As a surprise for his birthday, Mom and I decorated Alduin’s room for him. He got the spare room upstairs across from Mom and Dad’s room. He likes it up there he says. While he loves people and loves our family, I noticed that he likes to spend time by himself too. Our little Alduin is a Lone Wolf.
In other news, it was mine and Jeff’s anniversary, as well as my parent’s! Mom and Dad have been together 40 years now. I only hope Jeff and I make it that long. Not that I’m worried about that at all. Jeff and I love each other as much as the day we wed, more in fact. Leaving Luna and Alduin at home (they insisted we all go celebrate; if I didn’t know my children better, you’d have thought they WANTED us out of the house), we “old folks” decided to go out for a night on the town. We went to the Port-a-Party Mini Warehouse. Am I really just getting old, or does the name sound as corny to you as it does to me? Oh well. We all dressed up in our best and headed out. We sat at the bar and waited for drinks.
After sampling some of their wares, we decided on a game of pool. Actually… the game of pool was Jeff’s idea. But we decided it would be fun. It was dad and mom versus Jeff and I. My parents fight dirty! Dad especially!
“Hey, need a microscope to find where the cue goes, little one?” my dad called out as I was chosen to break.
However, after my first shot, dad just looked at the velvet with a bemused expression. I smiled sweetly at him.
Just as I was about to sink the winning shot, it was Jeff’s birthday!
We all cheered for him and soon enough, my husband joined me in middle age!
We didn’t stay long after that, instead deciding to return home and hop in the hottub. Unfortunately, just after he got settled into the water, Jeff’s pager went off. There apparently had been a rather bad accident and they needed Jeff’s expertise. So he got up, dried off quickly, and left.
I hung out there with Mom and Dad for a while, then once they started getting sappy, decided that the better part of valor was retreating… quickly. Especially when they got that look in their eyes.
I was about to go inside (it was actually pretty late… or early, depending upon how you looked at it. We’d spent quite a bit of time in the hottub. It was close to dawn!) when Jeff came around the corner.
Even as the sun came up behind us, all I could do was look into his eyes, bringing my hand up to his cheek. He pulled me close and kissed me. “Happy anniversary, Aurora,” he whispered to me.
“Happy anniversary, Jeffrey.”
Dad’s retirement finally went through! I mean, since all that happened in Bridgeport, Dad has been on light duty. He was only waiting for the paperwork to go through announcing his official retirement with full pension and benefits from the force. He got the phone call today. Mom was ecstatic. He had called us all upstairs to break the news.
After he made the announcement, Mom grabbed his hands and they just stared into each other’s eyes. Mom never complains, but I think being a cop’s wife has been hard on her over the years. She’s always supported Dad, no matter what, but after the scare in Bridgeport, she was always a bit on edge. Knowing Dad is well and truly out of it is a comfort to her, I think.
“I love you, Draco Wyvern,” she whispered to him. She’d grabbed him, wrapping her arms around his waist.
Dad framed her face with his hands. “And I love you, Sophia Wyvern.” Then he just held her close.
Jeff and I left them alone, giving them the time. I think that even I forget how hard things were on Mom at times. She always seemed so together. Even when things were really bad, the feelings I could get off her were calming to the rest of us. But feeling her relief… it went soul deep. No more would she have to worry Dad leaving in the middle night, being gone for days at a time, never really knowing what was happening or whether she’d see her husband again.
I went downstairs and waited for Mom. Before too long, she came down into the kitchen. I could see the tear stains on her face.
“Mom?” She looked at me.
I hugged her. “I love you. I’m sorry. Sorry I couldn’t see until now how much it affected you.”
She put me at arm’s length. “You don’t need to apologize,” she said quietly. She’d never looked more dignified, even in her nighty and with wrinkled forehead, her cane resting against the counter. “I knew what I was doing all those years ago when I married your father. I knew what he wanted to do. The truth is, I’ve always been proud of him, ‘Rora. Your father’s a good, good man with a heart as big as can be. He puts others first, always has.” She smiled fondly. “You should have seen him on our wedding day. You were only a little baby, still swaddled in the blanket we took you home in from the hospital. He was so nervous, he was shaking. But when we said our vows, his hands were rock solid. We’ve been married a long time, your dad and I.”
Her eyes were going misty, I could see it. “I wish that for you and Jeff, ‘Rora baby. I want you to know that kind of love, the kind that lasts for years and only grows.” She laughed a little. “It’s been quite the ride for us. Your daddy sure is stubborn, but I think I’ve proven that I’m just as stubborn as he is, sometimes more so. But in all the years we were married, I never asked him to give up what he did. He wanted it too much. And though I hated it at times, I couldn’t ask him to be something he wasn’t. So don’t you apologize to me about not knowing how it affected me. Things went as they needed to, honey. And now your daddy’s out of it.” She grinned at that. “Well, at least he doesn’t have to take orders anymore. I think if he didn’t keep his hand in in some way, at least keeping in communication, he’d go a little crazy.” She patted my shoulder. “Don’t fret, ‘Rora. You do too much of that. Your mama should be the least of your worries, with both your little ones growing up.”
She certainly had a point. Alduin went to his first day of school.
He seems to enjoy the classes, but he’s not enamored of being surrounded by so many people all day. It’s not that he doesn’t like people, but as an introvert, he needs respite from all the “sensory overload”, as he calls it. So he’s always so happy to get home and just be on his own for a while. Once he’s had a bit of time up in his room or on the computer, he’ll join me and his dad in the living room for a snack and to watch TV.
Luna’s still working at the precinct and from all accounts is doing very well. Dad uses his contacts there to keep an eye on her. She gets home from school, does her homework, and then rushes out the door when her carpool gets here.
She seems reluctant to talk about it. I’m having hard time reading her to know whether it’s because she doesn’t want to upset us or if it’s because it’s not what she expected. If I had to guess, it’s a little of both, really. I just hope she’s careful, whatever she decides to do.
How quickly time flies… I know I keep saying that, but it seems to become truer each passing day. It seems like just yesterday I was holding my first born in my arms, swaddled in a little pink blanket and putting her in the crib in the nursery for the first time. And now… today, my little girl turns 18. Mom baked a cake for after Luna came home from work. The candles lit, surround by her family, Luna stood there, making my throat tight from all the emotion.
She leaned over- I remember having to hold her, both as an infant, and then again as a toddler. She was so eager. She hasn’t lost that zest she’s always had. Her eyes were full of possibilities.
She spun around as the sparkles enveloped, whooping at this next great adventure.
And then… just like that, my little girl was a grown woman with her whole life ahead of her.