After the wedding, Lexie spent a lot of time packing her stuff up. Her and Luca were moving into a new house in Willow Creek, near his family. It was only about a thirty minute drive, so it wasn’t too far, or anything, but it was still bittersweet. My sister and I have always been so close. We’ve lived together for the majority of our lives, and it’ll be so weird to not have her right there all the time. That doesn’t change how happy I am for her, though. We’re 40 and 38 years old, and we have our own families now. I don’t think the distance will change our closeness – but things will change. She wasn’t the only one with a big change in their life that month, though. At the end of the month, we finally got matched with a child – an adorable six year old boy named Jackson. And today, we’re meeting him for the first time.
“Ready?” Dani asked, taking my hands.
“Yes. I’ve been ready ever since we were matched with him.”
She chuckled at that, nodding. “Me too.”
The kids are all pretty excited to meet their ‘new brother’ as they say, even Valentina. I think she likes the idea that he’s already going to be able to play around and all that. Ethan’s been nonstop babbling about him, since once we bring him home, Ethan won’t be the only boy anymore. Seraphina’s just as excited as she was when we told her I was pregnant with Ethan. This boy is going to be so loved. Everyone already loves him so much, and they haven’t even met him yet. As Dani and I walked into the room where our soon-to-be-son was sitting, I could feel my eyes starting to well up. Watcher, what do I say? Just as I was going through a bunch of introductions, he starting talking instead.
“Are you adopting me?”
I blinked in surprise and looked over to Dani, who simply had a big smile on her face. This was not like what I’d prepared myself for. I’d gotten ready to meet a little boy who was going to cry upon meeting us, or one who refused to talk – not one who would instantly treat us like a friend.
“Yeah, bud, we’d really like to,” Dani nodded.
“Are you adopting my brother, too?”
Brother? The adoption agency had never said anything about a brother… but there’s no way I would ever want to separate two siblings. And once I looked over to Dani, I know she felt the same way.
“Let me just talk to someone,” Dani said, walking out of the room quickly.
“How old is your brother?” I asked him.
“We’re twins! Grayson’s six just like me,” he grinned.
Twins. How had the adoption agency not told us about this? I wonder what Vali, Sera, and Ethan will think when we bring home two boys instead of one. I suddenly saw Dani motioning for me to go out there and talk to her out of the corner of my eye.
“Hey, I’ve gotta go talk to her for a second,” I said to him before walking out and raising my eyebrows at my wife. “So…what did they say?”
“Apparently it just slipped through all the screening.”
“The fact he had a brother – a twin, no less – just slipped through?” I sighed, raising my hands to my face.
“That’s what they said. But they also said that yes, we can adopt them both.”
I gave her a small smile, looking from the little boy in the room and back to her again. “Well, what are we waiting for?”
Those next few days were a bit unpredictable, especially since we’d only planned to adopt one child. There wasn’t enough bedrooms for all of them to have their own, so we had to put the twins in one room and the girls in another while we talked about adding onto the house. The twins didn’t mind sharing a room, but Seraphina and Valentina definitely did. In those first days, the twins mostly stayed in their room – our agent said this was pretty normal – and it made sense. After all, a lot had changed for them in a short amount of time. They have a family now, and a home. By the end of their first week, though, they started to just act like kids again, and to my and Dani’s delight, Seraphina and Vali quickly embraced the younger boys.
I was especially surprised that Vali was so quick to play with them, but I suppose she is older now, even though I don’t think of her as particularly mature – not by a long shot. Jackson’s the older twin, by two minutes, as he likes to say. He’s always playing with our cat and recently, he’s started begging us for a dog. I’d be kind of annoyed at all the begging, but I’m not, because it means he’s comfortable with us. Dani and I have been talking about possibly getting him a dog for his birthday. Pets can definitely teach kids to be more responsible, so it’s not a bad idea. Grayson’s more quiet, and he reminds me of Seraphina in a way. Those two often play chess together.
Chess! A six year old boy and an almost nine year old girl like playing chess! Hey, I’m not complaining! They’re already pretty good friends, doing plenty of experiments together. I’m happy for Seraphina, that she has someone to play with her, since Valentina’s never been one for science. With all these kids with such different interests, it only made sense to add onto the house. For one, we want all of the kids to have their own bedroom, and it would be nice to have more space to put stuff for the kids to do.
“Hey guys, where’s your sister?” I asked Seraphina and Grayson. It was everyone’s bedtime, and it was always hard to round all the kids up, but luckily, Sera and Grayson were typically playing with Seraphina’s science set.
“Uh, I think she’s downstairs playing one of her instruments or something,” Seraphina replied.
“Thanks,” I said, and as I was about to step out of the room, Grayson tugged on my hand.
“Mommy, lookie!” It still made my heart melt every time he said that. Mommy. It was something he’d only recently begun saying, and Jackson had yet to say it.
“What is it?” I asked, turning back to look at whatever he wanted to show me.
“Okay, watch!” He turned to Seraphina, and commanded, “hold out the green tube.”
She did so, of course, and I watched as he poured a blue liquid into it. The tube started fizzing, and Seraphina quickly moved it above a bowl as the liquid turned purple and bubbled up. Dang, we hadn’t even done a science experiment half as interesting in school when I was their age!
“Aw, guys, that’s so cool!” Sure, I was a bit worried about how careful they needed to be around all this stuff, but they – especially Seraphina – were being quite careful. Dani and I had even gotten them a mat to protect the floor, and if they were having fun, why should we stop them?
“We’re trying to make orange now,” Seraphina explained with a grin.
“Okay, you can make orange tomorrow, guys. It’s time for bed.”
“Aww, five more minutes! Please?” Both of them pouted, and I relented. I had to find their other siblings anyway.
Just as Seraphina had said, her sister was practicing one her instrument downstairs – the violin, to be precise. She’d asked for a violin for her eleventh birthday, and after she’d took it upon herself to practice the piano and get better, we figured it would be a good thing to get for her. If there was one thing she acted completely mature about, it was music, and at times, drawing.
“Hey, Vali, that sounds really good!”
Vali looked up, grinning. “Thanks, mommy!” She started to get ready to play again before turning back to me. “Jackson’s trying to teach Nieva some tricks in the living room and Ethan’s in the playroom.”
I did ask her the same question every day, so I guess she’d gotten ready to anticipate it. “Thanks, big girl,” I smiled, “it’s about time for bed, so just finish up playing that song, okay?”
“Okay,” she replied, picking her violin up again.
The other two boys were exactly where she said they were. I guess my kids keep track of each other, apparently better than I do. It always ends up being later than their actual bedtime when they’re all finally sleeping, but that’s life with five kids for you. It can be crazy, but I love it. All my kids are so unique,with mind of their own, and it’s amazing to see what they do every day.
“I can’t believe we have five kids,” Dani murmured.
“Oh Watcher, me neither. But trust me – I wouldn’t change this for anything.”
She smiled, pulling me closer. “Neither would I.”
Things never happen as you plan them to – that’s just a fact of life. But sometimes, things turn out better. I don’t think I would’ve ever thought I’d have five kids, or done half the things I was able to do through my work. I could’ve only hoped to have a wife as wonderful as Dani. But guess what? Sometimes things really do work out. And I truly wouldn’t change anything…because it all brought me here. And there’s not a thing I’d change about my life right now.