With the constant cycle of birthdays in our family, we eat a lot of birthday cake. In fact, cake has jokingly become our “breakfast of champions.” This morning, I realized I was pregnant with Jerrik’s baby(ies) when my regular clothes were too tight. Back to the maternity clothes once again. I mentioned the pregnancy to Evan while we ate breakfast together. He looked at me in concern. I told him, “Evan, don’t you worry about a thing. I’m excited about adding to our family, and I know you’re anxious to move out and begin a life of your own.”
We had more birthdays to celebrate today. Gabrielle was up first. She looked deep in thought as she made her wish. Then she blew out the candles. As was tradition, we all cheered, blew our horns and shook our noisemakers.
As a young adult witch, Gabrielle added Good to her other traits of Genius, Slob, Loves the Outdoors and Insane. With a big smile, Gabby informed me that she wants to be a Zombie Master. I sighed and thought to myself, ‘Of course, she does.’
Her twin Gavin, blew out his candles next. As a young adult, Gavin added Supernatural Skeptic to his other traits of Artistic, Excitable, Angler and Daredevil. Gavin wants to be a Master Acrobat.
Hannah and Hunter had both achieved “A’s” in school and were ready to start high school. We celebrated Hannah’s birthday not long after Gavin’s. As a teenager, Hannah became a Supernatural Skeptic in addition to being Brave, a Loner and a Genius.
Hunter followed Hannah in blowing out his candles. As a teenager, Hunter became a Schmoozer, in addition to being Brave, Athletic and Mean-Spirited.
Later that evening, I heard Gabrielle having an argument in the kitchen. I thought at first she was talking to one of her siblings or was on the phone. But, as I soon found out, Gabrielle was facing the wall above the dishwasher and was talking to herself again.
At first, Gabrielle was quite upset and shouting at the wall. Faith completely ignored her as she grabbed a piece of birthday cake from the nearby refrigerator.
As Gabby continued her conversation, her took on a more civilized tone.
And, then she started making childish gestures, as if she were mocking someone. Yet no one was there.
Eventually, Gabby stopped talking to herself and began practicing magic with her favorite wand. Magic always seemed to soothe her mind, and it was nice to see Gabby back to her old self again.
It had been so hectic lately that I hadn’t had the heart to break up with Jerrik yet. I felt so safe and warm in his arms at night, and I didn’t want it to end.
I had awoken before Jerrik and got the kids ready for school. After taking a shower and getting dressed, I started painting again, something I hadn’t had time to do in a while. When Jerrik woke up, he came over and said, “Good morning, sweetie. How’d you sleep?” I said with a grin, “Cuddled up against you? I slept like a baby.”
Then I let out a soft groan as I gripped my lower back. “What’s wrong?” said Jerrik. “Is your back bothering you?” I nodded, and Jerrik came around behind me and began massaging my back with his strong hands. He started with my shoulders, and I let out a low moan, saying, “That feels wonderful, Jerrik.” Jerrik continued until he had massaged my entire back, and when he finished, I stretched out, saying, “Your hands are magical. Thank you so much.”
Jerrik gently spun me around and took me in his arms. He looked into my eyes and said, “Anytime. I love to make you feel good, Jill.”
I pulled Jerrik into a tighter embrace and kissed him to show my appreciation.
Jerrik went into the kitchen for breakfast, and I continued working on my painting. A few minutes later, I heard a loud ruckus and ran into the kitchen to see what was happening. I couldn’t believe my eyes!
Jerrik and Faith were brawling in the entryway. I have no idea who started it or why. The only thing that was certain was that Jerrik won the fight, as I saw Faith bent over, rubbing her hip. When I asked them both what happened, neither would answer me. I tried asking Evan about it, since he was there when it happened, but Evan would only say, “Mom, you know Faith’s evil. I’m staying out of it.”
Time passed, and my baby bump grew at a rapid rate. Even my maternity clothes were starting to get tight, which was always a sign that my due date was nearing.
After I’d showered and dressed that day, I spent some time painting, which always relaxed me. Little did I know that Hunter was in a particularly foul mood that day. He picked a fight with me over something ridiculous, and I told him in no uncertain terms that he was not to speak to me that way.
Hunter was surprised at my reaction. He was used to fighting with his siblings, and they were much easier targets than me. I was not about to put up with his foolishness. Hunter gave me “the look” to see if I’d back down.
Of course, I didn’t. Hunter just huffed and left the room. If he’d kept it up, I would’ve sent him into time-out at the very least.
As it turns out, tonight was prom night for Hannah and Hunter. Later that day, Hunter apologized for his outburst, saying he was nervous about going to prom, especially without a date. I told him that he needed to work on controlling his rage and, if he could do that, he would have a great time.
When the limo pulled up, Hunter was so excited, he ran out to the car and yelled to Hannah to hurry up.
Even in heels, Hannah was a fast runner, and she quickly caught up to Hunter.
When they got home later that night, the twins both said they’d had a good time. Although he’d tried to behave, Hunter’s mean-spirited nature got the best of him, and he got into a fight with another boy at the dance.
The following day was graduation day for Evan, Emma, Faith, Gabrielle and Gavin. I was out in the backyard getting some fresh air, and Evan came out to remind me that it was time to get ready to go. Just as Evan started to speak, I was hit with a wave of contractions and clutched my expansive belly as I tried to breathe through the pain.
Evan’s eyes grew wide as he yelled, “Everyone, get out here — Mom’s in labor!” I had become quite accustomed to my kids freaking out at the first signs of labor.
As the contraction subsided, I calmly said to the kids, “Go on to graduation without me. I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to skip it. Jerrik and I are going to have to head to the hospital now.” Evan, Emma, Faith, Gabrielle and Gavin changed into their caps and gowns, and all the kids went to the graduation ceremony without me.
I called out, “Take lots of pictures for me, Hannah!” She said, “Will do, Mom,” as they all climbed into a taxi.
Jerrik and I took a taxi to the hospital together, and he held my hand in the delivery room. After several hours of labor, I gave birth to a baby girl. We named her Isabella, and she was born with the Evil and Heavy Sleeper traits. Isabella had my pale skin and blonde hair, but Jerrik’s deep brown eyes.
Then, the doctor said, “Jill, it’s time to push again.” Jerrik and I just looked at each other and smiled. We soon had a baby boy to add to the family, and we named him Isaac. Isaac was born with the Athletic and Genius traits. Isaac had Jerrik’s skin tone, with my blonde hair and what appeared to be blue eyes.
Jerrik bent over and kissed me, and I thought we’d be going home with our babies soon. But, to my surprise, the doctor said, “Not so fast, Jill.” Jerrik and I looked at each other, eyes wide with shock. Jerrik looked worried. I said, “What’s wrong, doc?” He said, “Nothing’s wrong, Jill, but you do have another baby to deliver.”
“Seriously? That’s a first for me. How exciting!” “One more big push, Jill,” said the doctor. And, with that, we welcomed another baby boy into our family. We named our son Isaiah, and he was born with the Eccentric and Neurotic traits.
Jerrik came home with me, and I was hoping he would be a big help with the babies since I would certainly have my hands full. On the ride home, Jerrik told me he was a “triple threat” in football. I was befuddled and asked, “What does that mean?” Jerrik responded, “A triple threat is someone who excels at running, passing and kicking. I’m good at all three.” Then he smiled and gave me a peck on the cheek, saying, “I guess three’s my lucky number! Now, we’ve got a completely different ‘triple threat’ on our hands. Something tells me this type is a lot more challenging.” I said, “You have no idea….” and smiled.
When we arrived, Jerrik helped me move an extra crib out of storage so I could get the babies settled. I fed and changed each of the babies and put them in their cribs. I really thought Jerrik would help me, but instead he went outside and sat at the picnic table to read a book. It was then I started having my doubts about the type of father Jerrik would turn out to be.
Before I’d had a chance to think too much, all the kids came home from graduation. I told each of them how proud I was of them and how sorry I was that I’d had to miss their graduation ceremony. “It’s totally fine, Mom. We get it. It’s not like you can stop babies from being born. When they’re ready, they’re ready!” They all wanted to rush into the nursery to see their new siblings, but I told them to let them sleep for a while.
Later that evening, it was time to say goodbye to my grown children. It was hard to think of them as young adults, since they’d always be my babies. I hugged each of them and told them to keep in touch. Emma had been house shopping and found a wonderful house they could rent. She was so excited as she described it, she even started jumping up and down and clapping.
Emma placed the call to the real estate agent and said, “We’ll be by to pick up the keys in half an hour. See you soon!”
I took one last look at my beautiful children before they walked out of the house to start their own lives. I was overcome with nostalgia but did my best to hide it. I was proud to have raised such wonderful children. Well, I’m still a little concerned about Faith, but a mother can only do so much.
Evan offered to drive, and Gavin called, “Shotgun!” as he jumped into the front passenger seat, leaving his sisters to squeeze into the back seat.
I was a little sad as I watched them drive away, and Jerrik came over to me. He turned my face towards his, looking into my eyes. He said, “Jill, honey, I know you’re sad. But, we have three beautiful babies to think about now. You can do this.”
Then Jerrik scooped me up into his arms, and I hugged him tightly. “I’m so glad you’re here,” I whispered into Jerrik’s ear. “It’s going to be a tough night.”
“I’m right here, baby, and I’ll stay as long as you like,” said Jerrik as he pulled me in for a passionate kiss.
And, as I looked into Jerrik’s eyes, I was, indeed, grateful that he was there. Feeling the warmth of his body against mine would help me relax and stay focused on the present, rather than the past. It had been an exhausting, emotional day. Any thoughts of the next Baby Daddy would have to wait. Tonight, I need sleep and the comfort of my lover’s arms.