Barbara Gray was turning 48; it wasn’t a milestone birthday by any means, but she still felt hurt that her children didn’t intend to do more than just text her a Happy Birthday before their morning classes.
She tried calling both of their cells, and neither answered. She was forced to resort to texting, something she rather detested. Her fingers were clumsy, and nowhere near as agile as her children’s fingers. A mid-morning pick-me-up at the Cafe near campus, that was all she wanted. It didn’t seem like a birthday worth celebrating if her own children were too occupied to even visit for a few minutes.
They agreed, but both pressed that semester was coming to a close, and they were both swamped. Her children. She gave them life, and there they were, juniors at university, making a whole mess of mistakes. As infants, they’d been as close as any set of twins could be, but both grew independent by grade school. Friends, but not nearly as close as Barbara had anticipated.
Now Caleb was on academic probation, spending too much time with his girlfriend, Jill Popper and not enough on the books. Yet, he’d insist that he was occupied with studying now, to the extent that a fifteen minute snack didn’t fit his schedule. Her son loved to eat, she knew he wasn’t wasting away, skipping meals, just to hit the books. She’d already made peace that he’d likely flunk out, though she hoped she would be wrong and would end up pleasantly surprised.
Riley was seven months pregnant with some strange boy’s baby that she didn’t even know existed until a few months into the pregnancy. To say that her and Corb were at ends over it, was an understatement.
People said that she had a sunny disposition, and by golly, she would wear that face now. A Grandma at forty-eight, others had done it younger. At least Riley was doing okay academically, a bright future was still within her grasp.
They were twenty minutes late, but arrived together. She hadn’t taken the day off work, just the morning, but would go in late for these precious minutes with her only children.
Baby names are the first things Barbara asks of Riley. She’s never felt like a Barbara herself, and insists that a baby’s name is one of the most important gifts a parent bestows their child.
Riley waves the question off. She’s already hit the top 100 baby name list, and decided that any of those would work well. She’s more concerned about shelter, and believes that it might rank pretty high on “important gifts” as well.
Seven months feels ages from the finish line. Riley can barely manage the walk across campus, and takes a seat immediately.
Barbara puts on her Mom-ears, listens to their stories of dorm drama, about their relationships, and classes. She remembers a time when she’d just want a moment of peace and quiet, and now she relishes their stories with great fervor.
She announces to Riley that they are setting up a makeshift nursery for the baby, just for summer break. She’s well aware that her daughter slacked on applying for family housing, and is looking at renting north of campus. Her and Corb have already discussed financial assistance for Riley, above and beyond what they’d considered for their children’s higher education.
When she lets that part slip, that they would be invested in not only Riley’s future but the baby’s as well, Barbara is surprised to find that Caleb is upset by it. Not only is he against his sister receiving aid for her mistake, but voices his opinion that it should be put up for adoption.
He is baffled that his parents would just ignore the plight that Riley was in, and pretend that everything was coming up roses.
It went downhill quickly from there. She tried to encourage her son to be gracious and forgiving, and when that didn’t work, she desperately tried to use her birthday as a way to calm the situation.
Riley went into a panic attack, and no matter what Barbara said, she couldn’t calm down ether of her children. She watched the disaster unfold, and wondered when her children had gotten so old that their Mother couldn’t solve their problems.
She hated to end the visit short, but she realized that she had nothing more to offer her kids at the moment. With a kiss to Riley, and a loving farewell, she headed into work.
Across town, Quint turns 39. He might have felt down about this age before his diagnosis. Not anymore though; he hopes to reach as many birthdays as possible.
Late that night, just before midnight, all of the kids are tucked in after having cake with him, and Quint pulls Rebecca to the dining room table.
His tone is serious, and she is anxious by it, though she isn’t sure why. They’d already survived the diagnosis, nothing bad had occured since the kids’ bedtime.
Then he slides a legal folder across the table, and their overdue bills. The medical bills are killing them, they’ve never been cut a break in life, and Rebecca doesn’t know what makes her want to cry more.
He knows that it is terrible timing, and it goes against everything he believes in, but he follows through with his decision. He wants a divorce.
He’s thought everything over. 50/50 for the kids, splitting of the assets. Neither of them can afford this house without the other, so they have to sell. It seems insanity from a financial point of view, especially with Quint’s overwhelming medical debt, and inability to work the hours he needs.
There just isn’t hope in him anymore, not for their marriage. Rebecca doesn’t answer when he asks if she has hope for them; he knows that deep down that she doesn’t ether. Years of fighting, counseling, giving up, and trying again, she had to know that it wasn’t healthy for the kids.
They gave it their all, he says, but then he has to look away. She was his first and only love, beginning of community college, he’d seen her in the halls, and that was it. Best friends for most of those years, that even now, with all their disagreeing, he felt devastated to lose her.
He had never been enough for her though, she needed more than he could give, and he’d literally spent his life killing himself to please her. He had to lead by example, the kids would see they’d tried their best, and hopefully learn how to emulate a healthy relationship or at least, how to end a bad one.
There was no other way though. He wanted them both to have the opportunity to find happiness, whether in the arms of someone else, or just in themselves. He knew that right now neither of them were happy, and hadn’t been for a long time.
For the first time, Rebecca was speechless. Internally going over every stupid thing she’d hated about Quint, and all the ways she’d contributed to their failure. When she reflected honestly though, she didn’t see hope for a change.
Selling their home, splitting their time with the kids, it was terrifying to both of them. Rebecca couldn’t imagine coming home to some small place, and not having her children running about. Time seemed so slippery, and now she’d get less.
She agreed to the divorce in the end. She went so far as to apologize for her past behavior, wishing that she could have been a better wife for him.
Neither could hold back their emotion, as each minute that passed their current reality slipped away.
They both agreed to get things finalized, work on housing arrangements and the selling of their current house, and to let the kids know in the summer.
Unfortunately, Elodie had come downstairs to get a drink, and happened to overhear it all.
Scarlett celebrated her 19th birthday alone. She’d always felt honored to have the same birthday as her Dad, but this year it felt lonely. She ached to see her family, and detested the final exams that were looming.
They’d called her earlier in the day, and talked of their Dad’s birthday cake, and all she’d wanted was to be home with them.
Brooklyn and Oliver begin their third month, and to the great joy of their parents, have settled on a wedding date and venue. To their parents great stress, they picked the next month.
Eva was up for the task though, happy to be involved in the special day.
Brooklyn is thrilled with their parents hiring Eva. The stress has been lifted, and with all the big decisions made, she feels ready to enjoy their upcoming wedding.
*Delaney Schehl – 65 years
*Kenzie Goss – 65 years
Mary Gavigan – 62 years (pnpc)
Trisha Lange – 61 years (pnpc)
Gideon Prince – 47 years
Matthew Picasso – 40 years (pnpc)
Henry Popper – 35 years
Lily-Mae McCarthy – 17 years
Hatty Andersen – 7 years
Tim & Bekah Grimsley – 30 years
Enzo & Ginny Pacelli – 16 years
Eva & Gideon Prince – 10 years
Riley Gray – 7 months pregnant; due June
Notes: I had to write a story about Barbara’s birthday. I take her kids as being a bit spoiled, and self-centered, as such the type who would not plan to visit with their Mom. So off to EU she went, and I was just intending to take a quick snap for this post, but then Caleb blew up about his sister’s pregnancy! I haven’t had that reaction since Hazel chewed out Jude for being excited about Bea! As such a whole mini-scene came to my mind.
As for Quint and Rebecca, I think it’s time for them to move on. Scarlett is going to have a lot of news to digest when she returns home. Mental health and environment are important for Quint’s longevity, and I think he’d want to be the best he can for his kids, but also have some happiness of his own too. They have about $200 in cash, they can’t really afford anything. Their net worth is 53k though, so we are looking at small houses for the each of them.
Even in the game, divorce is a huge hassle! I almost didn’t do it because it’s going to be such a giant pain in the butt!
Thanks for reading!