Before she left the house, Jen texted Spencer to let him know Kate was coming around. Jen didn’t know if Spencer was back from his TDY yet or maybe sleeping. He and Kate had such crazy schedules all the time. She was glad she had a ‘regular’ day job. At least that’s what she thought Kate was doing when she babbled earlier—coming around. Jen put her phone in her purse and left for the nearest café and ordered the hot drinks through the drive thru window.
A few minutes later Jen was listening to Kate’s story. Kate ended it with, “So, how can I possibly leave her there any longer?”
“Well, call the place where she’s at and let them know you’re coming. Are you going by yourself? How much leave do you have?” Jen blew across her cocoa to cool it down enough to drink. She never liked drinks too hot. She had burned her tongue too many times.
Kate stared at Jen. “I have no idea. Should I fly or drive? What’s the easiest way to transport a toddler?” Kate turned on her computer and waited for it to fire up. She was going to get a tablet soon and probably ditch this old dinosaur. Jen answered, “I have no idea how to travel with a toddler. Never done it. How much time will you have to get her?”
Kate groaned. “I have no idea. Why does everything have to be so difficult?”
“It’s not necessarily difficult. It’s just different. You’re on a whole new learning curve.”
“You got that right. I have about thirty days of leave; that I do know.”
Jen laughed. “One thing at a time. You’ll figure it out.” While they were still talking, Kate’s phone beeped an incoming text. She picked it up from the coffee table where she had left it after calling Jen. The text was from Spencer and it read:
Kate called him back. “Hi, welcome back.”
“Thanks. Jen texted me a little while ago. You okay?”
“If being a mother overnight is something okay.”
Spencer’s heart skipped a beat, hoping this meant she was going to get Sarah now. “Want me to come over?”
“Sure, the more, the merrier.” She threw her hands up in the air with a why not gesture.
“I’m on my way.”
Kate hung up and glanced at Jen. Kate shrugged and went back to the computer in the next room where she researched time and distance from St. Louis to Iowa. Then she tried to figure out if it would be cheaper to fly or drive. She didn’t like math.
“Jen, I have no idea what I’m going to do.” Kate could still see Jen in the living room from where she sat at the computer.
“Kate, you know Spencer, Kelly, and I will help you. That’s what friends are for. I know it’s going to be strange, different, and tough. But you can do this. God’s with you too, remember?”
Kate nodded slowly, absorbing what Jen said. “I guess so.”
A few minutes later Spencer arrived and Jen let him in as Kate was lost in thought. “She’s spaced out in the living room. But she’s fine.”
“Good. I’ve been worried.” Spencer slipped out of his shoes in the entryway before following Jen to the living room. Spencer could see Buttons asleep in his bed near the sofa.
“Kate? Are you okay?” Spencer stopped in the doorway to the living room, remembering the last time he’d been at Kate’s. He was a little concerned at Kate’s facial expression. He slowly walked into the living room and sat next to her.
“Hmm?” Kate noticed Spencer’s arrival. “Oh, sure. Fine. Just trying to figure out how in the world to bring a toddler home. That’s all.”
“I see. Can I help?” Spencer didn’t quite feel like he could relax yet, so didn’t get too comfortable.
“I don’t know.” Kate zoned out again.
Jen and Spencer eyed each other. Jen shrugged. “I’m going to go and let you two figure things out. Let me know if there’s anything you need me to do, okay?”
Kate snapped out of it and got up. “Sure, Jen. Thanks for coming over. And for the cocoa.”
“You’re welcome. Call me tomorrow?”
Kate nodded, following Jen to the door.
Until next time,