It was on a bright, starry night that the traveling circus rolled into town. We hadn’t seen my husband’s brother Paul and his family since we married a year ago. The last thing my husband Matt said when I invited them down for the week was, “Just remember…you asked for this.”
Paul and his family pulled into our driveway on time. My sweet husband put his arm around me, squeezed tight and said, “The circus has arrived!” The sedan barely stopped when the doors swung open and the twins flew out.
“Ugh! You farted!” my nephew Andy shrieked as he rolled around on the grass.
“Did not! YOU farted!” my other nephew Johnny yelled rolling over his brother.
Andy and Johnny were twins, every bit of six years old. Matt waived to his brother and dropped to his knees with the other clowns on the grass. The children instantly tackled him.
“No, I farted!” my husband yelped at the children. Everything stopped. The boys’ faces pinched before they yelled, “EWW!”
I walked over to Mary and Paul, who were calmly unloading the sedan. Mary was unbuckling the baby’s seat in the back. How she managed a career as an architect, a household and a growing family was a mystery. It also made me jealous.
The Technicolor confetti of chips, cookies and crayon on the back seat and floor didn’t bother me. I’m used to a bit of a mess in the kitchen. As a chef, we make messes, and we clean them up. But, at least now I understood why Matt called his brother’s car the “clown mobile.
“I hope you guys are hungry,” I said grabbing a handful of luggage and baby necessities. “Dinner’s ready!”
We finally got everyone inside, and I realized that whatever timetable I was working on wasn’t working. I only hoped that the dinner of striped bass poached in olive oil, the mix of braised baby vegetables, and the white chocolate and raspberry torte I made earlier would stand the test of a little time.
I made the twins their favorite food, chicken fingers and fries, with my special sauce of mayo and ketchup on the side. Everything with the twins was “on the side.” No food of differing color could ever touch or it would forever rot on the plate. Kid food rules. I wondered when “parent food rules” applied.
All the “boys” were in the living room romping and one-upping each other after dinner. The sound of the twins laughing filled the house.
“So, when are you and Matt going to start popping out little moppets of your own?” Mary asked as she gently handed Allison to me. Little Alli was so tiny I was afraid to hold her. But, then she nestled in my arms and went back to sweet slumber.
“We’ve definitely discussed it,” I replied. “We want a family. Actually, I’d fill this house with kids, if I could…” I could feel my voice trailing off. Warm tears filled my eyes until I couldn’t fight them back.
Mary walked over and knelt in front of me. “Still no luck? There are other options.”
All I could do was nod.
“You’re a natural with her,” Mary said walking toward the living room. “You’ll be a great mother.”
Every morning, I joined center stage with the twins. I watched as they tried to out-do each other tricks and tumbles. I joined in! I didn’t realize we had an audience, but Matt kept a close eye on us all.
When it came time for everyone to leave, I felt a hole sear into my heart. I dreaded that morning. Everyone had so much fun, and I didn’t care that my house looked like a three-ring circus.
Matt and Paul loaded the sedan, and the twins clung to everyone before Matt and Paul “airplained” them into their seats. I watched from our bedroom upstairs, my heart breaking.
I went to the bathroom and opened the small drawer where I’d stored all the pregnancy tests. I couldn’t help but perform my morning ritual before going downstairs.
The screams of the twins ushered me downstairs and out the door as quickly as possible. Hugs all around and promises to visit Tennessee as soon as we could. It would have to be soon, though, I thought as I patted my back pocket and felt the plastic test stick.
Soon, we would have a circus of our own.