang out in the backyard and have some fun. And it was all on track until I went out front and tried to fix a couple of sprinklers I noticed weren’t working due to dead grass. I became frustrated and single-minded in my pursuit to fix one in particular. And all the plans of fun and frolicking went out the door.
Things started falling apart. My son got a call from his friend inviting him over his house (one down); my daughter started watching television (another loss). I was ignoring Martin’s efforts to help me because I didn’t see it as HIS problem and in my efforts to spare him I ended up making him feel useless (man down!). I ended up calling my ex trying to figure it out and that made me feel even worse (may day may day!!!). I started barking at the kids and stomping around with tears welling up in my eyes. My frustration grew as the day spiraled and there was a real risk of a crash landing when Martin kicked into action.
You know on MacGyver when all seems lost and then he reaches into his bag and out comes the duct tape and as cool as a cucumber he saves the day at the last minute? Yeah, that is what happened with Martin.
He lovingly but very directly walked me through the progression of regression. He had me take a look at myself and my behavior so I could see that every action I took had an alternative. He wasn’t in my face but he helped me take a step back. And with his hand on my shoulder he told me the best part was that starting at this moment we could turn it around and have the day we hoped for. He said the kids would want to join something fun if we showed them how fun it was. I was skeptical because typically when teenagers opt out with their butts on the couch, it is way easier to stay there. But he spoke with the intensity and authority that left me feeling like I had just been given sage advice from someone who loved me enough to be real with me and wise enough to be trusted.
I wiped my tears, nodded my head and ran upstairs for my swimsuit and he and I started playing badminton on the grass.
I was warned to go slow in my relationship with Martin for many reasons but mostly for my children. And in the four trips he has taken, I have been very careful to be proper and platonic around them. He has been very interested in them as individuals and has easily become someone they like. At first I wondered if they were just making an extra effort to “like him” because they knew I did. But the more I see them interact the more I realize they aren’t just being polite. They really do like him.
I know that no one will replace their father (that is a given) but I do think that Martin can be an adult figure in their lives who cares about them, gives them advice when asked and can generally be a good influence on their lives at a critical time.
It wasn’t long before my daughter invited a friend over the house and we were playing doubles at badminton. She was active and laughing and she was there because she wanted to be. She swam in the pool with her friend and Martin for hours. The five of them (including my son) played cards and laughed and all of this was with me on the sidelines cooking a taco dinner. I have not seen her that happy for that long in over a year.
The day was rescued. And after dinner they continued to play games and laugh and I stood off to the side at times just marveling at how the day had been transformed and saved. And realizing that this was the first “family day” we had since my ex left. And it was filled with more happiness and fun than ever. I could see healing take place before my eyes.
We spent the evening in the spa and around the fire pit eating Smores and when Martin couldn’t master the skill of keeping the marshmallow on the stick, my daughter told him she would make him the perfect specimen, which he appreciated. He took video of my son playing the guitar and singing songs for us and later as we were watching the hysterical movie Rat Race, my daughter “SHH’d” Martin for laughing too loud. I told him, “You know they like you when you get shh’d.”
Out of the blue she asked me last night before bed if Martin asks me to marry him where would we live. And I said, well it depends on when I guess and I think we would all sit down and discuss it and do what was best after we really looked at all the options. And she liked that answer. I think she appreciates that she has a say in what is happening in my life. And she appreciates how much Martin interacts with her and genuinely likes her too as a person.
My son is angry and that anger shoots out of his mouth at the wrong people at the wrong times occasionally. While Martin was here he said some things to his sister and to me that were rude and mean-spirited. I had a talk with him after Martin left and hopefully got through to him that he needed to shape up. He told me last night that he emailed Martin to apologize. He didn’t say what the email said but I was proud of him for deciding to do that on his own.
I have good kids. And they need a good male role model. And somehow in the midst of all this chaos and craziness that has been “my life” for the past year, I have found not only “anyone” to foot that bill. But if I could have designed the ideal candidate, he would have the same qualities and characteristics that Martin has.
I am blessed. I am grateful.
We all need heroes that come in to save the day. There aren’t enough people willing anymore. And on Saturday Martin was my hero. He did something I could not have done on my own. And I appreciated him very much for the laughter he brought to my home. I think both my kids see how different things are with him around and they both like it almost as much as I do. And that in and of itself is a miracle to me.