Status: Thank you for everything x

Footsteps for a Bride-to-Be

#9: "Solo Parenting"

July 9th, 2011

Michael, Baby Phelps and I all got home from Maui yesterday, which was actually a whole day later than we expected. That was because Lindsay was a day late to Maui and the time when we roamed around the resort was delayed too. I wasn't in any rush home because I had nothing to do, but Michael was the one in a bit of a rush because he had to train for the upcoming World Championships in Shanghai, China. I couldn't go because of Baby Phelps, and even if we could go, we were advised that longer distance travelling wasn't suitable for him. So then I imagined myself being a single Parent, which happened a lot too often since Michael's career had been so demanding for him that sometimes I couldn't help thinking that way. I was told off by Lia and Mom to not think about it.

12:50pm - North Baltimore Aquatic Club

I followed Michael when he went to train. Baby Phelps wasn't with us, that's why, because Debbie wanted some alone time with her Grandson and took him away from us the moment we touched down in Baltimore Airport. It was cute, but I suppose she hadn't seen her Grandson in a while, it was okay.
I leaned back against the bench and flicked through the pictures in Michael's phone. He'd taken a few, and some of them were already posted on his Social Media accounts. There was one that got him into trouble from me, and it was one where I went swimming in the pool with Baby Phelps and he captioned it, "Hot Momma", and that received quite a lot of attention that even Ryan Lochte sent me a message all the way from Florida just to tease me. But it seemed that he also posted up photos of when he went to go get his tattoo done, he was accompanied by Derek, who had a tattoo of Lia's name on his right arm.

"Hey you," I heard someone greet me as they situated themselves right beside me and peeked at the photo visible on the screen. "Can't believe you didn't see that?"
I weakly smiled. "I'm not as observant as you think," I remarked. "What did you think about your husband's tattoo, Lia?" I asked my best friend as we exchanged glances. She didn't look pleased with it either, but I guess it was of her name, she probably responded differently to it.
"Rather dirty," She sighed. "But it's a sweet gesture from our lovers, right?" She shrugged as she leaned back, and we both looked towards the pool where Michael and Derek were racing each other with Coach Bob observing with his arms crossed. "I was thinking of getting one with his name on it, but a small one, not as big as his. Probably a similar size as MP's," She went on. "What do you think?"
"I was going to ask if you'd come with me to get one," I revealed. "I had a bit of time to think about it after he showed me, and I was thinking of getting a matching one to Michael's."
"Don't make me get a matching one of Derek's," Lia pleaded. "Do you see how big it is?"
I laughed. "Okay, okay, just get a small one along your wrist or something?"
She looked down at her wrists and made a face. Her lips pursed together and curved to the side as she focused on her hands. "I was thinking of his name around my ring finger," She finally replied. "But I'll have to get it after the World Champs, because we can't really get it wet during a certain amount of time."
"Yeah, Michael asked me to cover his tattoo with bandage and a cut up plastic back every time he went into the water and shower," I said while looking back at his phone and swept through the rest of his photos. "How he managed to hide it from me, I will never know."

Lia left me a few minutes after that chat. She had to dip in the pool with the rest of the female team while the boys took a break before going to the outdoor pool to continue. I wanted to leave, but the other partners of the swimmers were there, and they all liked talking to me. There were also students there to watch, and even they liked conversing with me about things that relate to being in a relationship with the star swimmer in the club. Though, I'm actually pleased that they stopped with the private questions, but from time to time, it did come up and they made me feel uncomfortable. And sometimes, I didn't feel like talking, especially when Baby Phelps kept me up or if I wasn't really in the mood.
I wasn't in the mood that day.
Thankfully, Michael came to save my day. He came up to me with a towel wrapped around his lower half, even though it was really low, enough to make the female students coo and gasp and react to how he just left things to the imaginable. He approached me and excused me from the group of women, pulling me gently the side, looked around to see if anyone was looking, and out of the blue, pressed his lips against me.
"What was that for?" I asked with a giggle once we parted.
He only had his goofy grin on as he brushed away the strands of my brown hair from my face and tucked it behind my ear. "Can't I kiss you whenever I want?" He chuckled.
I shook my head. "No," I teased. "Anyway, how long until we go?"
"Are you getting impatient?"
"Yes," I quickly answered with a nod and a slight furrow of my brows. "I've already looked at all the photos in your phone, and in mine, and in our camera we took to Maui, and back to your phone," I listed down. "I don't get why you brought me with you today," I complained and I sounded like a really bored kid. Although Michael found that cute, he gave me a kiss on the forehead and said, "An hour. Can you survive that?"
"No, I think I'm going to die in the next five minutes," I joked.
"Wait for me?" He asked with begging brown eyes.
"I've always waited for you, and you know how I get when you make me wait too long."
"Yes I do," He nodded. "I love you, Anne," He grinned. His voice was a bit louder that I blushed because I noticed the people by the benches looked our way.
"I love you too," I smiled back. It wasn't embarrassing to say, but sometimes, the fact that Michael always had to announce things when I least expected it, had always made me blush. It was sweet and romantic of him, but I still wasn't used to it and I was quite conscious about those things too. Especially when they seem to get to the tabloids nowadays, since they found out that Michael and I were planning for our big day.
Michael tapped my butt as he dashed away from me. I was going to scold him, but then there was a weird feeling on the back of my white shorts, and when I took a peek, there was his wet hand print pressed quite visible right on the spot. I tugged at the bottom of my singlet and tried to hide it, but then Lia whistled to get my attention, and I turned to face her as she headed my way and she jogged passed me while pressing her hand on the other side of my butt.
There were two wet hand prints visible at the back of my pants.
I thought that was the end of it, but when I returned to the bench to get one of Michael's towels to sit on, Derek appeared out of nowhere and pressed his damp body against mine as he pulled me into a hug, and I groaned as I felt the material of my clothing press against my skin.
I was officially damp and everyone was staring.

Those three were so cruel to me.

3:40pm - Blue Moon Café

I was soaked because before they went to get changed to leave, Michael, Derek and Lia pulled me into a group hug, and Michael wouldn't drop by home to get clothes because he wanted to go eat. They were all dressed so casually, all three of them, while I complained about my wet clothes. So my fiancé gave me a spare white shirt with a smiley face print at the front, it was so loose on me to the point where the collar drooped down one side of my shoulder and it reached just midway down my thighs. Lia accessorized it by getting the belt from my shorts and wrapped it around my waist, which made the whole outfit look like a dress. And I supposed my complaints weren't heard because we made it to the café either way.

"How's the wedding planning going?" Lia asked as soon as we finished ordering.
I looked over at Michael, who wrapped an arm around my shoulder as he answered, "We've got the venue sorted, and I'm sure you'll love it."
"Maui," She cooed. "I haven't been, because a certain someone said that it wasn't his thing," She mumbled while glaring towards her husband, who had been busy nibbling at a piece of breadstick. He merely blinked and shrugged, looking surprised at the fact that we were all looking at him.
"You finally get to go now," I grinned. "But for now, I guess it'll be just me these next few weeks."
"Oh, yeah, sorry buddy," Derek finally spoke, muffling his words as his mouth was full. "But when we get back, it's all about making this wedding happen, right?"
"I can't wait to go with you when we try on wedding dresses!" Lia said with excitement in her tone. She even wriggled on her seat from the excitement. "We're here for you."
"See that, you don't need to stress," Michael whispered to me.

Ah, well, not for the next couple of weeks when they're in Shanghai, even Michael's Mom and Sisters were headed there too. I was going to be a solo Parent.
I can do it.


July 17th, 2011

All three Olympians were gone to Shanghai without me, and Janet, who had grown to be my closest friend, had been away with Luke and baby Joy for the week to visit her Family somewhere south. I was home alone with Baby Phelps for most of the time, and being a single Parent didn't seem bad at first, but that was until my dear son decided to get sick and moody. Everything couldn't have possibly filled up my time other than my Wedding Planning with Lindsay, who sent me things to deal with, which would've been better if Michael had been around too as he was involved in the planning as much as I was.

6:20am - Our Love Nest

The time difference between Baltimore, Maryland and Shanghai, China, was 12 hours apart, though in Shanghai, they were a day ahead. Michael, my dear fiancé, probably forgot or hadn't realized that the time difference was quite grand that he called me and forced me to go online so that he could report on what he was up to, especially since he left yesterday and he commented on how he may have just skipped a day in his life since he left. Something like that, I was basically half-asleep.
Baby Phelps was sick, so staying up past midnight was normal for the past three days.

"Wow, you look so exhausted, baby," Michael said over the webcam chat as I lay in bed, the laptop not too far from me. I saw my fiancé with a towel wrapped around his neck, sweat down his forehead and a bottle of water constantly being gulped down due to the heat, all the while, Derek and Ryan had pranced around at the background - half naked - and could be heard complaining about the weather change and how they needed to handle it for the whole time they were there.
Imagine what girls would do when they saw what I saw on a normal basis, sheesh.
"Oh, honey, you don't know how long it took just to try to put Baby Phelps to bed while he's going through this fever," I groaned as I let out a yawn. "It's like-"
"-Hot momma, you're still as pretty as ever," Ryan interrupted as he pushed Michael to the side so he could get a full view of the screen. I had to cover my chest area as there was some serious cleavage showing while I lay there in merely a tank top. He had a grin on his face as he was then pulled away by Derek, who I overheard, had told off the single Olympian and suggested the two go for a swim in the pool just outside the room. Michael waited until his two roommates had left before he turned back to me and smiled. He leaned forward and made a brief kissing gesture as he said, "I really wish I could help you."
"Too bad," I mumbled as my eyes began to droop down and my words had slurred a bit.
"Good night, Anne," He chuckled. "You look so exhaust-"
Then the sound of a baby crying completely filled up the room, and that only came from the baby monitor.
My eyes shot open as I sat up. "Behave yourself, Michael Phelps," I sternly reminded him. "I love you," I added before ending the chat and slammed the laptop shut. I pushed myself off the bed and rushed out to the other bedroom down the hall, which was owned by Baby Phelps.
I entered into room cautiously. Herman trailed after as we both approached the crying baby in the cradle. I leaned down and lifted the baby from his back and against me, my arms wrapped around him as I pathetically pleaded, "Shh, Mitchell. Please don't be mean to me as it's just me and you, and I don't know what to do without your Daddy. I bet you miss your Daddy, but please be nice to your Mommy."

Oh how bad it must've looked for me to have joined in with the weeping Baby Phelps as we both managed to fall asleep together in bed, with his head against my chest as his cute arms tossed over me and my hand on his back. I knew that I really couldn't handle it on my own for the next two weeks while Michael was away. I was a first-time Parent, so I, at least, needed someone's experienced guidance.
But Mom was away... Who else was there?


I cuddled with Baby Phelps on the sofa as we watched the Swimming World Championships on the TV, and every time Baby Phelps saw Michael, he would suddenly giggle or coo. He recognized his own Daddy, especially since his Daddy was always interviewed or the camera zoomed in on him while the commentators all had nice things to say about the Olympian. I made a sigh as I turned my head to Herman to watch him snooze by the edge of the sofa. Though the door suddenly rang and I stood up a bit too fast, which made Baby Phelps shake in my grasp from shock. I apologized to the baby with a kiss on the forehead before we both wandered to the door, confused at who may grace us with their presence.

It was my Father.

I didn't see that one coming. I didn't call him at all lately since I thought he and Kim were out of the States to some holiday getaway, and I'm certain that Mom didn't call him because I haven't told her anything about what went on lately since she was in Canada with Nick to meet and greet with Ralph's girlfriend, Hailey, and her Family. So what was he doing there?
Wasn't like him to do such a thing. And I saw that he had lugged a luggage behind him as soon as I opened the door. He stood there with a bright smile, his fingers coming through his greyish hair while his throat cleared and he greeted, "Hey there, Princess."
"D-Dad, w-what are you doing here?" I stuttered as I automatically stepped forward and tiptoed to give him a peck on the cheek. "I mean, I'm glad to see you and all, but I didn't know you were coming. I would've cleaned up a bit," I went on as he tugged his bag behind him and let it go. He turned to me and lifted Baby Phelps from my grasp and gave a big hug. His eyes closed as the two embraced. Once they parted, Baby Phelps cooed and giggled at the sight of his Grandfather. Though the two hardly ever saw each other as Dad was usually too busy to webcam chat as well as visit, and Baby Phelps usually didn't recognize people who he wouldn't see most of the time, but once he met eye to eye with my Dad, well, they clicked.
My Dad pursed his lips together, probably trying to hold back tears because his eyes suddenly got a bit watery. "I've missed you two, and I know that I wasn't around for most of yours and your Brothers' lives, Princess, so I think it's time I should make up for it through my first Grandson, Mitchell," My Dad sniffed as he held the baby at one hand and tugged his luggage towards the spare bedroom that we cleared for any guests, and halfway through the hallway, gave Herman a tap on the head before entering the room so casually. I followed him as he added, "I came because I know Michael will be away for some time, and I thought that it wasn't right that you were left alone, especially as a first time Mom, to take care of a baby. I always admired Maria for taking care of all three of you while I was away."
"Dad, you served the country, it's understandable, you know," I replied while crossing my arms.
"Still, I don't want to be out of this little guy's life too," He sighed as he placed his luggage to the corner and paid full attention to Baby Phelps. "But if you want me to go, I'll leave tomorrow."
I quickly shook my head. "No, Dad," I blurted. "To be honest, I need a little help. Mitch's been a bit sick lately, but you came at a good time, he's a bit better, but he'll act up. I wanted to call Mom, but she's busy with Ralph and I don't want to disrupt them. I didn't know what to do," I confessed in one go. I tried not to sound like I wanted to give up, my head even lowered to eye the floor in embarrassment, and if Baby Phelps understood anything I said, it probably sounded like I didn't want to be his Mom. I bit my lower lip to try and hold back anything else I wanted to say.
"Princess," I heard Dad say as he walked closer to me and I saw his feet right in front of me. I still didn't look up, but I felt his hand wrap around me and pulled me into a hug too. I instantly wrapped my arms around him, leaned against my head lightly against Baby Phelps and sighed. Dad then explained, "You're still my little girl, no matter how old you are, and just because I didn't have any time to spend with all three of you while being little kids, I still raised you three throughout your teenage years, and heck, that was equally as hard as raising you as babies. So don't worry, I'm here for you, okay?"

Dad was there for me throughout the whole time Michael was away, and he surprised me that he actually pulled it off as a great Dad, and I felt bad whenever he talked about missing out on every milestone each one of my milestones and reassured me that for every milestone Baby Phelps would cross, he was there.
All I could every say was, "Thanks Dad."
♠ ♠ ♠
Andy Pandy is feeling really guilty right now. What's gotten into me. I really want to finish this!!!!!!!!!
I've written part by part of all the other chapters, but never actually completed them. The GUILT I am feeling is so.. Ugh. And I feel like I'm getting crappier and crappier every chapter!!

Forgive me?