Marla got up from the desk where she was typing notes feeling a sudden urge to pee. Holy shit. She thought to herself as she opened the door out of the office to the restroom in the outside of the office. As she walked down the hallway she started walking with another one of the therapists- Tovah.
”How are you and the hubs?” she asked Marla as they waited for the two bathroom doors to open.
”Ehhh..we’re okay. He left this morning for South America. He’ll be gone for three weeks..so it’s a bummer. But I think we’re okay.” Marla answered.
”Ahh…okay. I just don’t know what I would do if my husband wasn’t around like he is. It must be really really tough.” Tovah responded.
”Yeah. It’s tough. But we figute it out somehow. Lots of ichat, texts and late night phone calls.” Marla answered as they walked into their respective stalls. ”But what I’m really afraid of is that I’m pregnant again.”
”You what?” Tovah asked as the toilets flushed and they walked to wash their hands.
”Yeah..I’m like two weeks late.” Marla replied.
”It could be the stress. I mean…y’all have been in stressful situation and all.” Tovah answered.
”I don’t know. I feel pretty shitty and I haven’t even felt like I’ve had any seizures at night and good lord..I have to pee all the time.”
”You should probably at least take the test….” Tovah told her.
”Yeah….” Marla sighed as they walked back to the office.
Marla sat on the couch watching Rosie draw on a big piece of paper laying on the floor. She glanced down at her phone alerting her to e-mails and text messages.
Call me when you get a chance.
She texted Bruno with no urgency, just needing to hear his voice. She watched Rosie finishing her drawing running over to her mother to have her finish the drawing. Marla laid down on the floor next to her daughter asking her what she wanted to be on the paper. ”Mom….draw love…” she told her.
”Okay…” Marla smiled writing the word out in bubbly letters.
”No! What is looks like mommy….” she restated her request.
”Oh…um.m…okay…” Marla said sliding over to get a few markers starting to draw the three of them with Rosie standing in the middle with Bruno and she holding her hands.
”Wait…” Rosie said taking a marker from her mother drawing a circle with strings on it. ”There…now it’s love….momm…you need music for love. Isn’t that what dad said?”
”Oh…” Marla remembered one of the songs on his second album that mentioned that exact phrase. ”You’re right….” Marla responded holding the markers. ”Are you ready for bed?”
”No.” she answered standing up to get the markers Marla had just put away. What is with this attitude? Is it because he’s gone? He does exactly the same things that I do. Marla wondered to herself.
”Rosalia…if you stay up late then you’re not going to be able to get up for school..and I know you want to go to school tomorrow…”
”No, mama. I don’t want to go. I want to stay home like I do when daddy is home…I want to stay home with you and watch Finding Nemo.” she told her mother.
”We can do that tomorrow, night, mama…” Marla said taking the markers from her daughter’s hand.
”No.” Rosie answered taking the marker from her mother’s hand walking to the wall uncapping the marker.
”Rosalia…” Marla called her daughter in a low calm voice as she saw her daughter slash colors along the wall. Marla walked into the kitchen picking up a magic eraser from the cabinet handing it to her daughter. ”I need you to clean that up and then we’ll get you a bath…” Marla took the marker from her daughter’s hand putting them on the highest shelf possible. She watched her daughter scrub the marker starting to cry.
”Mamaaa….I don’t want to….I want to talk to dadddddddyyyyy…” she whined. I’m holding my own tonight. He’s not gonna have any part of this little booger’s temper tantrum. She said to herself feeling her phone vibrate. Damnit. She ended the call before it could ring feeling it vibrate again. She reached for the off button as she watched her daughter finish cleaning up her mess.
”Are you done?” Marla asked wiping the small tears off her daughter’s chubby cheeks. Rosie nodded her head hugging her mother.
”Mama…I love you.” she said running into the bathroom grabbing her pink towel.
”Okay Rosie..let’s get this movin’ lady…I’m tired…” she said covering her daughter’s hair in water and shampoo.
”Sing a song with me mama….” Rosie said starting to sing one of the songs they sang at home. Marla finished the bath with her daughter getting her ready for bed. ”Mommmaaaa….I can’t sleep. I can sleep with you….” she told her mother.
”Not happening, my love.” Marla said turning off the light to the bedroom.
”Mommmmm…..” Rosie got out of the bed hanging on her mother.
Marla reached down to talk to her daughter. ”Baby..you have to be a big girl and sleep in your bed. I know it’s hard. Growing up is hard.” she told her daughter laying her back down.
”No.” Rosie said running back into their bedroom. I’m gonna Super Nanny the crap out of this kid.Marla thought to herself picking up her daughter taking her to the bedroom without saying a word. Rosie started to cry even harder as she sat by her bed making loud noises to make her mother pay attention to her. No. Not happening. She looked at her phone switching it on seeing 4 voicemail messages from Bruno. She texted him back telling him she was dealing with Rosie. And we want more. She sighed putting her headphones on to listen to Lana Del Rey. She felt her phone vibrate from one of Bruno’s text messages.
I love you. You can do it.
Marla pulled out her headphones about 30 minutes later to make sure Rosalia was okay since she was okay. She walked slowly to her daughter’s room running her fingers along the pictures on the wall. She peeked in the room seeing her daughter laying on the floor stretched out every which way possible holding onto the frog her father had bought her. I’ll leave her there for a little. Marla thought to herself walking back to the living room by her phone. She picked it up calling Bruno.
”Hey there lovely girl.” he sang to her as he picked up the phone.
”Were you sleeping/? I’m sorry.” she told him.
”No, baby girl. I was just waiting for Rosie to fall asleep. I knew she would.” he told her sweetly.
”She’s passed out in the middle of the floor.” Marla laughed.
”Dammmmnnnnn.” he said to her. ”She’s starting early. What was she drinking? Red Bull and vodka?”
”She ODed on Capri sun.” she told him.
”That shit is strong, babe. Are you sure she’ll make it through the night?” he asked her.
”It’s questionable. She might wake up with a hangover.” Marla answered him.
”Oh. Just make sure to get her some advil. I think she’ll be okay. But did she get chocolate wasted?” Bruno asked her continuing their ridiculous conversation.
”Woah there buddy. She’s only 4. Not 44.” Marla answered.
”You’re right Capri Sun and chocolate cake may be too much.” he replied starting to laugh at her. She felt his smile through the phone making her melt.
”Bruno…I’m pregnant again.” she exclaimed trying to get his attention.
”Mar…don’t fuck with my head.” he answered her seriously.
”Bru…I’m like 2 weeks late and I feel like I did last time. So I took the test. It came back positive.” she answered him calmly.
”Mar….I don’t know if I should be happy or surprised or….” he trailed off not sure how to answer.
”Bruno…I know I said I didn’t want it to happen to make us better…but I’m really happy. ” Marla told him.
”Everything will be perfect, Marla. It just wasn’t right last time. This is right. I know it. There’s just something about right now….I’m almost done and then I can take that giant enormous break I was telling you about and it can be the four of us…and you can get your license and not have to worry about anything because I’ll be there.” he tried to reassure her. ”Baby..are you crying?”
”No…no…I’m not…” she sniffed.
”Mar….they’re happy tears. I know that.” he told her making her laugh.
”You’re right. ” she smiled in the phone stretching out in the bed with the light off.
”I’m always right.” he told her.
”Oh. Yeah. You’re always right.” she answered him.
”I sense a bit of sarcasm in your voice, Marley.” he told her.
”Ahh…see you’re always right then.” she replied.
”You’re amazing Mar. I love you.” he responded to her comment waiting for her to answer. ”Oh…good night Mar.”
You told me that Rosie was a handful last night. I’m sorry I wasn’t there to take care of her for you. But, I’ll be home soon. I love you.
”Momma….” Rosie asked her mother while eating breakfast the next morning.
”Que?” Marla answered.
”Can I put the sticker on the map? Daddy’s in Brazil….” she put down her bowl running to the map grabbing the stickers. ”That’s right here…” she pointed to the large South American country.
”You’re so smart!” Marla cheered pointing to the city he was in that day hugging her daughter.
”Mommy…you’re hot. Are you getting sick?” Rosalia asked her mother pointing to her stomach. ”Your tummy has a fever.” Marla tried to hold back the laughter that was building up. ”Mommmyyyy…you can’t get sick!” Rosie looked at her mother almost about to cry. Marla bent down to her daughter wiping away her tears. ”Mamaaaa….nooooo….”
”Rosalia….I’m okay, nena. I’m okay.” she said rubbing her daughter’s head taking her hand leading her to her bedroom to get dressed.
”No, mommy. Tell me you’re okay.” Rosie said throwing her clothes on the floor in defiance.
”Mama…look at your flower…” Marla picked up a small clay pot that they had planted some daisies in a few months in the past. ”You know how the dirt gets real wet to make sure the seeds grow? Like when we water it?” Marla asked her daughter who took the pot in her hand touching the dirt confused. ”There’s a little seed in my tummy…like the pot…and the fever is the dirt to make sure it grows….”
”Mommy..you have daisies growing in you? Are you crazy?” Rosie asked her mother.
”There’s a little baby in there. It’s like a seed. You were like that once.” Marla told her daughter who looked at her mother even more confused.
”But momma…I don’t understand.” Rosie answered putting the pot down. ”Seeds don’t turn into babies. You’re silly.”
”Well, you’ll just have to wait and see.” Marla answered grabbing a sweater for her daughter as they walked out the door to her pre-school. Shit. She’s gonna tell everyone. Marla thought to herself as she buckled her daughter into the car seat. ”And only you and daddy know about the seed right now, okay? We’ll have a big party to tell everyone about it…like a surprise party…but you can’t tell anyone about the party, okay, Rosalia?”
”Okay, mama.” Rosie answered.
Marla sat down in the first group therapy session of the new school year with a group of 13 and 14 year old girls suffering through the loss of their parents. She introduced herself just by name and asked the girls to introduce themselves. She was working with 6 very unique girls, Veronica, Mikayla, Jessica, Caroline, Phoebe and Katrina.
”Miss…we only know you’re name. If you want me to talk to you about things you have to tell me about you too.” Veronica told her.
”Well then. What do you want to know?” Marla asked them.
”Are you married?” Jessica asked.
”Yes I am.” she said as the girls looked at her ring.
”Miss..that’s huge.” Jessica answered making Marla blush.
”Miss…do you have kids?” Jessica asked again.
”I have one daughter.” she answered pulling out her phone flipping to find a picture of just Rosalia. She handed the phone to the girls showing them a picture of her standing next to Bruno’s mom and sisters.
”Misssss…..I know who that is!” Mikayla exclaimed. ”You’re Bruno Mars’s wife! No fucking way!”
”Misssss….you’re so cool!” Veronica screamed. ”I want to see a picture of the two of you. I bet you’re soooooo cute together!”
”Maybe one day. But I want to hear about the 6 of you before I tell you anymore. Okay?” Marla tried to get them back on track with their session.
”Ugh. Okay Miss Marla. But you have to tell us if he’s a good kisser.” Caroline finally spoke up.
”Okay..that’s enough…some things y’all don’t ever need to know…” Marla said handing them the pieces of paper for their activity.
Marla pulled her SUV in the pre-school parking lot later in the day stopping to say hello to several of the other mothers picking up their children. She saw Rosie playing with clay at a table in the back of the room with several other kids. She touched her daughter’s hair making her jump. ”Lo siento, mi amor. Are you ready to go home?” she asked her daughter.
”Mom….look…” Rosie pointed to her clay flower she was making that was surprising very good for a 4 year old. I’ve got a baby artist. Marla laughed to herself. ”Because you have a flower in your tummy.” she said loudly.
”Your mom has a seed in her tummy?” one of the kids asked.
”Mama…I didn’t tell anyone though. It’s still a secret that your tummy has a fever because you’re gonna have a baby.” Rosalia said loudly catching the few other mother’s off guard.
”Marla! Are you serious?” one of the mothers asked. Marla shook her head disguisted by her wordy daughter.
”We’re not sure yet.” Marla answered taking her daughter’s hand leading her to her backpack. ”Let’s go, Rosalia.”
”Mama…I didn’t tell anyone! I didn’t!” Rosie exclaimed as they walked toward the door.
”I know you didn’t Rosie.” Marla answered opening the door for her daughter. They drove home and she made them dinner getting ready for a normal night remembering that Bruno had texted her earlier in the evening saying that he was going to call them that. Marla gave her daughter a quick bath telling her that her dad was going to call them getting her even more excited that before.
”Mommmm…I want to talk to dadddyyyy…” she sang to her mother as she dried off her hair brushing it to the side seeing the small curls already forming making Marla laugh. ”What?” Rosie asked widening her eyes.
”You’re just very cute and you’re getting very big. One day you’ll be taller than me.” she said picking Rosie up leading her to the couch. ”Why don’t you try to sleep while we wait for your dad, okay?” she asked her daughter/
”I am tired….” Rosie answered laying her wet hair on her mother. Marla ran her fingers through her daughter’s hair the same way she would run her fingers through Bruno’s as she checked her e-mail on her tablet. She was shaken out of the e-mail hearing the skype window pop up.
”Shit.” she jumped moving Rosie’s sleeping head to get the computer. She pressed the button seeing Bruno smiling at her in his heavy framed glasses, curly hair and a bright yellow t-shirt. ”Hey.” she smiled back at him.
”Rosalia didn’t make it did she?” he asked her.
”No. She fell asleep the second I pulled the towel off her head. She had a busy day.” Marla told him. ”She had a busy day of being a big mouth.” Marla laughed.
”Who did she tell what to, Mar?” Bruno asked fully aware of his daughter’s rare ability to keep secrets.
”She hugged me this morning and said…wait…it’s too funny….” Marla had to catch her breath to tell Bruno the story about the seed.
”That girl is amazing, Mar.” Bruno told her. ”Even if she can’t keep a secret.”
”Well, I wonder who she got that from…” Marla raised her eye brow making him laugh.
”It wasn’t me!” he denied infectiously smiling at her.
”She also can’t tell a lie…I wonder who she got that from…” Marla told him.
”I’m really at a loss.” Bruno raised his hands up in denial making Marla burst out laughing.
”I need you to come home, Bruno. I miss talking to you like this before I go to bed.” she told him. ”It just makes everything right. ”
”I’ll be home soon, Marla.” he said giving her a sad face.
”It still doesn’t make it any easier.” she answered him feeling slightly sick all of the sudden. ”B…I gotta puke.” she told him starting to stand up running away.
”Mar?” he asked the empty screen. He looked through the screen seeing Rosie tossing and turning in her sleep suddenly sliding off the couch. ”MARLA! MARLA! COME HERE!” he yelled at her. ”Hurry….baby…..” he jumped near the screen seeing her run toward the living room. He watched Marla move Rosie to the ground the way they usually did unable to help in anyway. ”Mar….” Bruno got out breathlessly almost about to cry. ”Marley…..turn around..” he said softly hearing Rosie start to scream the moment she woke up. He could see Marla’s face red with tears as she hugged her daughter reassuring her that everything was okay. Marla bent down whispering in her daughter’s ear seeing her walk to the computer.
”Daddyyyyy…will you sing to me?” she asked.
”Of course…lay down, baby girl…” Marla picked up the computer moving it closer to the couch so they could all hear him as he started singing her a soft song that always made her fall asleep. He watched her eyes close and her body drift to sleep. ”Mar?” he asked her. ”Are you okay?”
She shook her head saying no. ”I hate this.” she told him. ”But I’ll be better tomorrow. I need to call the doctor too…you’re going to be home on Tuesday, right? So if I make the appointment for Thursday you could come?” she asked him.
”Mar….go to bed. I’ll have Ashley make the appointment for you. Stay home tomorrow too. You need a break, baby.” Bruno tried to calm her down seeing his wife’s head spin.
”And I have to get her to the doctor tomorrow…I have toooooo…” he could see her starting to shake. ”Bruno…it was really bad….”
”Marla…listen to me….” he stopped talking breathing with her the way Abby had taught them in therapy. She started to calm down listening to his breathing through the computer starting to cry.
”I’m just being a baby. I swear it’s the hormones.” she smiled at him.
”I’ll be home soon, Marla. I love you. You’re the most amazing mother in the world.” he reassured her.
”Thank you. I love you.” she sighed wiping the tears off her cheek.
”Good night, Marley.” he blew her a kiss watching her hand end the call. Marla closed the compute picking Rosie up gently placing her in their bed. She kissed her daughter on the head getting in the bed with her closing her eyes wiping the few tears off her cheek that had escaped after they got off the phone.
I know the end of the day was hard for you. You are the most amazing mother, wife and woman in the world. I don’t want you to ever forget that. I love you.
Marla woke up in the morning with Rosie’s arm on her head. She moved her daughter over getting up from the bed to look in the mirror. Eww. Really? She asked herself feeling nauseous. She stood there for a few seconds to gather herself taking her medication, brushing her teeth and putting her hair up. She called Jamie to tell her what happened and that she needed to take the day off. After that phone call she called her supervisor and cancelled her appointments. She watched her daughter start to move waking up. She smiled at her mother waving at her.
”Mama….my arms hurt.” she told her mother.
”I know, mija. We’re gonna take you to the doctor too, okay?” she asked liftig her daughter up.
”Mama…I didn’t get to talk to daddy last night…” she said in a sad tone.
”I know, mi Corazon…you’ll talk to him tonight, though, okay?” Marla reassured her daughter making her breakfast and getting her dressed for the early doctor’s appointment she had quickly made.Sometimes it pays to be famous. She thought to herself as the receptionist squeezed Rosalia into the schedule.
”Momma…is your tummy better?” Rosie asked while Marla helped her get in her jacket as they left the house.
”It’s still warm, mija. It’ll stay warm for a long time..until we see the baby…” she took her daughter’s hand placing it on her stomach. ”See?”
”Mommmaaa….I want to have a baby, too.” Rosalia told her mother. ”Like you. I want to do everything like you.”
”Oh…Rosalia. You can take care of this baby. Okay? With me and your dad…” Marla answered her daughter.
”But I want my own baby!” Rosie exclaimed.
”How about a baby doll?” Marla asked. ”You get to choose?”
”It’s not the same.” Rosie answered sadly.
”Well..we’ll see what you think about that when we go to the store to get you one…” Marla smiled at her daughter as they drove the 30 minutes to her doctor. They walked in and Marla signed them in sitting down next to her. Rosie looked at one of the kids playing with other toys walking over to them picking up the toy that the child was holding walking back to her mother.
”I want that….” Rosie said as the toy slipped out of the other child’s hand. Marla looked up from texting Bruno when she saw her daughter’s actions. Marla picked the toy out of her daughter’s hand giving her a dirty look.
”No, ma’am.” Marla told her handing the toy back to the child.
”But mommmm….” Rosie cried as the other mother went to comfort their child. Marla bent down to Rosie whispering in her ear.
”No. We’ll get you your own when we get your baby.” Marla tried to appease her daughter.
”But I want it nowwww!” Rosie said going back to the table.
”Noah…why don’t you share with her?” the mother asked smiling at Marla.
”Do you think you can do that, nena? Sit at the table with Noah and play?” Marla responded. Rosie nodded her head sitting down next to the other child.
”Hi…I’m Rosie..can I have that?” she asked the little boy.
”We can share…” he said not taking his hand off the toy seeing her try to pull it away from him.
”Rosie…play with him like you play with Tessa….” Marla told her daughter referring to Eric’s youngest daughter. Rosie took her hand off the toy looking for another one remembering that it made her cousin cry when she took toys from her. ”Thank you ma’am…” she responded seeing that she was playing by herself while waiting for the doctor.
”Is she your only one?” Noah’s mother asked.
”She’s our only.” Marla laughed.
”He’s my youngest…and you did a great job.” the mother answered.
”Oh, thanks. Sometimes I wonder what I’ve done to make her such a spoiled little booger sometimes.” Marla answered.
”She’s your baby. Just wait until there are more. Then you’ll see her real side.” the mother raised her eyebrow. ”Right…another one?”
”We’re not sure yet.” Marla answered.
The mother smiled seeing the doctor walk out to get his next patient. ”Congratulations. I’m pretty sure you’re next one is on the way.” she answered.
”Rosalia?” the doctor asked.
”Rosie..come on…” Marla held out her hand for her daughter leading them through the long hallway to the examining room. He went through the normal pieces of the appointment stopping to check on Rosie’s reflexes.
”We need to do another EEG just to make sure everything is stable.” the doctor told Marla after finishing everything. ”And I’d like to change her medicine..increase it a bit…the tolerance level may have gone up….”
Marla made a concerned look trying to decide if changing her medication was the best choice. ”Can we wait to do the EEG before changing the medicine?” Marla asked.
”Well…based on what you said she probably needs some changes sooner rather than later…” the doctor told her as Rosie jumped down from the table laying her head on her mother.
”Mommmm…I’m tired.” she said closing her eyes. Marla held onto her tightly continuing to listen to the doctor. Marla felt Rosie start to tense up suddenly in her arms. She looked at the doctor knowing the right answer was to increase her medication. The doctor picked Rosie up from Marla’s arms laying her down. Marla held onto her hand for a few seconds watching Rosie’s eyes open and her start to cry.
”Is that her normal reaction?” Dr. Reisch asked.
”She’ll start screaming in a few seconds.” she answered the doctor as she heard Rosie start to cry even harder.
”So that was the normal chain of events?” Dr. Reisch questioned.
”Yes…and then she’ll be normal in a few minutes.” Marla answered holding Rosie I her hand as she took the prescription the doctor was writing for her. ”Will this make it better?”
”We’ll have to wait and see. And schedule the EEG with Anna in the front.” he said leading them to the front. ”I’ll see you next week.” he told them walking back to the front to get Noah.
Marla scheduled the appointments looking through the shared calendar she and Bruno had on her phone making mental notes of all the appointments that were piling up. He’ll have to take her to this one..I’m in training all day…she put the next appointment in next to the obgyn and her own neurologist’s appointment leaving the office. ”Rosie..do you still want your baby?” Marla asked her daughter.
”I just want to sleep, mama.” Rosie said dragging herself to the car.
”Go to sleep, mama…it’ll be okay.” Marla said as they drove away.
Rosie fell asleep in the car not waking up when Marla picked her up from the backseat. ”Oh, mi amor..I know it hurts…” Marla said laying her on the floor in the pile of blankets she had laid out earlier in the morning. Marla laid down next to her daughter touching her face lightly with all the thoughts in her head spiraling. Is she going to get better? What about me? Is this baby going to be okay? Is he really going to stay home for longer than a month? What is going to happen? Her thoughts were interrupted by her phone ringing.
”Hi.” she answered the phone.
”Hey, mama…how is she?” Bruno asked Marla.
”She’s asleep right now. The doctor increased a bunch of her medicine, something about the tolerance.” Marla told him.
”Mar…I’ll be home soon. It will be okay.” Bruno reassured her.
”I know…I know…and it’s just hard. It’s just a lot.” Marla answered him.
”Do you know what the first thing I’m going to do when I get back?” he asked her.
”What?” she wondered.
”I’m going to hug both of you….” he smiled through the phone.
”I’ll be waiting.” she responded.
”Okay, mi amor..I have to go for sound check. I love you. I’ll talk to you later tonight.” Bruno said.
”Okay…I love you too. Have a good show tonight.” she told him hanging up the phone.
I know things are hard right now. Rosie is sick again and I’m not able to be there. Baby, things will change soon. I promise. I love you.