Three children, toddlers really but they will be children soon (hurrah!), sit trapped in the play-pen upstairs. I say trapped but there’s no gate, they’re just captivated by their toys and I must say that’s fine with me. Lee’s playing with the xylophone, sometimes it makes beautiful tinkling sounds, most of the time she’s working on grinding down the stick with her teeth or smashing it off the plastic. She’s trying though, I guess that counts for something… Conrad’s making the most noise, either screaming his little head off over nothing or throwing the blocks at his siblings. Nothing surprising there, really. He is one ill-tempered little thing. It’s Troy who is blessedly silent as he tries to fit a square peg in a round hole. One day he’ll work it out, just like little boys usually do. I hope they’re learning something from the racket they’re making – these toys all come from the ‘edutainment’ section of the toy store. The only thing for certain is that play-pen will be pig-sty by the time I get the triplets settled into bed tonight.Adam and Kaitlin are enjoying themselves in the backyard and blessedly staying out of trouble. Kaitlin’s not one for trouble but I certainly can’t say the same thing for her twin brother. At least she seems to be a good and calming influence on him and he doesn’t seem bothered at all to be in her company. For two kids who started out so much alike they sure are different now. To play on words a bit: Even as out of sync as their lives are now, they sure are in sync with this trampoline routine Kaitlin has put together for them. Of course it was Kai, if she’s not working out or on the field with one of her sports teams she’s on the trampoline. Adam’s far more likely to be brooding in his room with awful music blaring from the speakers of his radio.Me? I’m in the kitchen with my elderly fiance, the father of my five children and the only man who has ever tried to keep a smile on my face. We’re eating a late, weekend breakfast while keeping an ear on the triplets and an eye on the twins. The only sounds the kitchen makes are those of our forks on the plates and the whirrs of the fridge and dishwasher. I guess that’s why I’m choking at the sounds of Stephen’s words. They came out of no where and went more than a little something like: “We’re getting married two months after the party.” Can you tell we haven’t been discussing our impending marriage all that much? The party in question is the triplets birthday. Like I said, they’re going to be children soon. That ‘soon’ is today. It took some effort and some time but they’re finally all three washed, dressed and sitting out in the backyard (where all our birthday parties seem to take place) waiting for our guests to arrive. They seem to know something big and exciting is happening, even if ‘party’ is just a nonsense term in their vocabulary right now. “We have paty!” exclaims Lee and her brothers laugh but they have no idea what they’re in for. “Spakles!” “Cay!” yes, they’re looking forward to those too.
Since the triplets haven’t been much further than the park across the road from the house (and oh! how their mommy misses the other end of town!) it’s not like we’re expecting any of their friends. So it’s a ‘friends and family of the family’ sort of event. Kaitlin’s entertaining her friend Darryl, or perhaps terrifying him as she chews on the soil from beneath her feet. She maintains that they’re ‘just friends’ and I can’t see any evidence to argue with that. Adam’s doing everything in his power to get his friend Jess to look at him ‘like that’ and he’s been very patient too. Jess maintains they’re ‘just friends’ and Adam argues, week after week, month after month. Stephen and my sister’s husband Micah are talking about… well… Stephen. Stephen talks about Stephen a lot. I’m fussing about the house making sure my niece and nephew have drinks in hand and food and the ‘cays’ are out with candles ready to be lit. It’s a party in the making and then Violet starts the music. The first strains of “Happy Birthday to You” blare from her little amplifier as she strums on her beloved guitar. The ‘paty’ has started! Time for ‘spakles.’
I scoop Conrad up into my arms and carry him over to the first cake. For a flash second I’m not sure I want him to grow up. Not Lee or Troy either but I don’t have a choice and he seems so excited. Someone lights the candles and everyone else starts to sing and cheer and then the excitement is contagious. I can’t wait to see my sons and daughter age up today, to become children who go to school and ride bikes. He huffs and he puffs and I blow the candles out while he looks ever so proud of himself and it’s time. I place my little boy on the ground, grab the ant he picks up from his hand before he can eat it and then step back to watch as Conrad the toddler prepares to become Conrad the child, Conrad my little boy. He looks like he’s about to burst into tears when the sparkles envelope him but then he does the shimmy-shake and I’m looking to a Conrad so different yet so exactly the same as the one I held in my arms not a moment earlier. He gives me a big hug around the waist and then grabs a piece of cake, a familiar scowl on his face. Just ’cause he’s suddenly family oriented (mother’s intuition! I swear!) doesn’t mean he’s not still grumpy.
The process repeats nearly identically with Lee. She squirms in my arms as we try to blow out the candle on her cake and once more that responsibility falls to me. Everyone sings, everyone cheers and the attention seems to make my baby girl nervous. As I try to place her on the grass she grabs for me and I have to unravel her tiny, delicate fingers from my braid and shirt before I’m free of her. She stares up at me with frightened, golden eyes that are swimming with tears and although every single one of my instincts screams for me to pick her up and comfort her I step away and give her the space she’ll need to grow up. Then, with a wide-eyed gasp, Lee is on her feet and being spun around in a circle by the magic that serves only to make us older and bigger but never much wiser than we were five minutes previously. As her body stretches and twists and her clothes morph to something more appropriate for a girl her age I feel the other changes that happen as well… The changes that say “hey mom! I’m a virtuoso!” and then she is tiny no more. Now, just little Lee who wants a piece of cake and to enjoy the rest of her birthday party.
Last but not least, Troy’s up to bat and there’s no hesitation from this one! He’s reaching towards the cake before I have him firmly in my grasp and it’s a struggle to keep him there once I have. “Cay, cay, cay…” he sings under his breath as he tries to get closer and closet. He’s the only one of the three that actually blows out his own candles and for that he’s treated to the most rambunctious reaction from his audience. Well done Troy! And he seems to know it too, all puffed up and proud. Now that it’s sparkle time he’s just as eager to be put down, nearly tumbling from his mommy’s safe grasp as the lawn comes nearer. There are no tears in his baby-blues, just anticipation and my boy laughs through the entire aging up dance, putting on quite a show for his family and their friends. Even Conrad and Lee, mouths full of cake (and faces covered in it) are rapt. Then, with a flourish, Troy is a child – an adventurous child – and he’s ready for cake and then probably a trip to the farthest reaches of our world. The funny cross-eyed look doesn’t leave his face for hours, he walks into a table or two but I’m sure he’ll be alright in the morning….
The party is over, the plates have been tidied and all five of my children are passed out in their beds while Stephen waits for me in ours. I give in to the urge to peek into the rooms of the triplets, I need to make sure they’re OK on their own. Where a nursery once held crying twins and then wailing triplets is now a little girl’s room. Soothing and glamourous, Lee loves her bedroom and to be honest, so do I! Troy and Conrad share the room that used to belong to my sister and her husband. The reds are gone, replaced by purples and browns and soft snores come from two beds instead of just one. It feels strange to have the boys so far from me (downstairs!) and I can’t help but worry just a little that one of them will have a nightmare and I won’t be able to run fast enough to be there soon enough to comfort them before the tears start to fall. Do I briefly consider putting a cot out in the hallway? Yes. Is the thought of a warm bed with a loving fiance much more appealing? Absolutely! To my own bed it is!
In no time at all it’s the norm to come downstairs in the morning to see the triplets lined up on bar-stools with a plateful of Adam’s yummy breakfast in front of them. You should hear them argue about who gets the comics first. Every morning the same argument and every morning Lee gets the paper ’cause she’s talked Troy-the-pushover into siding with her and Conrad pouts. Crumbs are spread across the countertop and under the legs of their chairs and by the time they leave their dishes behind (without clearing them!) to go out and play the place will be sticky with syrup. Oh my how I love the maid service that comes in here every day… I think I’ve said that before, right? The house is much smaller now, with three more people running about, screaming, shouting, laughing and playing. A couple weeks ago I was talking about wasted space and now… Now we’re running out of it!
Lee has started joining me in the studio, she just wanted to pick up the paintbrush like her mom! I asked her after her birthday if she maybe wanted a guitar or something seeing as how she was wandering around the house singing like a little angel but she declined. I must admit, I’m glad she did. It’s nice to have company in there sometimes, even if we’re not sayinganything I do so enjoy the sound of her humming. I thought that with Troy’s new trait he’d be gallivanting around town and getting into mischief, but just like with his sister, I was wrong. Instead of grabbing his bike and heading for the mine he headed to the bookshelf and grabbed one of Daddy’s sci-fi novels, burying his noes deep between the pages and hardly coming up for air until it was done.After that, Stephen and I rifled through the bookcases around the house, pulling out some of Connor Clarke’s more risque stories. At the rate he’s going, he’ll be through our extensive collection before I’m married – Stephen’s taken over all the planning… I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about that but I really don’t mind. The most surprising of all three though is Conrad. Grumpy Conrad. Testy Conrad.. Sulky Conrad. He adores his older brother Oh yes, the very same Adam who taunted him mercilessly and was most often the source of one, blond-haired-green-eyed little child’s tears. He follows Adam around practically fawning at him and Adam’s just eating it up. They actually are starting to have a really great relationship, just like brothers should.
As a teenager, running around town with my boyfriend with no regard for the time, I never imagined that I’d be in the situation I’m in now. It’s a sort of reverse deja vu where instead of stepping out of the back of the police cruiser I’m standing in the place my mother and father once stood, so long ago, watching my son clamber out onto the sidewalk. The one difference, is that Mama never got a heads up that a cop was bringing me home, she was waiting up anyways. I, on the other hand, received a call from our local precinct advising me that they had Adam in custody and were bringing him home. Adam remained in the car while the young officer stammered out the situation to me. It turns out that while on patrol Officer Whatshisname spied my boy “skulking” around the Nesbitt-Landgraab household, peering in the windows but more specifically, peering in at Jess. The nervous officer tells me how it looks like he’s been there for a while, looks like maybe more often than just tonight. He calls me Mrs. Clarke and doesn’t look me in the eye, he tells me he didn’t concern the family by telling them about Adam because… Well, his motives weren’t exactly fully formed but the gist of it is that the Clarke family, the Legacy family is celebrity ’round here and our business is our business. I appreciate that, I really do, but it’s with clipped words that I send him back to HQ ’cause I am fuming. I’m upset, frustrated, angry, peeved, pissed, furious, find a synonym and I’m it. My blood is boiling as I watch Adam stand on the pavement while the Officer drives away, I’m ready to scream and shriek and my temper, which I have tried so hard to keep on a short leash, has been lost. I’m about to open my mouth to give the young man a piece of my mind but Stephen gets there first. “What the hell were you thinking?!” He roars, and I expect to see the lights turn on at the neighbour’s house. Adam cowers while his father continues to berate him, I hear words like ‘unacceptable’ and ‘inconceivable.’ ‘Disgrace’ comes up and ‘foolish’ as well. For the first time in Stephen’s life, he’s not over-dramatizing the situation. Oh no, he’s right on point and then he’s done, glaring at his son who is turning to me, looking for help or sympathy but there’s none to be found. During Stephen’s lecture I’ve had time to reflect on the situation and I am simply… Words cannot describe my anger. “I thought we dealt with this! I thought we were on the same page about how you were to behave around women but instead… Instead…” I give a wordless yell of frustration, like I said, words cannot describe. “What planet are you from where you think stalking, and oh yes young man, now it IS stalking, is OK?! You cannot just camp outside someone’s window to peep in at them, girl or boy, man or woman, alien! It. Is. Not. OK. It is creepy and rude and an absolute invasion of privacy. It is NOT how you get a woman to like you, it’s how you get a restraining order! You are so lucky that police man was too young to be competent and you are lucky that you are only grounded until the wedding and not for the rest of your life!” I think this is the point where I’m supposed to ask “now what do you have to say for yourself” but I really don’t care, I really don’t want to hear it.
Even when he puts on his puppy dog eyes and looks apologetic… I’ve seen this look too many times, this is just an act. A ploy. “But… But mooooom! Dad? C’mon!” But my man will back me up. “C’mon you guys, I didn’t hurt her and she doesn’t even know it happened! Just like she doesn’t even know I exist, except that she does… But not like that and I just like her SOOOO much and I just want her to see me for me and how much I love her and want to be with her and make her happy…” He’s still talking but I’m not listening, I’m shaking my head just like I’ll be doing once he realizes he’s getting nowhere and sulks to his room, I’m shaking my head as I sip on the tea that was supposed to calm me and I’m still shaking my head as it hits the pillow. What am I going to do with a boy who can’t tell right from wrong when it comes to the ladies?
Not for the first time and most likely not for the last, I can’t help but wish he was more like his twin sister. Kaitlin calls if she’s going to be late, she calls when her plans change, the girl has called me to tell me she was jumping off a bridge and while I couldn’t talk her out of it at least I knew where she was! Her life is taken up by her extracurricular activities. If she’s not at practice or at a game she’s doing work for extra credit or at the library. If she goes to a friend’s house, I know where she is and if they move to somewhere else, I know that too. I know she’s not standing outside of Darryl’s house, peering in the windows or skulking in someone’s bushes. When Kaitlin leaves the house in the evening, she’s going for a run, she’s going out for the sake of staying in shape and… Well, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride and there are no ponies trotting around the backyard so I guess all this wishing for Adam to follow in his sister’s footsteps is for naught.Other than her penchant for athletics and schoolwork, I’m not really sure where’s Kai’s at. She hasn’t decided what she wants to be when she grows up – but neither have I so I can’t really fault her that – and she hasn’t been dating the boys at school or even looking at them the way they look at her. She’s a beautiful young lady but a little bit of a tomboy… I’m not sure if she even realizes there’s the “like that” that Adam is so desperate for. It worries me a little, and I guess that’s Mama’s influence still… uh… influencing me. What if Kaitlin’s the Legacy heiress? I would be thrilled to have someone so responsible in charge of the estate but I need to know it will continue past me. I’ve grown pretty fond of this whole to-do and while I was skeptical when it was passed off to me, I now see it for what it is. I now know the value of leaving a legacy behind and I desperately want to see it continue. With Kaitlin at the helm I know it would be in good hands.The only person looking forward to the wedding more than Stephen is Adam. After 6 weeks of house arrest he’s itching to be out on the town again… No doubt to continue terrorizing the young women of Sunset Valley. See, I don’t have much faith that he’s going to change his ways, no matter how long he’s grounded. It has been good for his relationship with his father though. Stephen has spent so much time trying to get his body back into shape since he spent all those months in the hospital that now he’s feeling “about as sharp as a butter knife.” The chessboard on the patio has always been popular with my family but lately there’s always someone sitting at it and most of the time it’s Adam and Stephen, whiling away the days until Stephen and I become man and wife (eek!) and Adam is released from the ‘prison’ of his room.Early to bed, early to rise is one thing. But you’d be amazed how early you can be up and at ’em if you can’t sleep ’cause of a stomach full of butterflies. Dawn is around the corner, my wedding around the next corner and my hair and makeup are already perfect. I’m worried about the bags under my eyes but there’s nothing to be done about those now. Too late to fret and stress about any of it! Signs of lack of sleep, signs of aging… Signs of doubt. I’m hiding them all behind perfectly matched base, concealer and pigmented powders and hoping no one can see through my carefully manicured mask. I know, I know, happiest day of my life, most important, finally a family and I should be jumping for joy but I’m nervous and scared, even though I know I haven’t really got reason to be.I finish getting dressed and slip out the house to escape to the sanctuary of my studio. I’m hoping my PVRed episodes of Squee will distract me but they’ve ben holding the same wedding for the last three months. Stephen has never given me cause to worry, he’s always been true to me and we’ve been together for more years than I can count. Five children, one happy household so why are my feet so cold? I’m terrified of “I do,”petrified of “I now declare you” and I wish I could put my finger on why my heart doesn’t skip a beat when Stephen walks in the room. I love him, I do, I think. He’s the father of my children and the man of my dreams. He’s king of this household and treats me like his queen but for all our years of courtship and cohabitation I have never let myself be sure, never asked him for more than his help and support and I’m frightened that after today, everything will change.I’m not the only one up with the sun today, it seems that in the house behind me the hustle and bustle that usually accompanies a Sunday afternoon has begun already. The teens are locked in bathrooms, primping and prepping and the children are already up and dressed in their wedding best. With hours left before we arrive at the beach venue all I can do is hope that two tiny tuxes and a miniature brides maids dress aren’t in tatters before the ceremony begins. Time to head inside for damage control. Chess and TV only for the adorable little slobs. No eating, no drinking and NO outside. In keeping with tradition, Stephen has stayed the night at a friends house so as not to see me in my dress but do you have any idea how hard it is to move around in this thing?Before I know it I have followed my girls down the aisle towards my fiance. My boys stand off to the side, the younger two fidgeting and the older with eyes only for the friend who I couldn’t uninvite without having to offer uncomfortable explanations. Our guests have tears in their eyes and I’m not surprised to see them welling in Stephen’s as I draw close. The shock is the wetness gathering on my lower eyelashes, the drops I’m trying to blink away before they ruin my carefully applied eyeliner. “You look beautiful” he whispers to me as I take my place beside him and I smile shyly in return. Not only do I feel beautiful today but I suddenly feel as though by his side is where I belong.The ceremony begins and all of a sudden it’s just my family and me standing on blue petals on the sand. The words of our union wash over me and through me and fill my heart as we take another of the many steps that has led to what will end in the “man and wife” that so petrified me hours before. I tear my eyes from my husband-to-be to look at my daughters, my beautiful daughters. Kaitlin cleans up so nicely, it’s a joy to see her with her hair done, make-up on and a dress instead of jeans or a team uniform. My little tomboy, so similar to me in looks and so different in personality. And Lee beside her, the only of my children to inheirit the magical golden eyes of their father. A little genius with no idea of her true talents and her true potential. Of all my children I’m sure that this little girl is the one who can grow to be whatever she wants. The world will be at her feet. And my boys… Troubled and troubling Adam, all he wants is someone to love but when it comes to matters of the heart he doesn’t seem to have the faintest idea of thedifference between wrong and right. I look at him and I see my Daba and I wish he could have been here to give me away, I wish so badly that we’d had the relationship I strive for with each of my children. Conrad, always in a mood and it’s usually accompanied by gloomy clouds gathered overhead. He’s so affectionate though, so forgiving when he’s wronged, even if it takes some time and then, my youngest (though not by much) Troy. If Adam looks like my father, Troy is the spitting image of my mother, with her clear blue eyes. He’s jut as good natured as she was and not nearly as… Crazy. Oh Mama! How proud of your little ZZ you would be! Stephen, patient as an angel and dramatic as a toddler. This whole wedding was his doing and it’s as perfect as can be expected from him. He’s put up with years of my hemming and hawing. He has given himself to me from day one and waited while I refused to offer the same. Until today.
“Rose, Rosie, I have waited for this day for years and would wait for years more if I had to. I’m glad I don’t. You are better than you see yourself, you are, simply, the best. My one, my only, my world, my everything. The mother of my children, the sun of my day and the stars of my night. You bring colour, brilliant, shining colours I never knew existed to my life and I am so glad, so ecstatic! to finally bind our lives together with rings and music. I know this is just a formality, that we are truly already married at the heart, but let us make it official. Rose, I will give you anything and everything, I will be here for you forever. I always have been and always will be yours. I love you.” He slides the ring onto my finger, it’s warmer than the air, heated by the sun and it fits perfectly. Like it belongs.As you can tell, we prepared our own vows. Mine are out the window and now I’m winging it ’cause this… I feel so much more than the words I wrote.
“Stephen…” I’m choked up! “You are the man I have been dreaming of my entire life, I should have let myself in on that years ago. I love you with all of my heart, all of my being. You are more than a partner to me, more than the father to Adam, Kaitlin, Conrad, Lee and Troy. You are a part of me, the part that sees clearly, the part that never lets me down. You have made me whole and healed all my scars. You have made me believe in love and that I can love for when I look at you. I love. If I can do no more for the rest of my life, I will love you. I’m so sorry it took me so long to put this ring on your finger, to claim you as mine. Thank you, my love.” I think my heart may burst as the simple band takes its home upon his hand.With our vows said there’s nothing left to say, everything that has not been mentioned flows between us where our hands and eyes are clasped together. I have never felt so full, never so happy, never so at peace. The fear and doubt and worry from hours ago feel like years ago. These years, all these wasted years of cat and mouse within the same house… Even that guilt is gone as I fall under the spell of his golden eyes. This is Stephen, this is my husband. “I now pronounce you man and wife! Mr. and Mrs. Clarke. You may now kiss your bride!” A kiss like no other, never to be duplicated, a kiss to linger on my lips the rest of my life. Mr. and Mrs. There is only we two.
With the formalities over, there’s only one thing to do… PARTY! The beach is warm, the dance floor solid, food delicious and the company divine. Music plays from speakers and further down the beach the famous Violet Clarke plays for an appreciative audience. There will be no speaches no more conceits of traditional weddings. For the rest of the day we celebrate with our family and friends, just down the hill from the house I grew up in and the house that will be home to every generation of my family from now until… Forever. The only touch of sadness is due to those not with us. Daba and Mama, Stephen’s parents and sister, Christian, who passed away before the triplets were born. They are remembered in our hearts. Stephen spins me around the dance floor until I’m dizzy and then some more still, holding me close for every song and proving he has just as much rhythm and I do. We don’t sit out a single tune though I can’t tell you the name or tune of a single one of the songs that is played. My eyes and ears are his and his alone, barely registering anything but the faintest impressions of my children and their friends enjoying the wedding as much as we are.Darryl and Jess keep the twins company, never so much as hinting towards anything more than a platonic relationship, but they sure can cut some rugs! The triplets? They do not dance. They leave their little footprints over every inch of sand as they run back and forth playing every variation of tag that they know. My heart has never felt fuller. My family is whole (as far as the law is concerned) and for the first time, the very first time I feel 100% secure and happy in the decisions that I have made in my life. I have made it to this day and come out of it more whole than I knew I could be. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives and there is only one way to celebrate it: Hold onto my new husband and dance like I’ve never danced before!!Day turns to dusk and our guests start to leave, smiles on all of their faces and best wishes for the happy couple that almost never was. Finally, I pay heed to my rumbling stomach and pull Stephen from the dancefloor. We spent a lot on catering this event and it’s time for us to taste what we’ve paid for. Worth every penny. It tastes of ambrosia (without any of those pesky, legacy rule breaking effects). I look around and the whole family is here, sitting and enjoying their dinner, looking beautiful in their wedding best and weary from the excitement of the day. I can’t think of anything more to ask for.The last of our guests has left and the crew has come to clean up after us. Children are passed out on benches or yawning at the tables. The dance floor is quiet and deserted and for the first time this day I am feeling more than happy, more than loved and complete. There’s only one thing left to do to cap off this day of days and as I look into the eyes of my husband I know we’re on the same page. A sly smile, a wink and then he’s got me in his arms. He’s in the best shape of his life and it shows as he carries me up the path to our home, over the threshold of the house we’ve shared, up the stairs and then… It’s our wedding night and I’m sure the kids can work out how to get home all on their own. When all is said and done, it is our wedding night, wedding sunrise, wedding morning and after a quick bite to eat our wedding afternoon as well. Then it’s time to use the bed for sleeping.
Despite how big this marriage felt and how much it meant to the family, life really hasn’t changed all that much around the house except that Stephen and I wander around referring to one another as husband and wife. Also, Adam’s allowed out the house now. I can’t say I’m disappointed to reportthat he’s staying in much more now. When they’re both home, Kaitlin and Adam are inseprable, constantly rolling their eyes at their parents lovey-dovey ways or gossiping in corners. Other corners are often filled with Conrad, sitting and reading or sometimes… just… sitting. The triplets aren’t nearly as close to one another as the twins are. Stephen, other than the lovey-dovey, is Stephen. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. Every mirror catches his eye and he’s got a lint roller in his back pocket (not really.) his mantra ‘perfect mind, perfect body’ hasn’t changed though I think he’s perfect just the way he is. My art is allegedly perfect, the last picture I sold was billed as “Rose Clarke’s first Masterpiece” now I thought it was pretty creepy but it brought in the big bucks so I will discuss it’s symbolism all the way to the bank. Lee and Troy are both constantly in front of computers, Lee to play video games or chess or chat with people from school… Troy, well, he’s taken after my father(after reading all the books in the house we’d let him get his hands on) and he’s writing his first Sci-Fi novel. Whoever would have thought that the very first of my children to decide on their path in life would be my very youngest? He wants to write picture books, and illustrate them himself as well!! Hopefully this means I’ll have someone else in the studio again since Lee’s flirtation with painting all but ended after a few pretty canvasses.
It’s with my family on my mind that I find myself, once again, getting inked. It seems like forever ago that Micah and I stared at the wall of designs, trying to choose the perfect tattoos. I’ve always wanted another one, always considered going through the painful process again and today… Today, I guess, is the day! It started off as a trip to the consignment store to sell my latest sculptures and paintings and now I’m sitting in a chair trying to remember why on earth I thought that this was a good idea! It hurts it hurts it hurts!! The tattooist is trying her hardest not to laugh as I try my hardest not to scream. At least we’re both trying but I’m doing a much better job than she is.And then it’s done. My arm feels like I’ve been punched repeatedly and for a split second I regret my decision instantly. A spur of the moment tattoo? Really Rosie? What am I? 18?? Then, a glint catches my eye and I remember. The band on my hand, I can lose (I have absolutely no intention of doing so) but now I have my love etched upon my arm, an eternal reminder of what it is to love and be loved, a sentiment I never really thought I would know. I can hardly believe I denied myself these emotions for most of my life and now that I have them… I’m elated and I want the world to know! Hello world! Rose Clarke is in LOVE!Just admitting to love has brought so much to my life, being married is a dream and I kick myself daily for hesitating. I don’t know if I’ve said that enough yet! Staying at home all day with my husband is fantastic, especially now that the kids are all in school. A big house, all to ourselves and let me tell you how much our combined productivity has dropped! I guess we’re technically still in our ‘honeymoon’ phase and that’s all that has been missing. A honeymoon. I haven’t traveled since my trip to Al Simhara and I’m suddenly itching to run away to a foreign location, to see the world with Stephen at my side.Given the opportunity, I would jet off for Shang Simla right this second, pack some bags, call a cab and be on our way but I don’t have that luxury. See, there’s three young children who are still getting the hang of homework and that means mom and dad are getting the hang of homework as well. Adam, when he’s around, is a huge help (shocking!) in tutoring his siblings. Conrad is particularly fond of his aid but mostly ’cause I’m pretty sure he’s just being given all the answers without having to work them out himself. Lee and Troy are more difficult to help, for totally different reasons. Lee doesn’t need our help at all, she already knows all the answers and even knows the difference between the answers the teachers want and the right answers. We’re no help to her at all. Troy just can’t concentrate. Every other question he drifts off into his own little dream world – no doubt imagineering his book – and you practically have to shake him to get him to pay any attention at all to the pages in front of him. With Lee knowing everything, Conrad being fed his answers and Troy being Troy, we’ve started to insist that the triplets do their homework together. They don’t need our help after all. As usual, Kaitlin and Adam are more than happy to work together which means our kitchen table has become the heart of our home, used in shifts. 3:15pm, triplets arrive home, homework is done. 5:00pm, Adamlays dinner on the table for the family. 6:30pm, twins do homework and usually, somewhere along the way, the table does get cleared off before bedtime. Usually.Adam has become quite the chef; the kitchen is his domain. Breakfast and dinner, lunch if he’s home and sometimes just for fun, he’s always in the kitchen and not a single one of us minds enjoying his scrumtious cooking. He’s determined to be a chef ‘when he grows up’ and as far as he’s concerned his graduation is far too far away. He wants to be working in the kitchens of the Bistro now and even that may not be soon enough. If he continues whipping of the gastronimic masterpieces he makes at home once he reaches the workplace, I can’t imagine a single restaurant that won’t be beating down his door to have him on the line in their kitchen. Goodness knows he’s got an appreciative audience at home.My youngest children! Well we just can’t take them anywhere! Their table manners are appalling and their etiquette leaves much to be desired and it’s not for lack of trying on my part. Either way though, they’re better than a dishwasher… I guess? I know I’m a bit ahead of myself, but I can’t stop wondering what the future holds for my family and our legacy. I have five wonderful children, a wonderful husband and a world of opportunities. I feel like I’ve been the head of this houhold forever and while that’s a gross exaggeration, I can’t wait to be able to hand off the Legacy to one of the kids so I can go on and live my life now that I think I know how. Oh well! Until they’re all old enough to be responsible for themselves and our estate, I guess I’m the boss around here and this boss can keep on keeping on until the time is right. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for soon though!Whoever would have thought that Rosie would follow through on her marriage?
Did she ever imagine she could be so happy?
Can you believe me when I say it won’t be much longer until the next update?
Do YOU know who you want to be the heir/ess?
Chapter 12 – One and Two, Three, Four and Five out (hopefully) by the end of the week.
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas/Happy Hannukah/Joyous Festivus or generally enjoyed whichever holiday you may or may not celebrate around this time of year. Also, all the best for the New Year, readers!