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Just breathe, p.1
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       Just Breathe, p.1

           Sara Nelson-Rosales
 
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Just Breathe
 Just Breathe

  by Sara Nelson-Rosales

  Copyright 2015 Sara Nelson-Rosales

 

 

 

  The sun was shining so brightly in my face that it hurt my eyes to fully open them. The snow was finally starting to melt outside and I swear I could smell a hint of what would be spring in no time. The sound of the kids playing in the backyard was definitely a good sign of better weather to come. The winter had been so cold and filled with snow that school had been closed eight times. Yes, eight times. Now, I know that I can recall going to school all winter long, walking up hill both ways, and wearing my cardboard shoes. Ok, so maybe I stole that story from my grandpa, but it sounds much better than my mom dropping me off every day in her 1987 Buick Regal. Now that the snow was finally melting, we could all get outside. We had all been fighting a terrible case of the flu and the fresh air was making us all feel much better. I was in such a good mood and decided to make the kids their favorite dinner, chicken enchiladas. I was going through a mental grocery list in my mind when I heard screaming.

  “Mom! Colton just hit me in the face with a snowball!” my daughter Emily cried. “It had like a whole chunk of ice in it too!” she yelled while staring at me with her rosy red cheeks and a purple stocking hat with a big pom pom on top of it.

  Emily is my fourteen year old daughter and the oldest of my four children. She is definitely a mother hen to all of them and a wonderful help to me, especially since my divorce. She skipped two grades in elementary school after beating the entire nation in a spelling bee in the 3rd grade.

  "Oh sweetie, are you okay?” I asked her while rubbing her cold, red cheeks. She nodded her head, saw Colton out of the corner of her eye, and ran back in to the yard after him. By now, he had moved on to attacking his little brother Max with a snowball. Colton is my twelve year old son. He was born three months premature and only weighed 2 pounds 7 ounces. He had been a fighter since the first day of his life, so this hostile game of snowball fight is pretty normal for him. His blonde bangs swept his forehead as he jumped over a bush trying to run from Max. I went in the back door to write down my grocery list before I forgot. My youngest daughter Jordan was sitting at the table reading Harry Potter.

  “Mom? Do these glasses make me look smart?” she asked inquisitively looking up from her book.

  “Oh yes darling you look like an absolute genius,” I replied in a sarcastic, English accent.

 

  Jordan rolled her eyes, pushed her zebra print glasses back up her nose and continued reading. Jordan and Max are my ten year old twins. Jordan was born two minutes before Max so naturally she believed she was much more intelligent.

  I finished my grocery list, or at least I hoped, and called the kids inside. Emily started making hot cocoa for everyone while I got all of my own snow gear on. I always felt like a Nascar driver getting prepared for the Daytona 500. Nope, not even close to exciting, just heading to the store. Well, maybe someday. I heard Max asking Emily, “Em, can I have extra marshmallows?” She looked at him, rubbed his brown curly hair and said, “Of course Maxie.” Emily and Max have always been best buds. The day I brought him and Jordan home from the hospital, she was drawn to him. She was four years old and used to carry him around acting like he was her baby.

  “Ok guys, I will be back shortly to start dinner. Listen to Emily and be good,” I said while shutting the garage door.

  The drive in to town to the nearest grocery store was about twenty minutes. The only store we had was an old run down gas station at the only stop sign in town. The milk there was $5.00. I don’t think so. Besides, I enjoyed the nice, quiet drive to the store anyhow. I pulled up to the Midtown Market and didn’t see too many cars so that was my excitement for the day. I stepped out of my van right into a gigantic puddle of melted snow.

  “Crap!” I yelled hiking up the bottom of my pants. Dang it, I forgot to tuck them into my boots. Ugh. Now I have wet pants and wet boots. The chicken enchiladas may lose out to the Pizza Palace after all.

  “Hi Bonnie,” I heard as I was walking past the deli counter. It was Judy, my next door neighbor.

  “We have that good ham that the kids love so much,” she told me under her black hairnet, barely tall enough to peek over the counter.

  “Sure Judy, give me two pounds please,” I politely asked her.

  Judy has lived next door to us for the past fourteen years, since my ex-husband and I brought Emily home from the hospital when we were only twenty years old. She is a widow and lives alone with her golden retriever Oliver. She has always been like a second mother to me since we were such a young couple starting out. She loves the kids and makes them Christmas sweaters every year.

  “Here you go Bonnie,” she cheerfully said while reaching over the counter.

  “See you later Judy,” I said to her as I headed toward the freezer section.

  I completed my list, also getting a few other things not on the list (ie. Oreos and Pringles) and went to check out. “For the kids,” I whispered to myself, fully knowing I would be spending quality time with the snacks tonight while cuddled up watching my DVR. I pulled in to the garage, got out of the car and could already hear arguing coming from inside the house.

  “She told me that I could use it!” I heard Colton yelling at someone.

  I opened the door and everyone became quiet.

  “Hi Mommy,” Jordan said while sitting on the couch still reading her Harry Potter book.

  “Nevermind,” Colton sighed while handing over an IPod to Max.

  “Leave your brother’s things alone!" I yelled to Colton, who was already half way up the stairs.

 

 

  The enchiladas were devoured minutes after I put them on the dinner table. We all sat around the table scraping out what was left of them in the pan.

  “I’m going to go up to bed,” Colton quietly said while rubbing his head, “I am still not feeling too good.”

  “Ok baby, don’t worry about the dishes tonight. I am sure Max would love to help you out right Max?” I asked.

  “Yeah sure,” Max mumbled while swallowing the last bite of enchiladas.

 

  By the time everyone got all of their homework done, took their showers and brushed their teeth, it was 9:40 pm. Yes! I still had some quality time to spend with the DVR, and of course, those snacks! Now where did the kids put the remote?

 

  After what seemed like twenty minutes of sleep, the alarm was going off playing “Pour Some Sugar On Me" on the radio. I could hear the kids downstairs in the kitchen so I jumped in the shower. The warm water on my face sure was welcoming, especially since I checked the weather before bed last night. More snow today. Perfect.

  I finished getting ready and headed downstairs. I still had time to make some coffee. Yes! Jordan and Max were sitting at the kitchen table eating cereal and doing a word search on the back of the box.

  “Has anyone seen my saxophone?” Emily asked while frantically looking around. “I have band practice after school today.”

  “I saw it on the couch last night,” Max replied with a mouth full of Cocoa Clusters.

  I glanced down at my watch while finishing off my cup of coffee. “Come on guys, five minutes until the bus gets here!”

  Jordan and Max hurriedly put their cereal bowls in the sink and got their coats and backpacks on and ran out the door.

  “Bye Mom!” they both yelled, racing each other to the end of the driveway.

  Emily was shoving her saxophone in its case when the bus pulled up outside.


  “Bye Mom, I love you,” she said after kissing me on the cheek.

  “Bye honey, have a great day,” I smiled after her. I just loved those kisses.

  “Oh Em, where is Colton?” I yelled after her as she was almost down the driveway.

  “Who?” she said, turning back.

  “Colton. Is he still upstairs?”

  "Who is Colton?” she yelled back before jumping on the bus.

  I blankly stared at the bus as it drove away with the kids. They must have gotten into an argument and she would have much rather pretended he didn’t exist. I ran back into the house to give him a piece of my mind for running late.

  “Colton! You missed the bus again! Hurry and get down here and I will drive you to school before I go to work!” I yelled upstairs to him.

  But there was no answer.

  “Colton?” I yelled a little louder while running up the stairs.

  I
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