Monday was Wyatt’s birthday, so tonight we were having the meal he’d requested, followed by the family party for him.Dad had pulled him aside after we got home from church the previous day and asked what he wanted for dinner, and once Wyatt told him, he agreed to fix it.Dad also invited Aunt Sally, Aunt Mary, Uncle Steve, and Richard to have dinner with us, rather than merely having them show up later for cake.Once they’d all arrived, we sat down at the table.
Wyatt had chosen to have spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, and a green salad for dinner, which wasn’t surprising.As soon as we finished our meal, Benny and Joshie helped Dion and me clear the table, and then Dad carried in the cake.He’d made it earlier in the day instead of purchasing one from the bakery, and he’d already placed a large number ‘8’ in the center.Dion lit it and we all sang Happy Birthday to Wyatt.
When the song ended, I urged Wyatt to make a wish and blow out the candle, and then Dion helped him cut the cake and pass out the slices.As soon as Wyatt finished devouring his piece, we allowed him to open his presents.
He got a lot of nice things and he thanked each person that gave him a present, and then we allowed the younger boys to go with Wyatt as he checked out some of those items more closely.While he was doing that, the rest of us chatted with our guests.
“I officially placed the adoption ceremony on my calendar at work,” Uncle Steve announced, “and the court stenographer and the bailiff have agreed to stay late to help out.I think they’re just as excited about doing this as you guys are.”
“That’s really nice of them, so please relay our thanks for volunteering to do this,” stated Brandon.
“I will, and you can thank them in person once the ceremony is concluded.”
“Yes, we’ll be sure to do that,” agreed Dion.
“As usual, both the dinner and the cake were wonderful,” added Aunt Mary.
“Dad made it all,” I replied.
“I think we suspected that,” commented Aunt Sally, “although we weren’t sure if any of you had helped out.”
“No, this time he did it all on his own,” confirmed Brandon.
“Brandon and I would also like to thank Richard for helping us get Xander,” said Danny.
“Yes, he is fitting in very well with the other boys,” confirmed Brandon.
“And thank you for helping us get TJ,” chimed in Dion.
“He’s a really good baby and hardly ever cries,” I added.
“I’m so glad they’re both working out,” responded Richard, “and I really appreciate that I can count on the four of you whenever I have a difficult placement to deal with.”
“We’re all happy to help out,” we answered in unison.It appeared we’d all been subconsciously taking lessons from the twins.
A short time after our conversation ended, our guests extended their regrets and insisted they had to leave.Uncle Steve and Richard both said they had things to do before they headed to work in the morning, and both women said it was nearing their bedtime and they needed to get their beauty rest.We called the boys in to join us so they could say goodbye to them, and then we walked the others out to their cars.
“We’ll see you again on Friday,” stated Aunt Sally before she got into the rear of Uncle Steve’s vehicle.
“That is if we’re still invited,” joked Aunt Mary.
“Of course. you are,” confirmed Brandon.“The twins would feel slighted if you didn’t show up for their birthday celebration as well.”
“And we also expect you for dinner,” added Dad.
“Don’t worry,” said Uncle Steve.“We wouldn’t miss one of your dinners for any reason.”
“Good! Then we’ll see you on Friday,” reiterated Danny.
A little while after we went back into the house, we sent the younger boys upstairs to get ready for bed.It was going to be a busy week because they had four more days of school, the twins’ family party on Friday, and the combined party for their friends on Saturday.
Speaking of the school week, there was no news of anything new happening concerning the Tamara situation.I think we all felt this meant everyone involved had been identified and dealt with, so we probably wouldn’t be hearing anything else for a few more weeks, when it moves into the legal system.Although it’s claimed that every defendant is guaranteed a speedy trial, more often than not, the wheels of justice turn slowly.
Nothing much happened until Wednesday when Dad pulled the twins aside to find out what they wanted for dinner on Friday.Once he had that information, he told Dion and me that when we arrived home the following afternoon, he was going to run to the store to pick up the items he needed.We agreed that would be fine and I even offered to start making Thursday night’s dinner while he was gone.
That’s how things went until Friday when the school week ended.We merely asked the boys to stay inside until our guests arrived for dinner and they agreed.Then, when Aunt Sally, Aunt Mary, Uncle Steve, and Richard showed up, we all sat down to eat.
Tonight, we were having chicken parmesan, although the twins referred to it as the chicken with spaghetti sauce and cheese on it.Along with it, they wanted French fries, candied carrots, and a green salad.Each of the boys would get half a chicken breast, while everyone else would get a whole breast.
“Once again, it was a wonderful meal,” said Aunt Mary when we finished.
“And as I told you before, after your wife died and you’d dealt with your grief, I was hoping we might get together,” stated Aunt Sally, “but you chose the path least taken.”She tittered after saying this.
“Yes, I guess I did,” agreed Dad as he glanced at Pop and placed a hand over his.
“And you’ve raised a wonderful family in the process,” added Uncle Steve, “and now they’re emulating your extraordinary example.”
“Yes, they are, and I’m very grateful for that,” confirmed Richard, “because it makes my job a lot easier.”
“And all of us are very grateful to have each of you in our lives,” we all concurred.
After Danny, Brandon, Benny, and Joshie helped to clear off the table, Dad carried in another homemade birthday cake, but this time with a large ‘1’ and ‘0’ on top.Once Brandon lit the candles, we sang Happy Birthday to the twins, and then they each made a wish before Hayden blew out the flame on the ‘1’ and Hunter did the same thing to the flame on the ‘0’.Brandon then took turns helping each of the twins slice the cake, while the other twin passed out the slices he’d just cut.
When they finished eating their slice, they began opening their presents, and just like Wyatt, they got many nice things.Once they’d thanked each person who gave the various items, they and the other younger boys took off so they could check them out more closely.
“I don’t know how you manage to pull these parties off so smoothly and consistently,” stated Aunt Mary.
“And also make meals that are so delicious,” added Aunt Sally.
“You would have made a great chef,” commented Uncle Steve.
“And give up my life as a teacher, principal, and superintendent?” teased Dad.
“No, I guess not,” relented Uncle Steve.
“And he was also a great Dad,” followed Richard.“I know, because he took me in after my parents died.”
“I appreciate all of your support,” responded Dad.“I value each of you and your continued friendship as well.”
We chatted a little while longer this time, since no one had to work the next day, except for Danny and Brandon.However, they were closing their offices early, because they, Dion, and I had to get ready for the combined party for Wyatt and the twins.Their friends were going to arrive around 2:00, and it was going to be a sleepover, so we had a lot to do in order to get ready for it.
When Aunt Sally, Aunt Mary, Uncle Steve, and Richard were ready to leave, we said goodnight to them.The twins also thanked them for their gifts and for coming, and then we waved as they drove away.As soon as their cars faded from sight, we told the younger boys to get ready for bed.
“But we don’t got school tomorrow,” they began to complain.
“But we have another birthday party tomorrow, and there’s a lot we still have to do in order to get ready for it,” stated Danny firmly.
That seemed to do the trick and the boys headed upstairs to shower and get ready for bed.While they were doing that, the rest of us moved some of the furniture out of the family room and into either the living room or the rec room so the boys would have enough space for the sleepover.I made sure the bassinet and rocking chair ended up in the living room so TJ wouldn’t be too far away from us during the day.
After having a big breakfast together in the morning, we finished getting ready for the party by vacuuming the rug in the family room and making sure the rest of the house looked good.We had the boys help out, and then we made sure they cleaned up before lunch.Shortly after we finished our meal, the first of their friends arrived, and they, or their parents, had obviously read the invitations carefully.
Each boy was dressed casually and either carried a backpack or a small duffle with a change of clothes and a gift for one of the birthday boys.They also carried a sleeping bag, so we had them leave each of those items in the family room for now.
As soon as everyone had arrived, Danny and Dion went out to the backyard, and then Brandon and I started sending the boys out to where they were, one at a time, starting with the birthday boys.We sent Wyatt out first, and then Hayden and Hunter, followed by one of the friends they had invited to the party.We sent them in the same order as the person who’d invited them, and then we sent out the last group following the same procedure.
As they exited the backdoor, Danny and Dion offered them the choice of selecting one of two items they were handing out, without being influenced by the others.The boys weren’t even allowed to see what the others had chosen, because Danny and Dion made the boys sit on the grass and place their selection behind them before the next boy came outside.This was done for a reason, and once those boys had all made their selections, Brandon and I sent out Xander, Revin, and Tristan in that order, so they could make their choice.Actually, Tristan had agreed to accept whatever item hadn’t been chosen by the others, so this worked out well.
I’m sure you’re all wondering what the secrecy was about, so I’ll explain.This is the choice the other boys were given.
“The birthday boys wanted to have a Star Wars themed party, so you have a choice,” Danny and Dion would tell them.“Would you prefer a Luke Skywalker lightsaber or an Anakin Skywalker lightsaber?”
Danny would then hold out the Luke Skywalker lightsaber, which had a black power pack and a blue blade, while Dion held up an Anakin Skywalker lightsaber with a white power pack and a green blade.After all of the boys had selected a lightsaber, they had the boys with the Luke Skywalker lightsabers move to one side of the yard, while the boys with the Anakin Skywalker lightsabers move to the other side of the yard.This worked out as well as we’d hoped, since there was a nice assortment of younger and older boys on each side.
At this point, Brandon and I came out to join them and we were carrying a tunic for each of the boys. We’d had a local seamstress make six white and six black tunics, each with a black sash that could be tied around the waist.Brandon now handed out the white tunics to the Luke Skywalker side, while I handed out the black tunics to the Anakin Skywalker side.
“Do we get to keep these, or do we have to leave them here after the party?” one of the boys asked.
“Both items are yours to keep,” answered Danny, “and here is how this is going to work: those of you on the Luke Skywalker side are part of the resistance and your base will be the tree house: those of you on the Anakin Skywalker side are part of the First Order, and your base will be the deck.Don’t worry because we’ve put a ladder against the deck so you can get up there.”
“So, are we gonna fight?” asked Hunter.
“Yes, but please don’t be too rough while you’re doing it, because we don’t want anyone to get hurt.And if the fight takes place around the tree house or on the deck, please be careful that no one falls off and gets hurt.We would rather you do the fighting on the yard, if you can arrange it.”
“K, we’ll try,” Wyatt agreed.
“Ok then.Put on your tunics and then each side can go to their base and start making plans.We are going to let you boys decide how you want to do this.”
“Neat!” we heard several of them shout before they headed to either the tree house or the deck.
As we watched, the First Order attempted to sneak over the bridge to attack the tree house, but the resistance saw them coming.Since the bridge is narrow, one boy was able to hold them off while the others escaped down the slide, and then he made a mad dash to get to the slide so he could join his friends.The First Order retreated back to the deck, rather than going down the slide one at a time into the waiting resistance, and then they came down that slide before the resistance could stop them.This led to a major battle on the yard.
We watched the lightsabers crash into one another as the boys chased each other around the yard, but eventually we had to call a halt to the battle so they could come inside and wash up to eat.That’s because Dad and Pop had just returned from picking up the cake and the pizzas we had ordered, and we wanted the boys to eat the pizza while it was still hot.We also had French fries and Bush’s baked beans with it, which elicited numerous responses.
“Oh, no!Everybody’s gonna be fartin’ while we’re sleepin’ together,” stated Hayden in mock horror.
“We never considered that,” confessed Dion.“We merely thought they’d go well with the pizza.”
“They taste great, but Hayden’s right,” added one of his friends.“I just hope they aren’t really smelly farts.”
“I’m sure you’ll all manage to survive,” stated Brandon.
Even though the boys had made those comments, it didn’t stop them from scarfing down their share of the food.
“Thanks, that was really good,” offered one of Hunter’s friends.
“And thank you for giving us a lightsaber and a neat vest,” another added.
“Yeah, thank you,” the others said nearly in unison.
“You’re welcome, and we’re glad you like them,” replied Danny.“We had the tunics specially made for this party.”
“You mean you didn’t buy them at a store?” one boy gasped.“I thought ya did, cuz they’re really nice.”
“No, we had a lady we know make them for you,” clarified Danny.“And now that you’ve all finished eating, it’s time for the cake and ice cream.I hope you saved some room for that.”
“Yeah, we did!” they all screamed back.
Brandon then brought out the sheet cake with three different sets of numbers on it.There was an ‘8’ on the left side for Wyatt, and ‘1’ and ‘0’ in the center for Hayden, and another ‘1’ and ‘0’ on the right for Hunter.At the same time, I was carrying in the ice cream, and once I set the containers down on the table, I lit the ‘8’ and then we all sang Happy Birthday to Wyatt.When we finished, he made a wish and blew out the candle, and then we repeated the procedure with Hunter and Hayden.
Once we finished singing to each of them, Brandon cut the cake and placed a slice on a small plate before handing it to me.I would then ask whomever it was for what flavor of ice cream he wanted, and I would add it to the plate before handing it to him.Once those boys were taken care of, we did the same thing with Xander, Joshie, and Benny, as well as each of the adults.After they finished their cake and ice cream, we allowed the three birthday boys to open the presents their friends had given them.
After they finished, we let the boys go outside again, while Danny, Brandon, Dion, and I cleaned up the mess.When I looked out the window in the rec room, I noticed there was another battle between good and evil going on in the backyard.Since the boys seemed to be having fun and no one was getting hurt, we allowed it to continue.
Eventually, we had to call the boys inside, and we led them to the family room so I could tell them what would be happening next.
“You boys have done a lot of playing this afternoon, which means you’ve been sweating, and getting dirty, so you’re going to have to shower before you crawl into your sleeping bags.”
“Can I shower with my two friends?” asked Wyatt without hesitation.
“You don’t even know if they want to do that with you,” I replied.
“Yeah, we do,” they both chirped in response.
“Can we do that to?” followed Hayden and Hunter.
“Do your friends want to do it as well?” asked Brandon.Their friends were all nodding their heads vigorously in response.
“Ok, but with three of you showering at the same time, you’re going to have to be very careful that no one falls and gets hurt.”
“We will,” they all chorused back.
Fortunately, we’d previously placed self-adhesive safety treads in the tubs to cover the areas both in front of and behind where the bath mat was placed for just such an occasion.It wasn’t uncommon for multiple boys to shower together, at least not in this house, so we were prepared for it to happen.
“Ok, just take a clean pair of underwear up with you to put on afterward,” I urged.“We’ll show you which bathrooms to use, since we have three bathrooms upstairs.”
Brandon and I were a little amazed when all of the boys hurriedly started to undress, and once they were all naked, they openly, and unashamedly, checked each other out.While they were doing this, Tristan asked a question.
“Me and Revin usually shower together, but can Xander shower with us too?”
“Yes, and since you and Revin are bigger than the other boys,” replied Brandon, “you three will have to be even more careful.You’ll also have to wait until one of the bathrooms opens up before you can shower.”
“That’s ok, and the three of us are gonna sleep together in my room tonight, instead of downstairs with the other boys.”
“That’s fine too.”
At that moment I noticed the other boys were getting ready to follow us upstairs to the bathrooms, and they were still naked.
“Are you boys planning to walk upstairs like that?” I asked to see how they’d respond.
“Yeah, cuz there are only boys here,” responded Wyatt.
“Look, we know you and the twins don’t mind parading around with nothing on, but maybe your friends feel differently about it.”
The other boys all began to whisper amongst themselves, and then one of Hunter’s friends answered for each of them.“We all agree that we don’t mind doin’ it.”
“So, you’re all ok with leaving this room and walking upstairs with nothing on?” I followed, just to be sure, and once again every head vigorously bobbed up and down in reply.“Ok, then.Wyatt, you and your friends can use the bathroom you normally use, and Hayden, you and your friends can use the bathroom at the other end of the hallway.I just hope Joshie and Benny aren’t in there already, but if they are, you’ll have to wait.Hunter, you and your friends will have to use the bathroom on the third floor, and you’re lucky that all of those boys are at college.You three know where the towels are stored, so make sure to grab one for you and each of your friends before you hop in the shower.”
After those groups had taken off, Brandon turned to Tristan, Revin, and Xander and spoke.“You can use the bathroom Wyatt is using, as soon as he and his friends are done.I want to leave the bathroom at the other end of the hallway open for Benny and Joshie in case they haven’t showered yet.”
“K,” they agreed.
Brandon and I then waited for the boys to return so we could make certain they spaced their sleeping bags apart and there were no arguments over who was going to sleep where.We didn’t want any fights breaking out about not having enough room or not liking where they were going to sleep.
When the boys began coming downstairs, they were more modest this time and each wearing a clean pair of underpants.Once they were all in the family room again, we told them what to do next.
“Figure out where you’re going to unroll your sleeping bags, and then hop inside and get comfortable.”
Brandon and I had to settle a few minor disagreements along the way, but overall, it went smoother than we’d expected.Once they were all settled in, we wished them sweet dreams and prepared to leave, but Hayden asked a question.
“Will you tell us a ghost story?”
“I’m not sure that would be wise,” replied Brandon.“We don’t want you boys to have bad dreams later.”
“We won’t, so please?” they all whined.
After thinking about this for a few seconds, Brandon answered.“Let me go see if your grandfather will tell you a ghost story then, because he’s better at doing it than the rest of us.”
“K,” they all agreed, and Brandon went to find Dad.
When he returned, Dad was with him, and the first thing he did was to turn off the light and close the door.We then listened as Dad told the boys one of the same ghost stories that he’d told us when we were younger.When he finished, the boys’ eyes were all bulging from their sockets as Dad got up to leave.
Brandon and I left the room before he did, and Dad closed the door behind him when he left the family room. Brandon and I hung out in the foyer for a little while longer, until we were sure there wasn’t a commotion and it sounded as if the boys had fallen asleep.We even opened the door so we could peek in and be sure, and then we had a brief discussion after closing the door again.
“Since you and Dion will be getting up with TJ later, I’ll stay down here and sleep in the living room just in case there are any problems.You never know who might have a nightmare or will wake up and be scared because he doesn’t recognize where he is.I’ve already told Danny I was going to do this, but I just need to go upstairs to shower and change first.”
“Ok and thank you for doing this.It’s very generous of you and I’ll wait until you get back.I’ll also fix breakfast for the boys in the morning, since you’re doing this.”
“No, I’ll help you with that too, and then you and I can remain with the boys until their parents pick them up.They should be showing up sometime between 1:00 and 2:00.”
“I guess that means there won’t be as many going to church this week.”
“No.Just Dad, Pop, Danny, Dion, TJ, Benny, and Joshie, and they’ll stop to pick up Becky on the way down.I told them I’ll use the car to take Revin home after the other boys have all been picked up.”
“Ok, and are they going to stop for brunch?”
“Yes, I believe they are.”
“In that case, I’ll see what we can fix the boys for lunch.”
“And I’ll help you with that as well.”
Brandon then went upstairs to shower and change, and when he returned, I went up to shower as well, and then I slid into bed next to Dion.