Friday, summer 2009
With the girls starting to crawl and talk, it’s really past the time to discuss Sam’s moving in terms. He’s been sleeping and showering at the old shed where I used to live, but he still does most of his meals with us here at the main house. Sometimes, he even volunteer to feed or change the twins. In other words, he has plenty time to “accidentally” drop the truth to my beautiful girls.
Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam sounds great. Uncle Sam makes everything simpler, easier, cleaner. Uncle Sam makes our family a regular and traditional one, not the patchwork that many kids – and once I, myself – have to deal with. Older brother Sam definitely doesn’t bring any good. I would have to admit to them that Leighton had another love before me – what I don’t like to admit even to myself alone! I would have to explain why they can’t meet Sam’s mother… or why Sam and I aren’t so much keen on each other.
I wasn’t so worried before because tiny creatures who can only cries, sleeps and poops couldn’t really understand the difference between mother, father, brother or uncle. Of course, the twins have their preferences – Antonia, for instance, had grew very attached to Leighton, who is the only one who can cope with her late night unstoppable crying – but I’m convinced that until now all of us just gathered below the “ones always around” umbrella.
Until now. From now on, with their improving communication skills, they will be able to understand the concept of family and the grey area surrounding it; not only the black and white of “yes, you can do it” and “no, don’t do that”.
I was sure I could bend Leighton. But Sam… He’s no longer a teenage, but I couldn’t be certain I wouldn’t get his goat with this particular topic. He’s not bad, but still doesn’t like me. When I’m around he mostly keep his silence. Of course, it could only be that he’s absorbed with his own worries about his job at the Wilsonoff Community Theater. But if you see how well he get along with Leighton or with our newly hired maid… well, he still have a problem with me.
Even so, I decided to bring the topic to consideration during our breakfast. I introduced the topic as carefully as I could, very differently from the anxious way I used last time. I even allowed myself to explain why having a traditional family was so important to me… and that’s exactly how I started. Telling Sam that my parents were divorced and I was thrown into a new family myself. And how I wouldn’t like that to be even near my girls’ mind. That I wouldn’t like them to think from the beginning that it could one day happen. He nodded and added he had his own bad beginning to grieve. He also felt like a man floating in space, no attachments at all, when he turned old enough to be told about his mother’s leaving.
When I continued saying that I would prefer if he accepted acting like Uncle Sam, Leighton didn’t act surprised at all. I guess he knows me enough now to be aware that I wouldn’t bend that easy: I’m fearless when it comes to fire, honor and family. Guess both Leighton and I expected anxiously for Sam’s answer. For me, only one would be acceptable. For Leighton, any – since we ended setting everything once and for all. Skeletons in the closet should be kept in the closet and not haunting us in the kitchen, the living room, the nursery…
“I really like the girls”. It was his answer. What is it supposed to mean? That he will do whatever it means to protect their safety and well being, even lying about his family connections? Or that he can’t leave them alone or deny he’s their half-brother? I was about to ask it, but the atmosphere in the room was really awkward. I could feel sadness in Sam’s tone and Leighton too, since he actually give his son a hint to change the subject.
I had to leave the table… still without an answer. But planned to go back to the subject after both men get back from work. And so I did, while dinning outside with Leighton, I explained I needed an answer: a direct one. Sam was in the kitchen getting his plate and was about to join us for the tough conversation when…
…when my water broked! Again!