In our last chapter we added Sam to our family, since that felt so good, we continue to add new family members. Alyssa becomes Sam's adoptive grandmother, Joan and Johnny, Marshall and Misty, her new aunts and uncles, Michelle Collins an aunt, and Judge Thurgood as her great uncle. Of course all the Edwards will be her relatives once Kathryn and I adopt Sam. That is in the back of my mind right now as we begin to introduce Sam to all her relatives.
Sam looks around the room again and then she giggles, “Do they like to swim?”
Kathryn giggles and says, “My sisters, your aunts love to swim there over here every day practically.
Sam giggles, “I will get to swim a lot.”
I chuckle and say, “Just until you start to prune up a little.” Sam begins a beautiful little girl laugh that gets the attention of everyone.
The Coach says with a bright smile, “Oh look Princess Sam is awake.”
I pick her up and carry her over to her new grandpa. I don't know why I say it but I say, “Samantha Sheridan Meyer I like to introduce you to your grandfather Michael Edwards.”
Kathryn wraps her arm around me kisses me on the cheek then whispers, “Yes, my husband we will adopt our Princess Sam.”
The Coach just like her natural grandfather takes her into his arms and kisses both her cheeks causing her to giggle merrily. Sam asks, “Grandpa you like to swim too?”
Coach chuckles and says, “I love to swim. Why do you ask?”
Sam explains as everyone listens, “Daddy and Mommy are going to teach me how to swim. But I can’t go swimming if I don't have someone with me.”
The coach says, “You know I haven't tried out JJ's pool yet. I think it's about time that I do. And I can help you learn to swim too.” Kathryn’s eyes go wide remembering how her Dad taught her how to swim. All the Edwards girls are giggling.
Kathryn says, “That’s okay Dad, JJ and I will teach her.”
Sam shakes her head yes and says, “It’s okay, grandpa you can come swim with me.” Everybody laughs.
Still in his arms the coach introduces Sam to each of his daughters and his sons. Then he introduces her to Judge Thurgood, when he uses great uncle George correct him by saying, “Great uncle just takes too long to say, call me Uncle George Sam.”
Sam giggles and says, “Okay Uncle George.”
Sam comes back to my arms and I introduce her to Misty, Marshall, Joan, Johnny, and Michelle Collins. Samantha giggles saying, "I have two Aunts name Michelle."
Michelle Collins says, “You can just call me M.C. that's my nickname.”
Sam giggles and says, “Aunt MC do you like to swim too.”
MC giggles and asks, “You’re just trying to be in the pool as much is possible aren't you?”
Sam giggles and says, “Just till I prune a little.”
MC giggling says, “I like to swim too, so we will go swimming together too.”
Alyssa calls us over to the dinner she made us. Looking it over my stomach growls and so does Sam's. We all set down at the table unlike normal Kathryn is not in my lap. Sam has taken Kathryn’s lap. I can learn to live with that. I'm not going to be jealous of my daughters taking up my wife's time or her attention.
Alyssa has prepared dinner and she said it all on the table, there's a large bowl with mashed potatoes, another with candied carrots, another with sweet peas, she warmed some bread, and platter with her meatloaf. I expected a large flat meatloaf was there is about three inches high by four inches wide by a foot long. It looks like a traditional meatloaf although little larger. From the look on Johnny’s and Joan’s faces us is not one of her normal dishes but one she cooks on special occasions.
Johnny says, “Mom, you made your special meatloaf, I really love it.”
The smells are intoxicating, Sam and my stomach growl in unison. Kathryn giggles and says, “We better make sure everyone gets a piece before these two eat it all."
Marshall says, “Alyssa, I don't think you're going to have to worry about leftovers.” As Marshall’s stomach lets out a loud growl.
Alyssa with bright happy eyes begins cutting the meatloaf, there's a stack of plates and she begin serving. Each plate she places a portion of each dish and hands the plate to each person in turn. Of course she gives me a plate first then Kathryn, Alyssa continues serving everyone. Showing remarkable patients Sam waits until everyone has food. Then she says, “Daddy, are you going to feed me?”
I get a fork full of mashed potatoes and hold a couple inches in front of Sam's face and she leans forward and takes them off the fork quickly. I go back and get some meatloaf and Sam takes it as well. Sam gives a very satisfied sigh as she eats the meatloaf. Before she can swallow I get myself a portion as well. It has to be the easiest decision on what's the best meatloaf of ever eaten at that point. Alyssa's meatloaf is heavenly, if they serve it at a restaurant a hundred miles away and charge a hundred dollars a plate I would gladly drive there to buy it. I'm not sure how she did it, but there are three layers of meat loaf separated by cheese. The meatloaf by itself is great, but when you add the cheese it’s outstanding.
Sam now little bit impatient for her next bite as I quickly get her another piece of meatloaf. Next are some carrots, and then back to meatloaf. Kathryn is enjoying her dinner and watching me feed Sam. As fast as Sam is eating, I doubt I’ll get any other than just enough to whet my appetite. It keeps going like that would Sam getting three forks full to my one. Fortunately Sam gets full pretty quick and snuggling in Kathryn's lap she goes right back to sleep.
There is just a little left on my plate and I quickly finish it. The whole table had been watching me feed Sam, Alyssa takes my plate and add seconds to it then hands it back. Smiling she says, “You two are going to be great for Sam.”
Sam hearing Alyssa's voice comes awake just enough to say, “Thank you Grandma, that was great.” She again snuggles back to Kathryn and falls asleep.
Everyone at the table gets a chuckle out of Sam’s antics. She such a little Angel as she rests against Kathryn, she is definitely a pretty little girl with shoulder length chestnut brown hair, beautiful brown eyes with amber highlights to them. Not quite four years old but Sam stands almost three foot tall. She will probably be five feet two inches to five feet eight inches when she is full-grown. She has a slim build and maybe only 30 pounds, which is like Kathryn at her age according to Helen. Tomorrow would take Sam shopping after we finish trading.
Our class will grow to four tomorrow with the addition of Michelle Collins, MC. I promise to get them to the point where they can retire if that's what they want to do. If we could get them somewhere between twenty and thirty million with the right investments, some high-yield bonds and stocks that should give them more than a million a year after taxes. The big problem is the first year taxes it's going to take out quite a bit of the money earn, we need to get them more than fifty million, so after this year’s taxes they still have enough to continuously make a million plus taxes annually.
Another twenty-five or thirty days like we had yesterday, we should get that in before the end of summer, but yesterday was a very good day we may have to go through a part of this fall to get them to the point where they need to be at.
I don't think they'll be a problem with Marshall and MC, but Misty wants to go back to school to finish her senior year. I guess I can always come out of retirement to help Misty get to the point where she can retire. Maybe that something we’ll do every summer trade a little bit to make a few million or tens of millions and then go back into semi-retirement. We'll talk that over after dinner.
As we finish dinner, Kathryn takes Sam back upstairs and I help her. We lay Sam back down then quietly go back downstairs. We find Grandma, Joan and Johnny working on the dishes as Mom explains to Alyssa, “You don't need to do everything it is good for other people to feel needed too. Besides that it's their way of thanking you for that great dinner.”
I walk over to her and give Alyssa kiss on the cheek and say, “That's absolutely right, any time you make that I'll do kitchen duty for a week.”
MC comes up and asks, “JJ, I hate to ask this of you, but I'm really not pay very well at the magazine, my old broker is an idiot and lost most of my money. Is there any way I can stay here?”
I chuckle and say, “Sam's Aunt MC is always welcome. But family helps out around here be up early enough tomorrow to help with breakfast, after that dinner I think Alyssa has earned breakfast off tomorrow.”
Alyssa giggles and says, “I'm really going to like being here. Grandma's got Joan and Johnny working without complaining. I can sleep in tomorrow while JJ and Kathryn make breakfast.”
Mom giggles and says, “It’s the only meal they do well at. I will clean up afterwards. That dinner was absolutely marvelous.”
Alyssa asks, “You guys really liked it that much?”
Judge Thurgood with a grin says, “If you were single I would be down on one knee right now.”
Alyssa blushes brightly and says, “Give me six months.”
The Judge raises an eyebrow and asks, “Is your husband an idiot?”
Joan and Johnny overhearing turn and say in unison, “Yes, he is.”
The Judge looks very shocked, I don't think even knew Alyssa was getting a divorce. He definitely intended it to be only a compliment, and not a real marriage proposal. Alyssa has a playful side too. She cups the Judge's face and says very seductively, “I'm not an easy woman to get, but if you're really interested you can ask me out, after my divorce is finished. I'll be living here, and when you come by to visit your little niece we can talk too." The Judge gets a shy look for a second and blushes brightly. Alyssa giggles and walks away, I think she feels good, she probably hasn't teased anyone in years, and seeing the effect she had on the Judge deftly was good for her ego.
Michael chuckles and smacks his buddy on the shoulder before saying, “She is a great cook and a looker at that.” Joan and Johnny just giggle as they rinse dishes. Marshall is smiling and I know he is trying to keep from laughing at his father.
Misty pulls Marshall over to the stairwell and whispers, “Behave, you weren't much better when I first told you I liked you. I want to see the baby for a second.”
Michael takes Judge Thurgood downstairs to play some pool. Mom, Helen and the rest of his children tagalong downstairs. MC also goes along she is talking to Helen and Mom. Misty and Kathryn quietly walk upstairs.
I walk over to Marshall and asked a few questions. “Marshall you don't feel bad about your Dad being interested in Alyssa? It's been a very long time for him right?”
Marshall looks down and says, “My Mom died in childbirth, so yeah it's been a very long time. It just funny I have never seen him interested in anyone before. I know he was joking but the way he looked at her after she said he could ask her out. I know he's going to.”
Joan still listening turns and asks, “Marshall, you don't have a problem with your Dad dating my Mom?”
Marshall just looks at her funny and says, “Why should I have a problem, your Mom is gorgeous, a great cook, and judging from you a great mother.” Joan smiles and turns back to the dishes.
Johnny asks, “You know because she's…“
Marshall cut him off, “from LA, no, not in the least. JJ came from there and he's cool.”
Johnny shakes his head and says, “No, I mean she's Hispanic.”
Marshall says, “I'm an American mutt, my ancestors got here so long ago it wasn't even North Carolina then. We are probably as much Native American as anyone else living around here, along with English, French, German, Dutch, Scots, Irish and every other group that come across the Atlantic and I wouldn't exclude Spain from that list either.”
Johnny laughs, “It doesn't matter to you?”
Marshall says, “Dad has been alone so long it would be nice to see him go out once in a while with someone he got along with. If something more develops from it, good. It probably would be good for your Mom too, to have a friend to be with once in a while.”
Joan giggles and says, “That is the first time I ever seen Mom tease anyone. I think it made her night.”
Grandma giggles and says, “I think the two of them would be good for each other.” Marshall shaking his head yes to that, Johnny shrugs his shoulders and Joan is also shaking her head yes.
I say, “I'm not much of a matchmaker. I normally leave that up to Kathryn. But even if they just stay friends it can’t hurt them to be with each other once in a while. We can arrange that, and if they get together and make each other happy that will be good.”
Johnny looks a serious face and says, “I never knew how bad my parents’ marriage is, until I seen JJ and Kathryn together, and you Marshall and Misty together are nearly the same. I want someone that will treat my Mom like that.”
Marshall smiles and says, “I’d like the same for my Dad. He is a good man with a good heart.”
Kathryn and Misty are coming downstairs quietly, they have a questioning look. Grandma says, “This little group here is going to metal in the Judge and Alyssa’s love life.”
I chuckle and say, “All we’re going to do is make sure the two of them have contact. Then step back and let it happen.”
Misty walks to Marshall and says, “Guess that could be the best way, if they're interested in each other they will work it out.”
Kathryn as she walks by Misty gently pushes her into Marshall's arms and says, “Occasionally we may have to do a little push to help things along. If they're interested in each other maybe all we need to do is let them know that. Some couples have a tough time realizing that.”
Marshall chuckles saying, “We were like that.”
Kathryn walks into my arms and I gratefully hold her as we kiss. When we break Kathryn says, “Sam is such a little Angel. She rolled over onto your pillow she took a deep breath, and said daddy. She is sound asleep. I think she's dreaming about you.”
I asked her, “You sure she's asleep, we could always go be with her. She probably needs the security of us being with her.”
Misty giggles and says, “Told you he would say that. JJ is going to be as protective of his daughters as he is of you Kathryn.”
Kathryn looking at me with love showing in her brilliantly green eyes says, “I wouldn't have it any other way.”
I so much wanted to throw Kathryn down on our bed and make love to her until she howled, but I realize we would wake up our daughter. I didn't want to expose Sam to such behavior from her new parents. I realize something also, I thought of Sam as my daughter, our daughter. Not as a beautiful child that belonged to someone else, but ours, Kathryn and I.
With a chuckle I say, “I love being a parent already, but I can understand why some parents are so grumpy.”
Kathryn giggles, “If we could just be quiet.”
Joan and Grandma laughs, Johnny has a questioning look not realizing it was us making all the noise the other two nights.
Misty giggles and says, “You two are going to have problems until you get Sam to sleep in another room.”
I say, "Or teacher her to swim in a few aunts spend some time with her while Kathryn and I have some quality time together. Tomorrow we need to go get some clothing for Sam. Hopefully we'll have time to buy a new bedroom suit for her too. We will do that right after we finish trading. I guess the question will be who wants to go with us shopping. "
Misty says quickly, “Girl got to have her Aunt with her.”
Joan quickly corrects Misty saying playfully, “Aunts, Aunt Misty.”
Kathryn giggles, “We’re not going to have room for everybody even if we take two cars.”
Grandma giggles, “Then we will take three.”
I don't have a problem with that, the more people around Sam that love her and she loves the better for Sam. Not that I don't think Kathryn and I are totally responsible enough to take care of Sam. I got a feeling Sam already has that with Kathryn and I, but she's also bonding with the rest of the family. I want him to come to a feeling of security with all the family.
I chuckle and say, “Let’s not spoil her too much, but I know a few people who need to get a few items when we’re there too. Misty and Marshall needs swimwear, probably MC need some too. And it's about time for our annual shopping trip. Tomorrow can be the warm up for that. We also need to drop by the sporting goods store and pick up a life jacket for Sam. That way she can be in the pool a lot more."
Kathryn giggles, “Great I get to go shopping for my daughter. Hope you're feeling strong husband you're going to be carrying a lot of bags tomorrow.”
I chuckle and point to Marshall, “Marshall my friend, welcome to my life. Tomorrow you're on bag carrying duty too.” Marshall one look to Misty just shakes his head yes.
Misty seeing Alyssa return from her bedroom, I guess she went to straighten up and check if anything is missing after those two have ransacked her room too. Misty asks Alyssa, “Alyssa, I asked the Judge over for dinner on Saturday. The only problem I have is he accepted. I am not a very good cook can I get you to help me, or just teach me how to make something.”
Alyssa giggles and asks, “You’re just trying to get me and him together?”
Misty looks down and says, “I wish that was all, but Marshall can tell you how bad my cooking is.” Marshall has an expression of pure panic; he doesn't want to admit he doesn't like her cooking on fear of hurting her feelings.
I come to Marshall’s aid by saying, “Alyssa's a better cook than anyone I know so your cooking is going to be hard-pressed to come up to her quality. You're a smart woman Misty to go to the best for lessons.”
With a giggle Alyssa gives me kiss on the cheek and says, “Thank you for the compliment on my cooking JJ. It's nice to hear that.” Alyssa turns to Misty who has a pleading look on her face. Alyssa smiles and says, “It's hard to cook, especially if you're not sure of yourself. You help me cook lunch tomorrow and I'll give you some practice. We’ll be shopping at dinner time. But the day after that lunch and dinner you are going to help me prepare.”
Misty now brightly smiles, “Thank you Alyssa I'll be glad to help you any time just to get to learn a few things.”
Kathryn says, “Be here at eight tomorrow morning, you can help JJ and I fix breakfast.”
The look on Marshall's face is almost comical, an expression of panic and relief all at once. He seemed to really enjoy Kathryn and me cooking breakfast for them the other day. It makes me wonder just how bad of a cook Misty is. Her cooking couldn't be worse than my water skiing, even if it is, will both improve with practice.
I want to ask the Judge what he knows about adopting, maybe give us some pointers make the process go faster or smoother was Sam. I turn to Kathryn say, “Let's go ask the Judge what we need to do to make Sam our daughter permanently.”
Kathryn wraps her arm around me and begins pulling me to the elevator, of course we don't go alone Marshall, Misty, Joan, Johnny, Grandma and Alyssa all come to hear what the Judge will say to us.
We find the judge in the game room playing pool with Michael senior, Mom and the rest of the girls watching TV in the home theater. I wait until there's a break in their game before I asked the Judge, “Your Honor, do you have any advice to make the adoption of Sam easier?”
Judge Thurgood laughs, “First of all when I'm in your house, I'm Uncle George. As for the adoption of Sam don't worry too much about it. You just love her, and Ms. Clark will see that. With her approval it will go through with no problems.”
Kathryn smiled brightly and says, “Okay Uncle George. Loving Sam is not something I could stop now anyway.”
I chuckle and say, “I think I can speak for the whole family on this one, none of us could stop loving Sam, right Uncle George?”
Marshall knowing his Dad says, “I know I couldn't.”
The Judge says, “Amen to that. I'm sure no one could ever stop loving Samantha.”
Kathryn says, “Come on honey we have a daughter to look after.” I waved goodbye as we had back to the elevator.
We arrive just in time to see Sam shuffle on the bed and raise her head, with little a girl’s voice edged in fear she says, “Mommy? Daddy?”
In a soothing voice I say, “Right here Sam. We are coming to bed, right now.”
With giggles, Sam says, “Good.”
Kathryn and I have pajamas that we hardly ever wear. Occasionally we use them to go just down the breakfast in them. We decide to wear them tonight is the only right thing to do, because Sam is with us in bed. Kathryn and I quickly dress in our pajamas then join Sam in bed.
Kathryn cuddles and next to me as Sam does the same on my other side. Sam looks into Kathryn's face and asks, “Mommy you sure the cops got Lester?"
Kathryn gently strokes Samantha shoulder and says, “Yes Sam, Uncle George says he will never get out of jail again his life. Because what he did to your old mommy, and all the bad things he's done before that.”
Sam signs heavily and says, “Lester was a bad man, and I try to tell old mommy that. She wouldn't listen to me.”
Now I say, “Lester can't come here Sam even if he got out of jail. If he ever did I would not let him hurt you. I asked Uncle George if I can make you my daughter. He is going to help us do that. You never are going to have to leave us, Sam, your Mom and I will always be with you.”
Sam giggles and says, “Goody.”
After that Sam relaxes and falls asleep quickly. I can tell Kathryn is watching her face and hasn't fallen asleep yet so I ask, “Love, you know this was never in the premonition. We helping Joan, Michelle, Marshall and Misty weren’t in the premonition either but it feels right. Alyssa moving in, or MC staying here but I feel like they are family to me. You think it’s okay?”
Kathryn says very quietly, “I thought about that. It's like the premonition showed us part of our future. What would be the average, and left it for us to do better. I don't think I want to give up Sam just because she wasn't in our premonition.”
“You're right we’re not. I love her too much. She's part of us now.”