“Happy birthday, Julian,” said a sweet voice.
He turned around to see who it was and saw a very pregnant Holly behind him. He hadn’t seen her since the last birthday party and was surprised to see how quickly her new family was growing.
“Jumping freezer bunnies! Look at you! Where is Raphael,” Julian asked.
Her faced dropped a little. “He’s not coming. You know how he feels about this family…”
“Oh. Right. We’re all just a bunch of money hungry guys who don’t care about the rest of the family…whatever.”
“You know I don’t feel that way…right, Julian?”
“Of course, Holly. Come, sit. Mom made Monte Cristo sandwiches!”
Viviana was on another planet as she gazed at her son and grinned happily.
How blessed am I to still be here for this! Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I would witness my son’s last spin. How could it be that two of my children are about to be in the same age group as me? What a blessing it is to be able to guide them through life’s phases and prepare them for what is yet to come. What an amazing life I have lived!!
Julian didn’t want to wait until the end of the party to blow out the candles and gathered everyone around shortly after the arrivals. Everyone began to sing the happy birthday song, but Juliette had her own rendition.
“…and many moooooore! Oh, wait…this is your last one! HA!”
“Wow,” Julian said. “You’re really funny…NOT!”
He ignored his mean child and carried on with the festivities. He took a deep breath…
…blew out the candles, spun around, and was a very handsome old man!
Jeannette thought so too!
He looked at her and thought of how she would be doing this same spin tomorrow. Panning the room, he saw his children, siblings, niece, nephew, cousins and mother and also felt blessed. He loved his family so much and felt it was an honor to be the one to lead it for the next however many years he had left.
Juliette was still laughing at her poor joke, and Jeannette didn’t appreciate it. Sometimes I could hurt that girl!
Julian grabbed a slice of cake and went to sit down to eat it when he saw Jeannette going outside.
He took his plate and followed her.
“Is this seat taken,” he asked.
“It’s only open for handsome gentlemen.”
“Don’t mind if I do!”
They sat in silence and watched the sailboats go by while Julian finished his cake.
“Remember the last time we were out here together,” Jeannette asked.
“I try not to.”
“Well, see the thing is, most people try to forget all their plumhead moments,” he said.
She giggled. “That certainly was one of your best ones.”
“Come on, Jeannette…it’s my birthday! Your daughter already stuck a pin in my balloon…”
“Yes. The one who looks like you!”
“She looks like you!” She laughed at their attempts to disown their oldest. When she calmed down, she continued her thought. “It seems like it was only a few days ago I was out here walking away from you trying to teach you a lesson. A couple days ago we made love for the first time…and we dated and got married. Just yesterday we brought our kids home from the hospital. Now they’re almost grown…and we’re old. How did all of this happen so fast?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “I wouldn’t change any of it though.”
“Yeah! If things would have happened earlier, ok, yes we could have enjoyed it longer, but who would we be? We both learned some lessons along the way that were key to who we are today. I don’t think I’d change a thing. Would you?”
She looked to the sky and combed over her thoughts. “No. I wouldn’t either.”
He wrapped his arms around her waist, and she rested her head on his shoulder. “I love you, Jeannette. Choosing you was the best decision I ever made.”
Their tender moment was interrupted by the buzz in Julian’s pocket. Strange…everyone who would need me is in the house. He took the phone out of his pocket and saw that it was a text message. “It’s a message from Dexter.” Suddenly panic struck through his body as he quickly thought up 483 reasons why Dexter would be texting him. All of them involved Sasha being in peril. When he opened the message, the panic washed away and was replaced with a cheesy grin. “Look, Jeannette! It’s Dexter and Sasha!”
Jeannette tilted the phone toward her and smiled at the selfie. “Awww! They are so cute together!”
“Yeah…they are. I’m so happy for her. I still can’t believe she’s going to be a legacy spouse! That is so epic.”
“Heh, yeah…speaking of legacies…what should we do about Jonathan?”
He sighed. “That boy. I still can’t believe him either! What in Watcher’s name was he thinking about coming in at almost 3:00 in the morning on a school night completely juiced up? Where does that behavior come from?”
He continued. “Do you think we’re too ‘laissez-faire’ with our kids? It worked for my parents! We shouldn’t have to be helicopter parents to make sure our kids do the right things, right?”
“Yes…but, although I’m very disappointed with him, I’m not sure we can place all the blame on him…”
“Why not? He should know better than to be out that late on a school night!”
“Should he? We’ve never told him it’s improper.”
Julian’s face wrinkled, and he said, “He should know better! I think he’s taking advantage of our kindness.”
“But, Julian…don’t you see? I think we assume too much and teach too little. We assume he should know what’s right and what’s wrong. We assume Juliette should know where to draw the line. We assume Janessa knows what a healthy relationship looks like, meanwhile she’s going around kissing every boy she knows! We need to spend more time with them…especially now. We can’t leave them like this, Julian.”
“Hmm…you’re right. I suppose too much independence doesn’t work for every child.”
“Give their independence,” she said, “but keep an eye out…and talk.”
“I’ll talk to Jonathan, and you talk to Jan. We’ll have to figure out what to do with Juliette together.”