narrated by: Grant
We were all relieved when Hadley was accepted into Med School. She’s all set up in a rental house out in Eastborough, and we crashed it as soon as she gave us the green light. Leah hasn’t ever been especially close with our daughters despite her best efforts, and she came prepared with cash for the visit.
Naturally, my Mother can’t let Leah ‘win’ when it comes to the girls, so she went to town cooking all of Hadley’s favorite dishes and freezing them. I’m sure that Hadley appreciated all these gestures, and I just wish Leah and Mother would drop the competition.
We were glad when Julia walked over from the dorms to visit. There isn’t space for all of us at Linden Dormitory, even in the common areas.
We stayed into the afternoon, and Hadley fell asleep in the chair. Med school is kicking her butt. She wants to specialize in surgery, with less patient coddling and more guts as she put it. It’s more grueling than a family doctor though, and the hours are catching up with her just after two months of school.
None of us have told Nolan who his real parents are, he still thinks that Julia is his sister. He seemed too young to know at four, but now at five, it seems like we’ve waited too long. I don’t know how we became the family with secrets, and skeletons in our closet but we did.
Most of the time it’s not on any of our minds, only when we see Julia do we remember that technically Nolan is our grandson. Otherwise we are busy with running the Northern Moose and daily affairs. I’m thrilled that Simon is now old enough to work on restocking at the shop, it’s his to take over if he wants it when I retire.
Leah is always there to interject that he can follow his dreams, and do anything he desires. Which frustrates the rest of us. My Dad plans to work at the shop until he’s gone, but it gives my parents peace to imagine the Northern Moose carrying on for more generations.
Simon wasn’t against working at the shop though, and Leah is the one training him on ordering and restocking. She is spending more time there now that Simon is lending a hand, and she’s actually enjoying herself.
She’s even chipped in with customers, showing that after all of these years she has retained some knowledge on the outdoors. But we’ve already hired a new sales person, so we don’t actually need her on the floor anymore.
Nolan isn’t such a fan of spending the weekend at the shop. He will spend hours hopping in and out of the tents until it loses it’s appeal, usually about the time we stop telling him to stay out of the tents.
Julia never really enjoyed being down here ether, I suppose he gets that from her. She’s always liked the more refined things like classical music, museums, and playing the violin, while Nolan doesn’t necessarily share those passions, he doesn’t seem to be a roughing it kind of kid.
Leah usually makes deals with him for sweeties or a new bug display if he can tough it out.
Simon has been eager to work with customers, though technically he needs to be fourteen before he can really work here. We usually have to reign him in, and put him back to toilet duties and paperwork. He seems to have a mind for sales though, despite being obnoxiously shy around his peers.
Both of the boys are huge into science, they are still sharing a room because they enjoy it. I don’t see ether of our daughters moving back home, so technically one of the boys could move into their old room, but neither have wanted that yet.
They go mucking around under the leaves to find bugs that I would never want to seek out. They love it when it rains and makes the ground damp and enticing for creepy crawlers.
Dad is always looking at his bookwork when he has time to burn, and asked me the other day if I thought Nolan or Simon would be more interested in the family business. He doesn’t want to leave my successor up to me, but put it into his will so there isn’t any family squabbling over it for a few generations.
It’s really just too early to tell, but I don’t know that Nolan would be interested as much as Mother thought he would as soon as he was born with boy parts!
Nolan prefers spending time with Blue than people on any given day.
Blue has been house-trained since we adopted him, but he’s never done more than that. Nolan has been working with him almost every day after school to do tricks. We all thought it was a lost cause, but Blue is very attuned to Nolan and is eager to please.
At the end of the month, Nolan made tickets out of construction paper for a Dog Show, and even roped Dad into announcing it.
Dad’s booming voice made Blue seize up some though so eventually he had to be benched.
Eventually my Mom will probably start to worry that he’s a natural with pets, and still hasn’t brought a friend home from school. But for now, she has Simon to worry about, leaving Nolan free to form a strong friendship with Blue.
At least Simon has made friends though, he joined the Astronomy Club, and has been putting himself out there more. We all get thrilled when Dean comes over to hang out. I don’t believe he had a single friend in grade school, at least none that ever made it to the house.
Dean isn’t into bugs ether, he seems like an old-fashioned American kid, fixing up a junker, wants to uphold the law when he grows up. I don’t know what their common interest is for their friendship, but we aren’t curious enough to poke at it.
We did overhear Simon begging him to help him fix up a car of his own after Dean finishes his. Sounds like a good idea to me!
Leah arranged to have dinner with Julia and her boyfriend Cabot, after it went so poorly before. This is about the only thing Leah admonishes me on, telling me that I need to cool it on the boyfriend hate. But I don’t know how I’m supposed to think any guy is deserving of my daughter after the last guy ditched her with a baby. For now, whoever the guy is, he needs to earn my trust.
And making googly eyes at her does not win brownie points in my book, even if she does looks very happy with the attention.
They both love journalism, that’s how they met, but other than working for a paper, he doesn’t have any real plans. He doesn’t care if he lives in Millwood, South Port, or another country. He also didn’t seem concerned that newspapers across the nation are closing down, laying off, and shutting their doors as the world moves away from print.
As much as the girls don’t appreciate their mother, Julia reminds me of her quite a bit. They both have a heart for the arts, culture, and I know for Leah that she would have given anything to live downtown near a theater house. It just isn’t something that Julia is willing to see or is inclined to hear.
We drove the kids back to campus and took a walk along the lake, and I still didn’t feel any fonder toward the boy with the tall hair.
Julia got a bit testy towards Leah, she really hates her Mom’s new eyebrow piercing, but Julia doesn’t understand it. Leah has given up more than her dreams for me, and the kids, but large parts of herself. I know Mom hates it too, it’s Leah’s small way to assert herself, plus I think it’s sexy so I’m with Leah on this one.
I forced the evening to end, wanting to take my wife home before the entire night of bonding blew up. Leah does really like Cabot though, so perhaps at holidays she can hang out with him while I stick with our daughters.
Driving home, I pulled her to me at a stop sign after the reflective quiet began to eat at me. Whenever we see Julia it’s just a flashing reminder of how we failed our daughter, didn’t arm her with all that she needed to make wise choices, or be a good judge of character.
Our shortcomings have made everything complicated, will Julia take Nolan to live with her when she graduates? And worst, what if she doesn’t? We are terrified of how Nolan will take the news that Julia is his Mom, but if she marries Cabot, and has a new family without Nolan, how will we deal with that?
There is no win in this, there’s not even a best-case scenario, because we all have lost something. We just hope that it all works out in Nolan’s best interest when it’s all said and done, and that we know what that is when we get there.
Notes: Nolan is obsessed with their dog Blue, he’s a huge animal lover too in relation to interests. In regards to Nolan knowing his biological Mom, gameplay I never removed Julia or Isaac as his parents. But he doesn’t even know Isaac, and storywise, they haven’t found the right time to tell him. He’s pretty adorable though, and Simon was such a good uncle/brother to him this update. Two cute science nerds.
I was trying to get Grant to like Cabot, and get Julia and Leah to warm up to each other, but it really was a failure. Grant and Cabot like each other less, and the girls didn’t gain any points.
I wasn’t entirely sure where Leah got the eyebrow piercing from, but Carla pointed out that CC might have been deleted and replaced with that. I am keeping it for her, for the time being… oh how Norma must hate it! Leah and Norma can’t have a single conversation without one of them throwing up their arms in disgust, and I imagine the girls think she’s absolutely absurd.
I posted pictures of Hadley’s rental on tumblr here. I bet Grant is relieved that only one of his daughters is interested in dating, Hadley had the one guy she sort of hung out with in college, but other than that, has had zero interest in romance.