Dawn’s early morning light fills our room, I awake to a totally different life today, yesterday it was just Kathryn and I. It's still too early to know for sure if she's pregnant but I believe so. We rushed the process of becoming parents by taking in Sam. Just after a few hours, not a full day yet, and I can’t see my life without Sam in it. Kathryn and I both fell in love with the young girl the second she asks if Kathryn could be her Mommy. Kathryn sleeping is in her usual spot, cuddled next to me her head resting on my shoulder. The one thing different is Sam went to sleep on my other shoulder and now I wake to find her on my chest. Sam in the night moved near enough to cuddle to Kathryn.
I know I’m trying to deal with the death of Nicole. To me she was just a person who used my home in a disrespectful manner. A thief and a prostitute who trespassed in my home, but she's so much more now, she was Sam's aunt. I'll see that she has a proper funeral. Lester her boyfriend, stole the remainder of her life in any opportunity to correct the wrongs she had done.
In a way Nicole's death did benefit me, as Sam's last living relative it cleared away any obstacle to adopting Sam. I know I've already fallen in love with Sam being our daughter. She seems to be a little Angel, bright and intelligent, loving and friendly. She won the hearts of our family so quickly with her innocent charm. I feel so lucky to have her in my life, our lives. I also feel guilty because Nicole's death, something that should never had occurred benefits me so greatly.
When they chose to come here, I knew they had no idea the changes that were going to follow. That their actions would lead to one of their deaths, and the other facing justice. That It would place Sam into our lives. If you believe it wasn't just coincidence, then why wasn't Sam part of our premonition? Were the actions of Lester and Nicole under their free will, or something bigger pushing them to this end? I have no idea how or why, and frankly I don't have the desire to spend the time to find out. I'm just going to enjoy the result that places this Angel in my life, now currently sleeping on my chest.
Kathryn begins to stir; the room has brightened quite a lot in the few minutes since I have awakened. Kathryn really doesn't move but I feel her smile and realize she's looking into the face of our daughter. My hand gently strokes Kathryn's back and I feel her move to look at my face I turned to Kathryn with a bright smile I whisper, “Good morning my Love.”
Kathryn moves to kiss me. As we kiss Sam takes a deep breath and I feel her raise her head and we hear her giggles. We break our kiss to turn to our daughter who is now seating on my stomach. Kathryn and I say, “Good morning our Princess Sam.”
Sam throws her arms around Kathryn's neck and begins kissing her cheeks saying, “Good morning Mommy. I love you.”
With tears of joy Kathryn returns Sam’s kisses and many more. Kathryn says, "I love you too Sam."
I feel Kathryn's and Sam's joy, share it with them. Before I realize it I share Kathryn's tears of joy. Sam seeing our tears and don't realize they're from joy asks, “Did I do something wrong?”
Kathryn laughs and pulls her into a tight hug and says, “No my beautiful little Sam you just made Daddy and Mommy very, very happy.”
Sam with a giggle says, “Oh.” She hugs Kathryn back.
I can't really set up because where Sam is sitting on me. So, I watch the two loves in my life hug each other. I finally say, "Oh where is Dad’s, don't I get any hugs?”
Giggling Sam says, “Right after we get back daddy. Mommy I got to go.” She gets up off me, and begins to pull Kathryn up. Kathryn gets up and takes Sam into her arms and begins walking back towards the bathroom.
In a few minutes Mom shows up with Sam's medicine. Mom asks, “Sam up already?”
I simply reply, “Bathroom.”
Sam comes out in the hall just before Kathryn and seeing her grandma she runs to her shouting, “Grandma Maggie.”
Mom wraps Sam in a hug and kisses Sam on the cheek she says, “Good morning Princess Sam. How did you sleep last night?”
Sam begins with a giggle and says, “Daddy’s shoulder is a little hard so I climbed on to his chest. Mommy was asleep and she still kissed me.” Sam is all giggles now, as my Mom begins to kiss her on her face.
Kathryn comes out of the restroom and gives Sam and my Mom a hug. This is my cue to get up and use the bathroom. I give the three a quick kiss on my way to the bathroom and I explain to Sam, “Daddy got to go too.”
Sam giggles and says, "Hurry back Daddy."
Kathryn says, "Shave first honey.”
When I come out of the bathroom I find Kathryn and Sam in bathing suits, Sam wears a pretty blue one piece suit and Kathryn is in her normal bikini. Sam runs to me jumping into my arms and says, “Grandma Helen came by with my new bathing suit.”
With a laugh I say, “Looks like we're not the only ones going to spoil you.”
Sam giggles and says, “Mommy said that too.” Kathryn shakes her head yes confirming what Sam said.
Sam says, “Daddy get you're swimming trunks on so you can teach me to swim, please.”
After giving Sam a few kisses that cause her to giggle I say, “Since you asked so nicely, how can I refuse my Princess Sam?”
Sam has a questioning look on her face, so I explain, “There's no way I'm going to tell you no. Any time you ask nicely Sam, I will do about anything for you.” I walk into the closet with my swimming trunks and quickly change into them. Walking out Sam is there with her arms outstretched so I take her into my arms and give her a few kisses.
Kathryn giggles and asks, “Should I be jealous?”
Sam giggles and says, “Daddy you should kiss Mommy so she will not be jealous.”
I walk over to Kathryn, who stands there with her hands on her hips looking angry except for her eyes are green and playful. If she was really angry her eyes would not be green. I've only seen her eyes once when she was angry and I hadn't realized yet how they shift colors with her emotions. Her eyes are Hazel but they shift through green to blue to a brownish gray. They were more of a brownish gray color then.
When I am just a few feet away from Kathryn, I give Sam a kiss on the forehead and set her down. I quickly wrapped my arms around Kathryn and pull her tightly to me. I turn us like in the tango sweeping Kathryn off her feet I now hold her in my arms as she looks up at me. I begin a long passionate kiss as Sam giggles.
Kathryn and I finally break the kiss as Sam giggles stop. I turned Kathryn back and put her on her feet. Together Kathryn and I pick up Sam, and then walk over to the elevator to head to the pool. As the doors open to the elevator and we step into the family room, Helen is there to greet us. Sam immediately reaches for her Grandma Helen. I pass Helen her new Grandchild. Sam says happily, “Thinks for the bathing suit Grandma Helen.”
Of course Helen is dressed for swimming as well, she says, “I wanted to see your first swimming lesson with your daddy.”
I laughed and say, “Her first lesson is to learn how to float.”
Sam gets a disappointed look on her face and asks, “You mean I'm not going to learn to swim today?”
I tell Sam, “Sam it's important to learn how to float, if you ever fall into the water you may not be able to swim but if you know how to float you won't drown. We’ll learn how to swim a little today after you have learned to float."
A little confused and disappointed but she shrugged her shoulders and says, “Okay Daddy.”
I playfully run my hands over Sam's neck caused her to giggle after a second or two Sam tries to push my hands away. I say, “No gills so you're not a mermaid. You got to breathe air.”
Giggling Sam says, “Yes Daddy. I'm not a fish.” Sam is a smart child. She now gets the importance of learning to float. With a giggle she says, “As long as I can float I can breathe.”
I say, “That’s right Sam. Even if you are too tired to swim any further as long as you can float, you can rest until you can go on."
Sam points out, "But Daddy we’re in the pool, it’s not that big, and if I get tired I'll just get out.”
Then I point something else out to Sam, “Sam I'm not just teaching you how to swim in the pool. I'm teaching you how to swim anywhere you are. In a lake or the ocean, and they really are that big, that you can't swim all the way across them. But people learn how to swim for miles and miles and to do that you have to stop and float a little once in a while. Some people even learn how to swim all the way across the English Channel it's twenty-one miles wide."
Kathryn says, “It is Sam, that's further them down the river and then all the way across the Lake to the marina in town. I got a boat there. Tomorrow you can have a boat ride when we bring it back.”
Sam says, “Wow that is a long way. Daddy what is a mile?”
Kathryn giggles and says, “Sam, that is twenty-six times from one end of the pool and back. Your Daddy and I swim that almost every day during the summer.”
Sam giggles and asks, "After I know how, can I swim with you?"
I tickle Sam’s belly through her swimsuit and say, “You can, but when you get tired you float and if you are too tired you get out for a while. It may take a long time to learn to swim that far, me and your Mommy didn't go that far at first too.”
Kathryn giggles and says, "That's right sweetie it took us a few months to learn how to go that far. We could already run for four or five miles.”
Sam asks, “Mommy why you and Daddy run so far? Does somebody chase you?”
Kathryn giggles and says, “Your Daddy is the only one brave enough to chase me. Everybody around here knows better than to mess with him. He's kind and gentle but just as tough if he needs to be.”
Sam comes back into my arms and she looks into my eyes she says, “Mommy I don't see any mean in Daddy.”
Kathryn says, “You won't see any in him because he's not mean. That doesn't make him weak. He's stronger than any other man I know.”
Sam's Grandpa Michael says, “That’s right Sam, as long as you are with your Daddy nobody is going to hurt you.”
The giggling Sam asks, “Is Daddy tougher than you too Grandpa?”
I chuckle and say, “You're Grandpa never has to worry about being tougher than me. I'll never hurt him, because I love your Grandpa.”
The coach chuckles and says, “I love you too JJ. I’m glad I'll never have to find out.”
Sam thinks for a second then giggles saying, “Me too Grandpa.”
Michelle giggles, “Your Daddy is tougher than that big old black bear that wanted to eat me.”
Sam with big eyes asks, “Really Aunt Michelle?”
I chuckle and say, “We can tell her the story later. If we keep talking I'll never get the chance the teacher to swim.”
Sam giggles and says, “I want to hear the story, but I want to learn to swim now.” With that I take Kathryn by the hand and carrying Sam into the solarium we walked to the shallow end of the pool and I walk down the steps in with Sam in my arms and Kathryn in tow.
Once I'm in the water up past my naval and Sam’s feet and legs are beginning to get wet. Sam giggles and starts kicking in the water. I let her play for a little as her and Kathryn splash each other. All her Aunts begin to splash Sam, Kathryn, and me. Of course we splash back as they are all giggles. After a little, and a few splashes to her face Sam hides her face against me. I hold my hand up and say, “I think that's enough splashing right now.”
Sam grumbles, “Somebody got water in my eyes.”
I chuckle and say, “Happens a lot when you are in the pool. Kathryn, can you show Sam how to float?”
Kathryn gets the why me expression on her face as she shakes her head no. Forcing myself not to laugh I ask, “Kathryn you know how to float?”
With a look of displeasure and brownish gray eyes Kathryn looks at her Dad and says, “The person who taught me how to swim just tossed me in and made me swim around until I got good at it.”
I chuckle and say, “A lot of people learn to swim that way, a lot become very fearful of the water too.”
I pass Sam to Kathryn, “Okay I'll show both of you how to float. Just watch a show you how easy it can be.”
I take a breath holding it I lay back gently in the water. I sink just below the surface and then relaxing I rise till my face is completely out of the water. Breathing shallowly I only rise and sink a little with each breath. I turned to look at the two as they grin at me. On my exhale I say, “Once you relax totally it's easy.” Another breath in and I rise in the water again and say, “If you tense up you will sink.” I take another breath in and hold it. I tense my body up and began to sink under the surface I relax again and rise back up above the surface. I stand in the water again. Once you learn how to do that you can rest in the water for a long time and recover your strength.
Sam asks, “Can I try Daddy?”
I say, “Okay Sam, first remember you can only breathe air. Don't try to breathe the water.”
Sam giggles saying, “I know that. Daddy, I take baths.”
With a smile I say, “Just reminding you Princess Sam. First take a deep breath and hold it. I’ll keep my hand underneath you, so you will not sink like I did. When you float off my hand I want you to stay relaxed and float as long as you can.”
With one hand under her neck as she lays back releasing Kathryn, Sam begins to stretch out in the water I keep her from moving away. I gently reduce the pressure holding Sam up; she sinks only a little until my hand has about half-inch space under her. At first Sam exhales too deeply and begins the sink until she run into my hand. I raise her up and say smaller breaths then allow her to sink back into the water she inhales rises from my hands. As she exhales she stops when she feels herself beginning to sink and takes another breath in a she rises in the water again with a large smile on her face. I let her float for five minutes.
With an approving smile I say, “Okay Sam it’s Mommy’s turn to learn how to do it.” I move Sam up on my shoulders and she straddles my neck and holds on around my head.
Kathryn still with the why me expression comes forward. I laid her back gently, and repeat the instruction to Kathryn who I know already knows them. Kathryn resting on my hand with her nose and mouth above the water I raise her up until her ears her out to tell her to relax totally let your lungs expand as much as possible. She does as I gently lower her back she doesn't sink nearly as far. She gets a wide grin on her face before she says, “it's easier than I thought.” She has to suck in a breath to keep above water but she manages it. I let Kathryn float for five minutes also.
She stands and hugs me, “You know that is the most relaxing thing I've done in the pool in a few days.” Mom and Helen overhearing began laughing. That causes a lot of confused looks from her sisters as well as her father and Sam. Kathryn and I just laugh a long with our mothers and don't bother to explain.
It only takes a few seconds for everyone to go back to what they were doing anyway. I lift Sam off my shoulders turning her and pulling her back to my chest I ask, “Ready to try it again Sam?"
Sam shakes her head yes, before I let her back in the water I tell her, “This time Sam I want you to fan your hands in the water.” I show Sam how to hold her hands in fan in the water. She has a look of what’s that going to do. “Now we will move in the water as you do that.” Sam's eyes brighten.
As Sam floats and fans her hands she begins to slowly move she has a bright smile. I tell her to raise her head so she can see where she is going. I have Kathryn move a few steps ahead of her just to Sam raises her head she sees Kathryn in the direction she's headed. She moves her hands even faster in the water. Only letting the tips of my fingers touch her back once in a while to ensure her I'm still with her.
Kathryn stands still and allows Sam to swim to her. It's not really pretty or graceful and technically not swimming, but it will move her around in the pool until she can get to where she can get out. Sam bumps into Kathryn who pulls Sam into a hug. Sam has a smile that will light up the solarium even in the middle of the night or brighten it in the day. She says happily, “Mommy I was moving. I was moving in the water. Did you see me?”
Giggling Kathryn says, “You’re doing great Sam.” We let Sam float back and forth between the family members for at least half an hour before reluctantly taking her out of the pool.
I tell her, “We need to take a shower and begin to make breakfast.”
Sam giggles and her stomach growls, “I think my tummy is ready for breakfast.”
I let her and Kathryn shower, then quickly shower myself. We dress and walked downstairs to make breakfast. With all my in-laws here I make some extra pancake batter and pull out the large griddle to begin making stacks of pancakes. I can cook a half a dozen at a time so it doesn't take very long for me to make nearly fifty pancakes. Misty and Marshall are helping Kathryn with eggs and bacon. Sam is sitting on my shoulders and helping me watch pancakes. MC comes in sleepily she began setting the plates and silverware at Kathryn's direction. It doesn't take long and breakfast is complete.
Alyssa giggles saying, “This looks great.” She steals Sam off my shoulders. Alyssa is giving the little girl lots of kisses and wishing her good morning. She takes her over to the table and sets her in her lap. She doesn't wait for the rest of us and begins to feed Sam.
It doesn’t take long for everyone to find a seat at the table. The room breaks out into chaos with everyone reaching for pancakes, eggs or beacon. Then it calms quickly as everyone has food and begins to eat. And like always when everyone was here, we began to talk, laugh and discuss a hundred things. I mention the shopping trip this afternoon and MC asks, “Is it okay if I come along too?”
Kathryn says, “Yes. We are not going to leave you here all by yourself to get lonely.”
Mom and Helen takes care Sam as we trade, occasionally Sam comes up and I or Kathryn spends a few minutes with her in our laps before an Aunt or Grandmother steals her away. After lunch Sam spends a lot of time on my lap as she slowly nods off to sleep I gently walk over to our bed and lay her down for her nap.
Marshall Misty and Joan had the money from the previous day of trading. MC’s created her account she moved all the money from her brokerage fund account which gave her just a little under what Marshall Misty and Joan had. She got a call from her broker early in the morning she took great pleasure in telling him, “You’re fired.”
The trading day finishes, I don't need to look at the totals to know we did really well today too. Marshall, Misty, MC, and Joan look over their totals. They are in shock for a few seconds with their mouths open and wide eyes staring at their accounts. MC is the first to recover from her shock, she jumps at me throws me into a hug. It's not a sexual moment it's just she is so happy she needed to hold someone. She releases me and grabbed Kathryn hugging her tightly too. Marshall and Misty kiss, and Joan giggles hugs the two of us. Joan says, "You think Mom was happy the last time.”
Now with tears in her eyes MC says, “That’s more than Dad left me in his will. That asshole broker selected the worst stocks out there. He lost money almost on every trade. That's why it was so fun to fire him."
Kathryn says, “You should never trust a broker who doesn't perform well consistently. You never know if they're protecting some clients at the expense of others.”
Michelle Collins, MC says, "I'm happy you guys let me join in this class. I may not know everything Kathryn or JJ knows, but I know more than my former broker, and my account exhibits that.”
I smile and say, “A few more days like today and you can retire pulling in around a million a year after taxes. This first year taxes are going to be rather high and you going to have to make enough to pay those, and leave a large enough balance to give you dividends of nearly two million yearly."
Marshall points out, “We would be halfway there if we didn't have to pay taxes."
MC suggests, “We always can talk to a few congressmen and see if we could get exempted like a lot of the other people I know of.”
A little annoyed I say, “MC, I don't do that it's not fair for me to not pay taxes just because I can afford to give a large donation to my Congressman for his reelection campaign. When a teacher who barely makes ends meet get stuck with more taxes, and half of the politicians are talking about taking away Social Security so the richest people don't have to pay taxes.”
MC asks, “You mean you don't try for being tax exempt. It's no wonder; a lot of the 1% doesn’t like you.”
Smiling I say, “I can deal with the 1% not liking me."
I decided to change the topic before we get into some deep discussion. Not many people want to hear my views on the subject. Someone told me, “Personally if it looks like that will occur, I will sell every stock, and cash every bond, close every bank account and buy gold, silver, firearms and land. Build a fallout shelter and stock it with enough food to last two years, with seeds to plant after that. It would only be a matter of a few months before the end of the country as we know it today.”
I can’t do that. I'll stay here and help whoever I could. Besides that I have a feeling the ones building the fallout shelters, when they couldn't get in would make it impossible for those inside to ever leave. You have to remember they are outside with the concrete trucks, and mad enough to turn your fallout shelter into your tomb.
Only fools don't learn from history. When a large part of the population becomes so poor that they are in starvation a revolution has occurred. Never goes well for the idiots that caused it. I just hope they realize how bad it will be before they really cause that.
With a smile I say, “Now that my friends have enough money to spend, you guys want to go shopping?”
My friends other than maybe MC have no idea how to get money out of their account takes a few minutes to help Marshall with his. He has an account set up in the local bank and he can move money into it easily enough. Misty and Joan don’t have a bank account we will have to set one up for them. MC moves fifty thousand dollars into her account grins same, “That's the most my account has seen in it ever.”
Marshall tells me, “JJ, after three days I'm now wealthier than my father is, he has been trading since the 90s.”
I chuckle and tell Marshall, “True wealth has nothing to do with money. You and Misty are wealthy because the love you share. Now you have enough money that you'll not have to worry about monetary needs very soon.”
Marshall chuckles and says, “It's funny, love is the one thing you give away and get more because you gave it."
Misty comes into Marshall's arms smiling she says, “I love you Marshall.” She kisses him passionately.
Kathryn slides into my arms watching our two friends, has made her very happy.
Joan has gone downstairs she's telling her mother how well she did today. Only a few seconds we can hear an excited Alyssa as she runs up the stairs several sets of footsteps follow. I point to the computer showing Joan’s account. Alyssa sits in the chair and begins looking over the account page. It shows the total assets at the bottom. I thought Alyssa would have a heart attack from the look on her face. She goes through every human emotion possible in a few seconds as she looks at Joan’s account.
Alyssa finally looks at me, “JJ how much money are you going to help Joan make?”
I tell Alyssa honestly, “I have not figured it out yet. Once they have around fifty or sixty million, I know they can retire after the taxes still draw in enough in dividends to make a million a year after taxes.
Joan tells her mother, “With you getting divorced, if it was you Dad would take half of it. This way JJ can give us as much money as he wants. You know you would never want for anything as long as JJ or I can pay for it.
I say, “It may look like I'm just giving it to her, but I'm showing Joan exactly how to make it. At one point after we are far enough along, Joan is going to help make decisions on which stock or commodity to buy. We did really well today, a few more days like today and Joan will be to the point where she can retire or continue on with the class if she wants. Joan is right about two things you'll never want for anything, and your divorce. All Edward has to do is withdraw the paperwork and resubmit it to get half anything that you would make in a class like this.”
Alyssa asks, "After my divorce is final, you'll teach me to do this as well?"
Kathryn says, “If you teach me how to make that meatloaf, I'll teach you how to trade stocks.”
Alyssa hugs Kathryn and says, “I would be happy to teach you how to make that meatloaf, it’s easier than you would think.”
With a giggle Kathryn says, “So is the stock market, when you know the secret to it.”
With a chuckle I say, “Today we're going shopping, tomorrow, we need open account for Joan so she can use her money. I'll show her how to do this by using a trust fund, that way it's less in taxes and has other legal benefits. The trust fund can actually buy property, like a car or home that you can use.”
Joan asked, “The trust fund can buy a car even though I can't drive?”
I inform Joan, “You're over fourteen in this state you can get a farm license and you can drive to and from markets and the farm. I was driving shortly after I got here. My trust also purchased a car for Mom to drive."
Joan looks at her mother and before she can even ask Alyssa response, “Only if JJ teaches you to drive too. I'll be too scared and I don't know the roads around here.”
Kathryn says, “He can teach us to drive at the same time Joan.”
Joan giggles, “Only thing that I need now is a vehicle to drive.”
I think about it before I say, “I got the perfect one for the two of you to learn to drive in.”
Kathryn giggles, “You mean your old truck.”
With a smile I say, “Yes, you can’t hurt it much. If you hit anything, I can get it fixed.”
Kathryn says, “You have not fixed that beat up truck of the last dent it got."
With a chuckle I say, “I was not talking about the truck getting fixed.”
Alyssa giggles, “I think you're right JJ that is the perfect thing for them to learn on.”
An excited Sam says, “Let's go shopping.”
Mom has her by the hand she's dressed nicely and one of Kathryn's old outfits that barely stays on Sam. It's a little large for her, the pants legs been rolled up and belt pulled tightly around Sam's waist. Kathryn shakes her head before she says, “You sure need to go shopping today. I got to find you all new outfits that are just for Sam.”
Sam has a bright smile as she says, “I like shopping.”
We all pile into vehicles four in all, almost the entire family goes even Sam's grandpa Michael, and the Coach normally would not go on shopping trips for anything. Kathryn’s older brothers don't come along, they left to go their fiancés families to spend some time during the summer with them. Michael Junior will be graduating next spring and they will have a wedding in June of next year. Mark is waiting to his graduation for his wedding. Eddie is off with his girlfriend trying to spend as much time together as they can, before he's off to college this fall.
Marshall and Misty arrived with MC who was riding with them. Mom, Alyssa, Joan and Grandma pull in next to them. Now everyone here together we began to walk into the mall. Sam loves riding on my shoulders with one hand on Sam's knee, and her arms wrapped around my head. My free hand is held by Kathryn as we walk into the mall. Our first stop not like normal is a children's apparel shop.
Sam reluctantly leaves my shoulders after Kathryn is picked out several outfits that Sam has to go try on. Sam insists on showing me each one after they have her dressed in her new outfit. The grandma's bring in clothing for Sam to try on too. Sam models for the best of an hour there. Sam's not very picky about her clothing she seems to like everything Kathryn and her grandma's bring for her to try on.
Sam does make one request. She would like a dress like Kathryn's. Fortunately for us is a mother daughter shop in the mall. Kathryn and Sam get a few dresses that match. Mom and Helen get a couple that also matches Sam's. When we leave the shop and Kathryn and Sam have dressed in matching outfits.
We go through the mall stopping at various stores and of course we made our last stop Victoria's Secret, Sam, Marshall and the Coach set with me outside as the women shop. A growling stomach gets my attention then that Sam is hungry. I ask Sam, “You getting a little hungry Sam?”
Sam with a giggle says, “Daddy, look cookies. Can I have one Daddy?”
I hadn't really noticed before but there was one of those stores that bake and sell cookies two stores down and across the mall from where we set. The smell of cookies saturated the air in the mall. I think it is a cruel thing to do to the father of a four-year-old. I make an executive daddy decision. I'll get the cookies for Sam, but only let her have one to hold her over to dinner. Because I didn't answer immediately Sam begins to get this puppy dog face, her lower lip turns down in a pout, with the big sad brown eyes she is just so cute.
As I get up with Sam, Grandpa Michael chuckles, “I can use a snack too.” Marshall guards the bags on our benches.
Before I get to the cookies shop I asked Sam, “Sam what is your favorite cookie?”
Sam replies, “Chocolate chip, they’re yummy.”
At the counter I order a dozen chocolate chip cookies, of course they're not the normal size of cookies. Kathryn loves oatmeal cookies, so I order dozen of those as well. I get milks for all of us. The Coach gets a peanut butter cookie for himself he says, “One will be fine I'm the only one in the family that likes them.”
Sam sees Marshall glancing over at us and says, “Daddy we should get cookies for Uncle Marshall too.”
Setting Sam back down on the ground I say, “Okay Sam but I don't know what kind. Would you go over and ask Uncle Marshall what kind for him and Misty?”
Sam skips over to her Uncle Marshall and asked loudly, “Uncle Marshall what kind of cookie you want, and for Aunt Misty too?”
Marshall thinks for second and says, “Walnut raisin for me, and chocolate, chocolate chip for Misty.” Sam skips back to me, and relays the message and I order two more dozen cookies in those flavors.
We walked back over to the bench, and I give Sam a cookie and open her milk for her. Sitting beside me on the bench is Sam eating her cookie, the Coach on the other side of Sam. I'm nibbling on my cookie watching Sam enjoying hers.
About half of Sam's cookie is gone when Kathryn and everyone else has finished their shopping. Kathryn comes up and put her hands on her hips looking at me she says, “Where did those cookies come from?”
Kathryn's Dad says playfully, “The cookies shop just down the mall.” Kathryn may be acting mad but her eyes give her away, they are green and playful.
Kathryn says, “Why would you spoil Sam's appetite.”
Sam's expression turns into the same pouty one she used on me. It makes Kathryn giggle; she leans forward and gives Sam a kiss. She whispers, “Sam that works on your Dad every time. But it doesn't with me sweetie.”
I pulled out the full bag of oatmeal cookies from where I had them hidden. Marshall hands a carton of milk to me, I hand both the Kathryn. Kathryn slides into my lap opening the bag to find her favorite cookie. With a giggle Kathryn says, “Now that's my husband he really does know how to spoil his girls.”
With Sam's little girl giggle she says, “Daddy sure does Mommy.”
The Coach says, “Makes it hard for me, I have to work so hard to keep up with you JJ.”
Marshall says, “Amen, JJ you're a hard act to follow.”
Misty giggles sliding into Marshall's lap, “Marshall you're doing just fine. You know I love you a lot.” Marshall hands Misty the bag of cookies and after one look into the bag she just melts into his arms giving him a passionate kiss.
Sam giggles as she licks her fingers clean of the chocolate. Helen comes by takes the bag of chocolate chip cookies takes one hands the bag to my Mom who also gets a cookie. Kathryn sisters grab the oatmeal, before long most of the cookies are gone. Sam takes the opportunity as I pay attention to Kathryn, to take a few bites out of my cookie. The coach chuckles and says, “He was eating it to slow right Sam?”
I chuckle as Sam’s eyes go large then I hold the cookie close to Sam. Sam relaxes quickly and grabbed a bite with a giggle.
With the cookies to sustain us for a while, we go to a sporting goods store. We pick up some lifejackets two small enough for Sam, and a few more for the boat. Couples ski vests, Marshall said that should be easier for me to learn with one of those on. They also have swimwear there. We pick up three extra swimsuits for Sam. Marshall Misty and MC pick up swimwear themselves.
Next we make a quick stop at the furniture store and Sam and Kathryn pick out furniture for Sam's room. When we suggest a single bed, Sam says no. We had to buy a full-size bed that way, Kathryn, a grandmother or aunt can lay down with her. I have to admire her logic, for a small child she is very intelligent.
Once home Sam had fallen asleep on the drive home and like most small children as soon as the car stopped she was wide awake.
Sam hasn't forgotten about us telling her the story. She climbed up into her Aunt Michelle's lap and asks, "Aunt Michelle, are you going to tell me the story about the bear who wanted to eat you?”
Kathryn giggles and says, “That’s my story I tell, but Aunt Michelle can start it.”
Grandma says, “Hold it for a moment. I need to get something for Sam so she can be really comfortable for the story.” She gives her granddaughters a wink, and scampers off. She comes back with the rolled up bear skin she spreads it out covering the couch, setting Sam in the middle of it.
Sam says, “This is nice. It feels like a puppy dog. What is it?”
Grandma says, “We will tell you at the end of the story Sam.”
Kathryn and Michelle giggles, “Michelle starts the story, two years ago Sam near grandma's house up the mountainside, JJ and Kathryn were kissing when I saw the bear. I was not the first and when my sisters started to run I turned to run too.”
Now Kathryn takes over the story when we heard them screaming we turn to see what was the matter, and there was this huge black bear running down the hillside after them as they ran away. Your Daddy, JJ stood there and shouts at the bear but the bear was intent on my fleeing sisters. So he stepped in between your Aunts and the bear. That caused the bear to stop, but the bear stands on his hind legs and he was bigger than your Daddy.”
Sam watches with bright large eyes listening to every word. Michelle added her part, “I turned my head to see how close the bear was, only to trip and fall. Before I get up off the ground I looked and the bear stopped less than 50 feet from me, about half as long as the pool is Sam. Your Daddy was there shouting at the bear and he made it stop. Your Daddy really saved my life right then, at the risk of his own life. Kathryn was only a few feet behind your Daddy. Your Aunt Kara helps me to my feet because she saw your Daddy had stopped the bear. We ran the rest of the way down the hill to grandma's house.”
Kathryn continues, “Your Daddy stood there shouting at that bear, the bear was not so smart if it had been it would run for his life. The bear lumbered forward on its hind legs, growling at the top of its lungs. Your Daddy stood there shouting at the top of his lungs hoping the bear would leave. The bear continued on toward your Daddy and your Daddy started moving toward it still shouting.
A closer your Daddy got to the bear the bigger the bear looked. The more scared I got, by this time I'm shaking and too frightened to run. I thank your Daddy knew this, and he continued on towards the bear. The bear kept coming towards your Daddy.
He wasn't going to let anything hurt his family, not if he could help it. I think the bear got louder and so did your Dad. Maybe I was so scared it only sounded louder. After two quick steps towards the bear the bear pulled back one its clawed hands like it was going to strike your Dad. Your Dad so fast he kicked the bear so hard it actually raised off the ground and flew back a foot or two, and then the bear hits the ground.”
Sam’s hand was running through the fur of the rug she set on. With wide eyes Sam asks, “Really Mommy? What happened to the bear after that?”
Grandma looks at Sam and says, “Sam, you are setting on it.”
Sam looks down and for second it looks like she's afraid the skin will come back alive with the bear inside of it. Then she begins to giggle before she says, “Daddy really is tough.”
Michelle laughs before she says, “He is that, and brave and strong too. He is so in love with your Mommy he'll do anything to protect her. Sam your Daddy loves you too. I see it in his eyes every time he looks at you.”
Sam gives her Aunt Michelle a hug and says, “I love Daddy too, I love Mommy and you.”
Michelle says, “I love you too Sam. I love your Daddy too, he saved my life.”