A few days after the wedding, Callie came by to see everyone. But, instead of coming in through the front door as usual, she decided to spend some time alone in the family plot. She didn’t come by as often, and she had something important to share and wanted Brady to know about it first. However, Viviana spotted her and ran out to see her.
“Hello, my dear! What are you doing here? Have you been out here all night?”
“No…just a few minutes,” Callie said.
“Oh. Ok. Well, come here! It’s nice to see you,” Viviana said and pulled her into a hug. “Did you guys have a nice time?”
“Yes, we did.”
Callie and Graham went away for two days. Everyone called it a honeymoon. She called it a time of focused togetherness.
“I knew you guys were coming back today, but I didn’t expect to see you so soon,” Viviana said happily.
“I know. I just wanted to tell you…tell daddy…we’re expecting.”
She really was excited, but being there in the family plot looking at her father’s grave, seeing how her mother aged, and having screwy hormones made her a bit emotional. Viviana was emotional too, so much so she needed to take a seat to take in the news. As a grandmother, she loved all her grandchildren. But somehow the ones who came from her daughters were extra special. Perhaps because of the shared experience. Whatever the reason, Viviana was overjoyed.
“Oh! Oh sweet Watcher! I’m so happy! That is amazing news,” she gushed.
“Yes…it is long-awaited amazing news,” Callie said and joined her mother on the bench.
“Look at you…our sweet princess…finally a mother! Enjoy these years. I know you wish they would have come sooner, but enjoy them. If you have a few, they will buy you some more time, but your children will grow up so fast! One minute, you’re changing their diapers, and then next minute they’re leaving school and moving out of your house. No matter how this child comes out, cherish every moment. Don’t spend your time obsessing over how the child will turn out or what you think you’re doing wrong.”
“Is that what you did, mother?”
“At first. When it was just you and Julian, I spent more time trying to make sure we didn’t screw you up than I did enjoying motherhood. I was afraid all the time and constantly worried about how you all felt and what you would get into and what would happen to you. That’s all natural, of course, but make sure you don’t wallow in it and become obsessed.”
“How do you think you got over it?”
“I was forced to. When I enrolled in medical school, I had to quickly get over it or I would be a mess. I had to trust that I was doing my job as a mom without stopping to critique myself. And then, of course when I was pregnant with Emerson and going through the board exams, I got to see my work in action. You two were older and taking care of yourselves and helping your father…it was beautiful. Every feeling I ever had about not being good enough and doing things wrong washed away when I saw how wonderful you all were without me hovering.”
“Well…I’m not terribly concerned about it,” Callie said confidently. “How could I not become the best mother there is when I was raised by the best mother there is?”
“Oh…you are sweet.”
Julian was sharing his knowledge of astronomy with Janessa and sent her inside to go to bed when he saw Callie and Viviana sitting together. “Heeey! When did you get here,” he asked.
“A half hour ago, I guess.”
“Soooo…how was everything? Were you guys successful?”
“We were,” she said.
“Jumping freezer bunnies! That’s epic! Congratulations!”
He was so glad that he and his sister were back on track. He wasn’t that much older than her, and they had always done everything together or fairly close to each other. When he got married and started having children, he felt like he had left her behind. But, now she had caught up with him again.
Viviana sighed. “My two babies. Now they give me grandbabies. Am I really that old?”
“Well…speaking of babies, I should probably go help Jeannette get mine in bed. When will I see you again, Callie?”
“I’ll call you when I’m home from the hospital.”
“Great. All right, g’nite ladies.”
Julian disappeared into the house, and Callie was thinking about heading home as well; it was almost 11:00. Suddenly, the family plot was filled with an eery fog. Both women could see a figure of a man inside. They knew it was him. Viviana was ecstatic, but Callie was not prepared.
Tears formed in her eyes when she saw that it really was him, but she couldn’t talk to him. “Mother…I can’t! I can’t see him like this! I’m sorry…please tell him I’m sorry!” She ran away crying.
Poor dear, Viviana thought. When Brady had fully materialized, he turned toward her and smiled. She got up and embraced him.
“Hello, sugar bear.”
“I swear…you get more beautiful with every passing day!”
She smiled and said, “And you still have a silver tongue.” They stood there looking at each for a few moments before Viviana changed the subject. “Callie was just here. Did you hear her news?”
“Yes! That’s so great! I wish I could have come out sooner.”
“It’s fine. I don’t think it would have mattered. She’s not ready to see you…like this.”
“Oh. Well, I can understand that. It must be hard for her to be away from home right now,” he said.
“Yes, but remember, she has a home now.”
She noticed something his tone and his demeanor. He was off some kind of way. “Are you ok, sugar bear? You seem…well, I don’t know what you seem like. Come. Let’s sit.”
He floated over to the bench where Callie had sat a few moments ago. “I’m just so…bored. Being here still is like being trapped. I spend more than half of my time floating around in the dark just waiting for an opportunity to come up here. And I don’t even get it all the time.”
“Oh. You don’t want us to let you go, do you,” she asked with disappointment in her voice.
“No. I just…I’ll be fine.” I’ll be fine until you can join me.
“Good. Are you free to stick around?”
“I have all night.”
A few hours later, the Pruett household began to awaken beginning with Emerson. He wasn’t terribly hungry, but wanted to put something in his stomach before school and ate one of the doughnuts Viviana made for his nieces and nephew. Brady heard someone stirring around the kitchen and got up to speak to whomever it was. Emerson felt someone behind him and saw Brady hovering there when he turned around.
“Hello, my young man. Sorry I couldn’t come to your party.”
“It’s ok. I had to share it with Jeannette anyway.”
“So…how are you? Any young ladies in your life?”
“Ehhhhhhhh,” he said in a high pitched voice. “Maybe?”
Brady laughed heartily. “Maybe? So, that means yes. What’s so confusing about it?”
“Well, we’ve been friends since kindergarten, dad. And we’ve been teenagers for just a few days…I don’t know how things change that quickly…”
Brady laughed silently at his child’s innocence. He knew exactly how things could change so quickly.
Emerson continued, “…and then I played chess with her, and I realized that Julian was right!”
“Julian? Right about what?”
“About chess being how relationships start.”
Brady laughed even louder. “He told you what?”
“He said playing chess is how relationships begin!” Brady was laughing uncontrollably.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to laugh so hard. So…you like this girl, huh?”
“A little,” Emerson said still confused about why Brady laughed so hard.
“Well, that’s good, son. Take your time. Get to know her, and don’t rush. And don’t be a heart breaker!”