“G-r-a-s-s.” I helped Loralee sound out the words of her practice sentence for her homework. She was already reading so well, she hardly needed my help at all. “So the sentence says…”
“The grass is green.” Loralee scrunched up her face and worked on a sentence of her own. When she was done, she smiled up at me. “Can we go play, Mama?”
I smooched her cheek, making her giggle. “Yep. Come on, girlie.” I tickled her sides and chased her into the playroom – she had decided she now wanted to sleep upstairs, relegating this room to a playroom with a guest bed. We settled down in front of the dollhouse to play for a while before I had to start dinner.
After a while, I got to my feet. “Why don’t you go play outside, sweetheart?” I smiled as she bounced up to her feet and bounded out of the room. Was I ever so energetic?
Humming to myself, I went into the kitchen to start dinner. From the window, I could see Loralee play on the space-ship jungle gym Shirley and I had bought for her. How very domestic, I thought. All I need is a set of pearls. Imagining myself as one of those pearls-wearing housewives made me laugh aloud.
“What’s so funny?”
I turned to find Shirley coming into the kitchen. “Oh, nothing. I was just marveling at how domestic I’ve been today.”
“Well, don’t let me interrupt that.” Shirley grinned and came over to kiss my cheek. “Honey, your breadwinner is home,” she said in a faux-deep voice.
I snorted and turned back to the stove.”Go say hello to our daughter.”
“You read my mind.”
Shirley disappeared outside, and I finished up dinner. There was a deep feeling of happiness and contentment inside me that I once thought I would never feel. If I get any happier, I’ll need some lederhosen. Jokes aside, I never would’ve thought that being a family woman could make me so happy.
I went to the back door and called, “Dinner’s ready!” Behind me, I heard Shirley tell Loralee to go wash up.
The three of us sat down at the table for dinner. I asked Shirley about work; she asked Loralee about school, me about my latest game. It was a normal, family meal, and I loved it.
After dinner, Shirley and I made our way upstairs to the little-used living room there since Loralee had commandeered the downstairs for cartoons. There was something I had been wanting to talk to Shirley about for a while and this was the night. “Shirl, you know how much I adore our family.”
She looked at me curiously, wondering, I’m sure, where I was going with this. “Of course I do.”
“Well, I’ve been thinking for a while now that maybe we should add one more to our family. I think that perhaps Loralee could use a brother.”
A smile grew on Shirley’s face until she was beaming at me. “Camille, I would love to adopt a child with you! I’ve been thinking about having another kid, too.”
I smiled, relieved that we were on the same page. We’d both been so happy, I had been a little worried that she wouldn’t want to change anything.
“Although,” Shirley started, “it could be problematic to do since we aren’t married.”
I smiled and drew Shirley to her feet. “Actually, I thought of that.” Despite the sudden ball of nerves that had begun twisting in my stomach, I withdrew a ring box from my pocket and sank down onto one knee. “Shirley, you are the only woman I have ever loved. I don’t know how I ever thought that I could live without you. You’re the most amazing mother; there couldn’t possibly be anyone better for me to bring into Loralee’s life. I am so incredibly lucky to have you in my life. I never want to be without you. Shirley, will you please marry me?”
Shirley’s eyes glistened and her voice was thick as she said without hesitation, “Yes. Oh, Watcher, absolutely yes.”
My own eyes burned with wetness as I slid the ring onto her finger. With a laugh of excitement, she jumped into my arms. I held her tight and knew that there was nobody for me out there except this woman.