Zaiden watched Grace play in the tunnel. He was happy to have his kids there, but was sad at how much they had grown since he last saw them.
He looked over at his mother. “How did you do it for so many years?”
“It wasn’t easy. There were many times that I almost risked it and came back.”
“Why didn’t you?”
“The risks to you and your father were too great.”
Zaiden thought about what his mother said. He knew that in her case, it was the men of her past that had been the danger.
“Do you think that I am a danger to my children?”
Colleen took the time to think about her answer. “This may hurt you to hear, and I am sorry, but I want to be honest with you.”
Zaiden looked away and sighed. His own mother didn’t think his kids were safe with him.
“Take the kids back to their mother.” He got up to walk to the greenhouse.
“Zaiden Andrew Maynard, set back down and listen to me.”
The look on Owen’s face would have been funny in different circumstances.
Colleen waited until Zaiden sat back down. “I know that you would never intentionally harm the kids. You didn’t mean for Owen to get hurt. We all know that. Right now all of you are testing the waters to see how this is going to work. The kids are already being hurt by you not being there every day. Today is a big step towards things getting back to normal. One false move and it all falls apart.”
Zaiden listened to his mother while he watched the kids. What she was saying made a lot of sense.
“That new guy Raelyn is dating is not father material.”
Zaiden’s head whipped around to look at her mother. “She’s dating somebody?”
Colleen nodded. “He’s one of her dad’s guys.”
Zaiden wasn’t surprised that she was moving on, but it still hurt.