Here's Chapter Three of Kiylee's Christmas.
Chapter Three - Mom’s Knee
I never did make a basket during
that season, but boy, did I practice! Our team was undefeated and we
also won the county-wide tournament. It was great to be part of a
winning team. Things were going better at home too. In January, Dad
decided to start his own consulting business. He bought a new computer
with a credit card, applied for a business name, and started
advertising. Soon, he had enough work from several companies to keep
him busy for a while. Mom didn’t look nearly as stressed now that she
had more than just Dad’s unemployment check to help her pay the bills.
After basketball ended, I was anxious to try another sport and Mom
suggested softball. I was assigned to an Oquirrh team and I played in
the outfield. I had been on a County Rec baseball team before, but this
was different. It was very competitive and my coach didn’t seem
interested in teaching me to compete with those girls who’d played since
they were two. I swear, one girl played like she’d been born with the
mitt on her hand! It was fun, but I didn’t get to play very much.
I think Mom knew I was upset about not getting to play. Worse than
that, I just didn’t seem to be making any friends on my team. The girls
in my neighborhood weren’t that friendly either. School was OK, but I
still didn’t have even one close friend. Sometimes the girls at school
even said mean things about me when they didn’t think I could hear
them. Then they would laugh like they just told the funniest joke in
I didn’t tell anyone about those girls, and it was
pretty easy to hurry straight to the third grade hall so that I could
walk home with Neal after school. I guess Mom finally figured it out,
because one morning during breakfast she asked me right out, “Kira,
how’s the friend thing? You haven’t had anyone over since your birthday
I stared at my bowl of corn flakes. I really didn’t
want to tell her the truth, but I figured she would get it out of me
sooner or later, so I took a deep breath, “Not so good, actually.”
Mom stopped spooning Cheerios into Nathan’s mouth. “What do you mean?”
she asked. “You had all those girls at your party.”
I swallowed hard, “I know, Mom. But they don’t seem to like me anymore,” I said in a small voice.
“Did you have a fight?”
My eyes filled with tears that I carefully wiped on my sleeve before I
looked up at Mom. “No. I think they were just nice to me because they
wanted to come to my party,” I answered. Mom didn’t seem surprised.
She started feeding Nathan again.
“I’ve got an idea,” she
finally said. “Why don’t we look for a Girl Scout troop for you?” She
smiled. “I’m sure they have troops in this area.”
Now that was a
good idea! I had been in Brownie Scouts in our old neighborhood. It
was fun, but then Mom got pregnant with Nathan and we had to quit. Mom
was one of our leaders, but then she got sick and had to stay in bed for
a while, so after cookie sales, we just kind of stopped having
meetings. “Would you be the leader?” I asked Mom.
for a moment, “You know that I would like to be the leader, but how
about if we wait until next year to start our own troop? For now, why
don’t we just see if we can find a troop for the rest of the year?” She
“OK,” I said. “Call today, so I can start right away.”
“You know,” Mom said. “I think Kinsey is old enough for a Daisy
troop. Do you think she’d like scouts too?” Kinsey always had to do
everything I did, but I guess I wouldn’t mind so much. We wouldn’t be
in the same troop. We probably wouldn’t even meet on the same day.
Boy, was I wrong! Our troops did meet on the same day and in the same
place. We met at a Methodist church in West Jordan. It was a little
strange at first. I’d never been in a Methodist church before, but we
got used to it after a while. It was much smaller than our church and
all of the scout meetings were held on Monday nights. They had troops
for all of the levels in the same place, but the Juniors were in a
different room from the Daisy girls. My leader was kind of weird. She
didn’t really want to work on patches or anything. She just seemed to
like to spend time with the girls. I was kind of glad when we only met
with that troop for about two months.
As it turned out, Mom
didn’t sign up to be my scout leader for the next year because she was
playing volleyball at our church when she hurt her knee bad enough that
she had to have surgery. She went to the hospital while we were at
school. Dad went with her and Grandma came to stay with Nathan and
Kiyna. Mom’s surgery was over by the time we got home, but she was way
too sick to see us. Even when she came home the next day, she just kept
Mom was very cranky. I was glad to leave the
house every day to go to school. When I came home, she would be lying
on the couch in the same place. She had a leg brace that ran from the
top of her thigh to her ankle. She couldn’t even go to the bathroom
without help. She had crutches, but she couldn’t use them very well.
She had stitches down the front of her leg and I had to rub her knee
around the stitches to keep her skin from scarring. And she always
needed something; a drink of water, her scissors, a book, some
crackers. The list went on and on.
I tried to hide in my room
when I got home from school so that she would ask someone else to help
her, but she always wanted me to come anyway. Dad said that it was
because I was the oldest and Mom knew I was responsible. I ended up
baby-sitting Nathan and Kiyna because Dad had some big thing going on at
work. For a few days our neighbors brought us meals, but after that, I
even had to cook supper for all the kids.
After a week or so, Mom
started going to physical therapy, but she couldn’t drive herself, so
Dad or Grandma had to take her there. Dad had gotten a new job in
October, so he couldn’t get off all that much, and Grandma only stayed
for a couple of weeks. The worst part about Mom not being able to drive
was that we couldn’t get where we needed to go either. I had piano
lessons and early morning band. We couldn’t go to the grocery store or
WalMart. I hated being stuck at home. There were times when I just had
to get out of the house. It was November, but it was still pretty
warm, so sometimes, I’d climb out the window in Mom and Dad’s room and
just sit on the roof. I even took a book out there a couple of times,
just to get away from everything.
Christmas came again. We
couldn’t do much because Mom was still using the crutches. The doctor
told her that she was going to be fine, but I thought he was crazy. It
looked to me like she would probably limp forever.
By March, I’d
had enough. I was tired of being Mom’s slave and tired of baby-sitting
and tired of school and jobs and homework. Mom got pregnant after her
surgery. It wasn’t that I didn’t want another brother or sister. It
was just that Mom usually got cranky when she was pregnant and with the
knee, things just went from bad to worse.