His World: Parenting
Some focus on the parents of the main trio!
Richard couldn’t remember the exact time Melissa had become friends with Milo. But he vividly recalled picking Melissa up from elementary school, and noticing small cuts and bruises covering her limbs. On one occasion, she had a dislocated shoulder that required a sling for two weeks. Applying first aid was a skill he’d learned during training, but he always had to swallow the panic he felt when Melissa came home with wild tales of Murphy’s Law.
He’d learned quickly that forbidding Melissa from hanging out with Milo was completely ineffective. The first and only time he tried it was back when she was in 3rd grade. Melissa had screamed at him until her throat was raw, refused to eat dinner that night, and wouldn’t allow him in her bedroom so he could explain his reasons. In the morning, after tossing and turning on his final decision so much, he explained to Melissa that she was not banned from seeing Milo.
“I’m sorry if I hurt you last night,” he began after a long silence. Melissa still wouldn’t look at him. Her head rested on one elbow, picking at her scrambled eggs without interest. “You aren’t banned from seeing Milo.”
Her fork clattered to the ground. “Really? But I thought-”
“I thought wrong,” Richard explained. “Sometimes adults make decisions based on fear, and forget to think about another’s happiness. I want you to be safe, but I also want you to be happy.”
Melissa hugged him. “I’m sorry too. I’ll try to be safer so you don’t have to worry about me anymore!” she exclaimed, her eyes sparkling.
Richard smiled, then remembered a question he’d been pondering for several hours last night. “Why do you want to be friends with Milo, sweetie?”
Melissa thought for a moment. “Nobody else wants to. And he’s funny.”
Melissa had never been one to follow the crowd. She was a natural leader. And Richard couldn’t ask for a better daughter than one who bravely defied Murphy’s Law, standing by her friends the entire time.
Marcus examined a red flannel pattern curiously. “Eileen, what are you planning to do with all this?” he asked, hugging his wife from behind as she worked on cutting a rugged collar from the fabric.
“I thought it would be a nice surprise for Zack and his new friends,” she replied, carefully setting the scissors down and leaning back into his embrace. “It’s nice. Zack is finally overcoming his fears now.”
Marcus nodded. “It’s a wonder stage fright isn’t one of them,” he murmured, remembering how frightened Zack had been when he received his first goldfish. The poor boy wouldn’t stop screaming until Marcus finally moved the fishbowl to their master bedroom where Zack wouldn’t have to see it. “But is exposing them to the music industry a good idea at his age? You know how brutal they can be.”
“There are plenty of local contests they can compete in. And Zack inherited your voice,” Eileen smirked. “My Orpheus.”
Marcus laughed. “Don’t go stepping on snakes, now. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if you were lost to the Underworld forever while I die because I wouldn’t sing for a bunch of crazy women.”
“You know I would just march straight to the lab and demand an antivenom,” Eileen said, tracing her husband’s beard with one hand.
“I know you would,” Marcus replied, bending down for a passionate kiss on the lips. Eileen responded in kind, giggling as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
“So what’s with the flannel anyway?” Zack asked, grabbing a pudding cup from the kitchen. His parents were unaware of him watching, sharing yet another long kiss. “Never mind,” Zack said as he headed back to his room. “I’ll ask again when you’re done cannibalizing each other.”
“Gotcha!” Martin scooped up Sara, who giggled as she tried to escape. “You shall never escape the hug monster! Hear me roar!”
“Mama! The hug monster’s got me!” Sara shrieked as Martin carried her to bed.
“I see,” Brigitte smiled. She and Milo were picking out a book for their daily bedtime story from the small children’s shelf in Sara’s bedroom. Quickly putting a hand out to stop the shelf from falling on Milo, she sighed in relief as several paperback books toppled to the ground away from them. “And would the hug monster care to watch his step?”
“Watch his step from what?” Martin asked. He set Sara down next to Milo. She pulled a silly face with puffed out cheeks, making Milo laugh as he went cross-eyed in his attempt to reciprocate. Martin was about to join them, but he set one foot on a roller skate and immediately crashed into the bedpost.
“Sara, what was the rule about roller skates in the house?” Brigitte asked sternly, checking Martin over for injuries. There wasn’t any bruising for now.
“Um,” Sara withered, picking at her monkey pajamas. “Socks, shoes, and skates give us flair and should always be in pairs but never left out cause Daddy’s ligaments might tear,” she mumbled. “Sorry, Daddy.”
Martin rubbed his head. “It’s okay, sweetie. I’m all right. So what book did you decide on, Milo?”
Milo pointed to a pop-up book of Jack and the Beanstalk. Martin grinned. “You just want me to repeat ‘fee-fi-fo-fum’ in funny voices, don’t you?” He rubbed his forehead against Milo’s, setting him on the bed. Sara flopped face first into the soft mattress, nuzzling into Martin’s side. Brigitte wrapped an arm around Martin, pulling Milo into her lap.
“Jack and the Beanstalk,” Martin read, opening the book.
“Begin it with once upon a time! It’s not a tale without once upon a time!” Sara exclaimed. Brigitte gently shushed her.
“No, no it isn’t,” Martin chuckled. “Once upon a time, there was a boy named Jack….”