Monday, January 23, 2012
A boy or girl thing
Celia’s mother was laid off from her job just as she, Rob, and Celia are preparing to buy a house together.
Rob was doing the closing shift at Starbucks, sweeping the floor after what would probably be the last rush of the evening. He had good days and bad days about the whole deal with Celia’s mom. On the days when he focused solely on the financial piece, he was excited about the possibilities. Between the sale price of Celia’s mother’s house and a small loan from his father, they would have sufficient down payment not only to buy a house, but to sneak into a decent school district too, and between his salary and Celia’s they would be able to afford the overhead.
On days following another dip on the family emotional roller coaster, he was not so sure. Celia’s gratitude toward Rob for being so supportive buoyed him, though he feared he would be unable to sustain his optimism if she and her mother didn’t figure out how to work things out better. Celia still treated her mother as her mother. Rob was beginning to feel that to treat her more like a child would be more helpful to everyone, including her mother. Mom wanted to be told what to do, it seemed, but Celia still had an expectation that she should defer and therefore Mom would step up.
The only remaining tasks: to find a house, close escrow, and move in before Celia had the baby in May. Whew.
The bell over the door jingled and he looked up to greet the next customer. He was mildly surprised to see Celia and her mother, but he had known they were going to check out the baby store nearby.
Celia’s mom gave Rob a big hug. Celia, respecting his workspace, showed more restraint.
“Robbie,” Mom said, “I don’t know why you and Celia won’t tell anyone if you’re having a boy or a girl. It would be so much easier to think about what to get if we just knew.”
Celia looked at Rob as if to say, your turn, and good luck on that.
There were times when Celia definitely needed Rob to step in and deescalate situations that pushed her buttons. Clearly, this was not one of those times.
“I’m sure Celia has explained to you how we feel about that,” he said. “I doubt I have anything to add.” He picked up his broom and headed behind the counter. Celia’s mom took a seat at a table as Celia, looking cute in her new maternity jeans, came over to the counter.
“Can I start a drink for you?” he joked.
“I needed your help there,” Celia said. “I’ve been trying to her off my back all evening about the boy or girl thing.”
How does Rob respond to Celia?