Finding Time is dedicated to all parents, but especially to mothers who lose their way. As a mother to four children, I know the trials and tribulations.
What happened to the spark? Ten years of marriage and four children later, Eliza Prince had no idea. She pursed her lips, crossed her arms over her chest, and stared at her children’s tiny faces. Her eldest daughter held a mutinous glare. Her youngest son hollered and whined, attempting to garner her attention. The two middle children argued over Netflix on the computer.
Eliza sighed; a bone deep, soul aching, exhale of breath. Who was she? When did her needs meld into the background, gainsaid by the needs of her family? She peered out the window, as her husband, Jett, pulled into the driveway of their modest home. She listened to the squeals of excitement when she yelled, “Daddy’s home!” above the incessant yapping, capturing their attention. They bolted towards the door, exuberance in every step. Eliza fled to the sanctuary of her bedroom, collapsing on the bed in defeat.
She lay face down, fingering the soft wool comforter, and listened to the riotous laughter echoing through the walls. No doubt Jett wrestled with the munchkins. Every day when he came home from work, he played with the children. Her kids were lucky. She knew that. Her own father lacked the ability to play. Eliza grew up the child of an alcoholic, with a mother who shielded her two children the best she could. Eliza’s father never abused them. He never hit them, though he yelled. The disregard hurt the most.
Eliza grew up far too early. Her younger brother, born premature at twenty-nine weeks, required constant care. At four years old, Eliza knew CPR, and how to run an apnea monitor. She learned to tickle her brother’s feet to stimulate her brother’s heart and lungs if the alarm beeped.
Eliza was never a child. She didn’t have imaginary friends. She lacked in playmates because her brother’s wellbeing came first, and her mother was frazzled, being a single parent. No, her parents had never divorced, but her father avoided taking an active interest in Eliza or her brother. That left her mother to do the work of both mother and father.
She shook her head, trying to clear the maudlin thoughts. Where did they come from? She hadn’t thought about her childhood in a long time. She strained her ears and listened to the squawking. Even though Eliza was down in the dumps, her lips turned up at the unfiltered joy coming from her children. Her family was her everything. She’d do anything for her husband and kids.
Even repress her sexuality.
Obviously, she and Jett had sex. A few times a week if they were lucky. Finding time for each other became a battle. Harder than she’d ever imagined.
The decision to start a family was easy. It felt right. They’d been married almost two years, both had successful jobs, and owned a home. When their daughter Rose joined the fray, the sun shone brighter, and her laughter filled Eliza and Jett’s ears with love. When they found Rose to be a terrible sleeper, they shrugged it off. They didn’t listen to anyone else’s advice about parenting. Eliza and Jett did what felt right to them. If Eliza’s libido took a hit because of the sleep deprivation and constant nursing, they dealt with it, each in their own way.
Rose had turned nine months old, and Eliza had had enough. She couldn’t work full-time, be up all night, and take care of the household.
Something had to give.
The logical choice was her career. A career Eliza loved and took pride in. A career that made her cry every day because a stranger raised her daughter, instead of her. After talking with Jett, they decided to sell their large Painted Lady, and buy a smaller, more practical home. That way Eliza could stay home and raise the kids herself. Both Jett and Eliza wanted more children.
Sara came next, born when Rose neared two years old, Sara entered the world and brought more joy. And chaos. Another newborn needed constant affection and handling, but Eliza didn’t relay on other people. She never went out. Instead, she and Jett chose to stay home and parent their kids. Jett grew up without a father and determined early on he would always be around for his children. He’d give them all the attention he missed out on. Jett showered the girls with love and affection; he played with them, took them on car rides looking for deer in the fields, and snuggled with them on the couch.
Eliza never thought she’d be jealous of her husband and children’s relationship, but she was, though she tried to never let it show. Deep down, she understood his need to constantly prove he was a good father. But she harbored resentment towards her husband and, by proxy, her girls.
She wasn’t a woman in her husband’s eyes any longer, becoming a mother, and only a mother.
Over the next few years they added two boys, and the family went from four to six with the chaos multiplying. Eliza didn’t have time for Jett, but he worked hard to provide for the family and he came home exhausted. Most evenings he slept in the living room so the baby didn’t wake him up all night long. Since he worked and she didn’t, the arrangement seemed fair, but weighed on her heart. She woke up lonely most mornings.
Eliza harbored more resentment. She struggled waking up every two hours with the baby, while potty training her three year old son. Though Rose and Sara went to school, all of the family stress had killed her sexual side for so long, it barely existed anymore.
Her body changed throughout the baby rearing years, leaving her shy and uncomfortable in her skin. Jett told Eliza he loved her, and her body, but she didn’t believe him. One of her breasts was larger than the other from years of nursing. She had road maps to buried treasure written on her skin. She dressed frumpy; her attire consisted of a two pairs of jeans and six pairs of flannel pajama pants. On any given day, she’d be lucky to shower. How could her husband be turned on by her?
She withdrew and stopped caring.
She forgot how to be sexual. She forgot how to flirt. She couldn’t even remember the last time Jett grabbed her and thrust her against a wall, kissing her senseless like he did when they were young. Propriety was their game now. God forbid the children see them ravish each other.
So Jett grew accustomed to nights on the couch, and Eliza, well, she cuddled with the baby—who claimed the whole bed, leaving her a sliver of sleeping space. She missed the tangled legs of a lover and being enfolded in embracing arms. Eliza missed the heat.
She lived on the cusp of breakdown. Her life floated around her, as she morphed from driver to passenger, finally landing in the back-seat of her boring existence.
Fifteen minutes later, vexed and horny, Eliza gave up waiting for Jett to come find her. She closed her eyes, lifted her ass in the air so she could slide her hand under and down the front of her jeans, and she stroked herself. She fantasized…
She waited just inside the bedroom as Jett sauntered in behind her and shut the door. He locked it before he turned to face her, walking to invade her space. He continued to force her to either stand her ground or retreat.
He stepped forward. She stepped back. Ten paces later her back hit the wall. Jett’s gaze never left hers. His eyes smoldered and made her think of glittering emeralds under a dark sky. They entranced her. He extended his arms and caged her inside his warm, masculine body. Eliza shivered with desire. He licked his lips, and Eliza watched his tongue dart out. She wanted to taste him.
“I’ve been looking for you, love.”
Eliza wet her lips, voice throaty as she replied, “I’ve been in here. Waiting for you.”
“The kids are busy. Get undressed.”
Eliza swallowed but followed his direction. She removed her shoes, her pants and her shirt. Jett did the same. His unhurried manner turned her on. Where she whipped off her clothes as fast as she could, Jett took his time, savoring her reaction. He pressed against her and the warm contact made her wet. He wedged a meaty thigh between her legs, the friction on her clit a welcome distraction from her insecurities about her lopsided breasts. She relaxed as he leaned down and nuzzled her neck, then kissed his way up and bit down on her ear lobe. Having been married so long, Jett knew what she liked, made her knees weak, and had her cloying closer.
Jett teased open her lips, tracing them with the tip of his tongue, before entering her mouth and mimicking what he would soon be doing to her pussy.
Eliza let out a low moan. Her fantasy Jett turned her on something fierce. The real life Jett, though passionate and attentive, didn’t dominate her. He never told her what he wanted, or what to do. For two people that had been married for nearly ten years, they were both submissive and shy.
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