narrated by: Julia
This is my year at Jefferson High School, and I can’t wait to get out of here. Even when Lauren spread rumors that it wasn’t Isaac’s baby I was pregnant with, that wasn’t so hard to take with good friends like Alice to have my back. But now I’m here alone, and have no one to sit with at lunch. I know that in the grand scheme of life, that a lunch partner isn’t the worst thing that could happen, but it feels lonely.
I got my acceptance letter for Eastborough, but Mrs. Grimsley is still harping on me to pull better grades. Before Nolan I had an A average, but now it’s a solid C, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. If I wasn’t getting into college, then I would understand, but I am, so what’s the point?
I look forward to the last bell of the day, all the other students gather together to finalize their plans and I get to just go home. Mom and Dad still don’t let me do anything fun, but I don’t have anyone left in town to do anything with anyway.
Simon does alright with friends at school, but no one is begging to come home with him off the bus, but he doesn’t seem to mind. I wish I could have that kind of nonchalance over it all.
Grandma spent all these years wanting a grandson to pass the business to, and then came Simon. He’s quirky, and geeky, and lives in his own head. Mom loves him of course, I think she was partially afraid to have a son, because he’d team up against her and become like Grandma’s second son.
Mom does some petty things to get back at Grandma, like drink out of the carton, but never to her face. I’d like to think if I was a grown up that I’d be more brave, but I don’t know that I really would.
Since I got pregnant with Nolan though, it seems that I’ve solved all the family relationship problems, because no one is worried about who will take over Northern Moose now. And Grandma isn’t outright rude to Mom anymore. I guess it’s a silver lining, but it makes me miss the old days when I knew what to expect with my family.
Dad is smitten with Nolan, and I think most days that I’m glad that they are raising him. He seems to know though that I’m his Mom, Grandma mentioned that babies recognize their Mom’s voice when they are born and don’t forget it. I don’t know how much of that I believe, but he certainly seems attached to me.
I’m still working at Northern Moose, doing my time in the family business. Maybe they will raise Nolan to take it over one day, he might be into that sort of thing. All I know is that I can’t wait for Hadley to come back for Christmas break, and I can’t wait to move out.
I helped this sort of cute guy with buying a Christmas present. He actually flirted with me a little, which hasn’t happened since Isaac. He goes to private school, so he didn’t know anything about me, and that felt great. No judgement, no teenage pregnancy, I can only hope to have that type of anonymity when I start college next fall.
He asked me out to get a bite to eat over the weekend; I got his number so I could call him later. I had to ask my Mom for permission first, and like I feared, it went over badly. She doesn’t trust me, she doesn’t think I should be hanging out with any boys right now, and that I need to focus on my studies.
Sometimes I think that I hate her. I know that I hate living with her, under her thumb like I’m a toddler myself. I told her she didn’t have to worry about me getting pregnant again, but her answer was final.
I have to escape to the tents outside to avoid her the rest of the night. It’s peaceful back here, on the edge of the forest line, and no city lights out back. I hope that college is all that I dream it will be, a piece of me is terrified of it being disappointing, or filled with old drama.
When we all go to Northern Moose, Grandma is the one that takes care of Nolan. When I see how much everyone loves him, I’m glad that I didn’t put him up for adoption. As nice as the Siew family seemed to be, I just don’t think they could have given him all this.
Even Simon seems to like him, which is saying something. He barely communicates with me or Hadley, so I’m surprised that he seems to like Nolan alright.
When Christmas break finally starts, I’ve never been so happy to see Hadley come home. We had our differences when I started dating Isaac, and even when I was pregnant, but she seems to have let all of that go. I know it’s because of Nolan, she is just as smitten with him as the rest of the family, and even says she’d consider pediatrics as her specialty, if only they were all as sweet as he is.
Hadley’s arrival home doesn’t stop Mom from harping on me though. Sometimes she wants me to hang out with Nolan, and other times she tells me I have other things to worry about than him. I don’t understand her, all I know is that I can’t do anything right in her eyes.
Hadley is like the hero of the family, and I try to not be jealous over it. Dad and her are talking about adult things, and it’s like their relationship has changed entirely. He’s not harking about her getting her license renewed or cleaning up her room, it’s all about her classes and sharing stories about mutual people they know. If I tried telling stories about people, they’d tell me to quit gossiping.
Mom baked Christmas cookies, and kept gushing about having all her children in the same room together. Simon was flipping out over cookies, I miss when things like baked sugar could get me happy.
Then it snowed for him, and he was on cloud nine. The weather man had said there wouldn’t be a white Christmas, and Simon had taken that hard. Only for it to snow and the weatherman to be wrong.
It was beautiful out though, the first snow of the season is my favorite I think, before it’s turned yellow and been trampled on.
Me and Hadley sat outside catching up, without Mom constantly dropping in to add her opinion on the subject matter. Hadley thinks I need to just suck up and deal with the consequences, and realize my time is almost up. I suppose she is right, but it doesn’t change the fact that I am suffering now, but also terrified of leaving home. I don’t want it to stay like this, but the idea of not sleeping in my room, not near Nolan, makes me feel anxious inside.
After Mom insisted we’d all catch our death, we came back inside to finish talking. Hadley doesn’t have any advice, she asked if I was thinking of taking Nolan with to college, but I’m not. I don’t think that it would be good for him, and I know that I’m not ready to care for him on my own. Heck even Mom didn’t take care of us solo, she had Dad, but also Grandma and Grandpa. From all the stories, Mom had to fight Grandma off to have any time to hold us.
As much as I know this to be true, I still feel guilty to leave him. I wonder if he knows I am his Mom, and if he will hate me for this later. He will start preschool while I’m gone at college, and when I realize that, I panic and think that everything is a big mistake.
Hadley doesn’t have any words, there just isn’t anything to say in this type of situation. And I hate that Isaac gets out of it all without a blot on his conscience.
When we go up to bed, I stay up to look over the degrees at Eastborough, and try to imagine living on campus. As much as I think the education is important, part of me wonders if I should just stay, work at Northern Moose, and take it over one day. It’s not my dream, but maybe it’s selfish to chase a dream, and leave Nolan behind. I don’t have that much time left to decide, all I know is that living here under Mom’s thumb sounds like prison.
Christmas morning, and Simon wakes up to tell us that Santa Claus was here the night before. He blabbed on about how he ate one of the cookies we made, and left some toys under the tree. I feel like ten years old is way too old to believe in Santa, but Mom just smiles along, encouraging his odd-ball behavior.
Everyone got clothes, and some toys for the younger kids. Nolan loved his new toy, though he got frustrated quickly when the rectangle wouldn’t fit into the circle hole.
Grandma was ornery, she gets stressed when she makes a holiday meal. She cooks for all of us nearly every day out of the year, but adding the word ‘holiday’ gets her all stressed out. Poor Grandpa is the one to take the brunt of it this year, it’s usually Mom, and it feels like it’s my fault that it’s not this time.
My parents gifted me with a beautiful violin, my other had been a low grade learning one, but this one is stunning.
I love playing the violin, I’m eligible to get a partial scholarship if I continue playing through my college years. Now that I have a respectable violin, I am considering it.
A regular old blizzard had come while we were all sleeping, but the temperatures weren’t too cold, that we could all go outside and play. Grandma and Hadley got in a snowball fight, Grandma has been especially happy having Hadley back, everyone knows that is her favorite grandchild.
Nolan didn’t like how cold it was at first, but once he got over the initial shock he was happy to play in it.
I made a snow angel, and felt young again for just a moment. I am envious of Hadley and her carefree college years, and of Simon for not caring what the world thinks of him, and still believing in Santa. When I laid back on the snow, I could almost taste what it felt like to be them.
Sadly, Christmas break went by too quickly, and before I knew it Hadley was on her way back to campus. I felt more lonely saying bye to her than I did when she left me two years ago for college. It’s just all been compounded with this being my senior year, and figuring out my future, and deciding what I should do in regards to Nolan.
I couldn’t help but cry as Dad pulled away with Hadley. The second half of the school year is going to be extra long, I can already tell.
Notes: Nolan still has Isaac and Julia as his parents, but they do none of the work with him. Julia will sometimes read him a book if he asks, but otherwise Leah and Grant take care of him. Nolan’s wants are almost entirely filled with Julia, but she rolls none for him. I don’t see her changing the arrangement of her parents raising Nolan, but I don’t think it will be easy for her to leave him for college for the next four years. He will be six years old when she graduates.
Simon is very bookish, and constantly searching for bugs. I totally heart him, and can’t believe he will be a teenager in the summer!! Nolan is just totally cute too! I’m glad that Julia had him, as much as it’s made life more difficult, he’s too cute to not have!
Thanks for reading!