I ran in when I heard screamin. Nathan was chasing a frog while Justin’s mama was standin on a chair. I never got what the big deal was, it’s not like it’s gunna eat ya. Our boy Nathan was havin the time of his life tryin to catch it.
“Nathan jist grab it.” I tell the boy.
“It keeps leaping.” He giggles, when it hopped towards Granny.
“You catch her and I’ll show ya how good dem legs are.” I tell him.
“Daddy said unless it comes from the store, I can’t eat it. It’s why I was eating Fluffy’s food.” He tells me, hoppin round after the thing. He wasn’t really trying to catch it.
“Sue Ellen could show yer Daddy, ain’t nothin’ wrong with fresh.” I tell him.
I got in front of the youngin and grabbed the critter. Nathan looked disappointed, but happily took it out the house, sayin his sisters needed ta get over thinkin frogs had cooties. I offered my hand ta help Granny down but she wasn’t havin it. She sat on the chair lookin like demons was chasin her.
“Sorry, frogs are not my favorite thing.” She tells me.
“How did you raise yer boy without dealin with one?” I ask, sitten down.
“Justin never seemed interested in slimy creatures.” She tells me.
“My Howie was, but he didn’t know anythin else. Where we comes from we like it when we catch what we’re eaten, cause who knows what’s in those things in the store. Howie was one of the best at catchin bait, he never had any interest in meat. Well, at least not the kind we caught.” I joke.
“How did you deal with your son telling you he was gay.” She asked, seemed interested.
“Ain’t nothin’ ta deal with, Sue Ellen and I knew we either loved our boy or we lose him. It ain’t the worst thin he coulda done. Most of the boys had babies before they dropped outta school, Howie wanted ta get a fancy education. I wouldn’t mind having grandbabies, but I like that he’s gonna make somethin of hisself. Ya love um or ya don’t, I didn’t wanna lose him the way we lost Emmett. Emmett was a good boy, he ain’t never done nothin fer us ta be ashamed of him fer, but he was different than what we knew. He made a good life and we coulda been family if it hadn’t been for us bein scared a somethin that never hurt no one.” I tell her.
“Justin just expected me to be able to deal with it, he never gave me a chance to try.” She tells me.
“Why would your boy expect anythin less than his Mama loving him? People is suppose ta love their youngins, and not only when they doin what you want. What you thinkin, it had somethin ta do with you? They just love different. You wanna life with yer boy, ya stop makin excuses for why you weren’t his Mama. He’s a good boy who ain’t never looked down on my family for being different.” I tell her.
“He said that it seemed like all I do is complain when I call him.” She tells me.
“Do ya, or do ya ask about his babies and tell him he made a good life with Brian. It’s obvious he done well, so it shouldn’t be hard ta find somethin nice to say about his life.” I tell her.
“I had a lot going on and sometimes needed him to listen.” She tells me.
“You spected your boy ta listen ta your problems? Cause the way Emmett tells it, Justin had a lot of his own thins to deal with besides, you know.” I tell her.
“See, even you have a hard time saying it.” She tells me.
“Now see most think the same, but I cun say Gay, I just thinkin that they all hear too many people sayin it in a way that sounds not as nice. I mean, what people say ta my boy ain’t nice and I try not to say anything, they know who they are and it’s not just bein you know. Emmett got hisself a big business and managed ta find someone who don’t treat us the way we treated Emmett. Ya just need ta stop worryin about who they love and remember he’s yer boy. Ya missing out on those grandkids by bein all stuck up. I better git out there before that baby terrorizes everyone. Not that any pays any mind to it, they just love the kid.” I tell her.
Nathan came running out and huddled with Gus who kept looking at Jenny and smirking. One day he’s going realize that Mel’s blood runs through her veins and she’ll get him back. Penny and Jenny went over to see what the boys were doing and to the boys disappointment they didn’t run screaming but looked annoyed. I watched Jenny whisper something into Nathan’s ear and he turned it and looked then shrugged and kissed the damn thing. When Justin got to them before I could, Jenny tried to act innocent.
“Papa how many times do I gotta kiss it before it turns into a cookie?” Nathan asks.
My mother came over and sat down when Justin was explaining that we don’t kiss anything when we don’t know where it’s been. Nathan told him what happened in my office.
“I wish Claire spent even a tenth of the time with her sons that you and Justin do all your children.” She tells me.
“She’d find out they aren’t what she wants to believe.” I tell her.
“Do you think Jen and Justin will manage a relationship?” She asks me.
“We are, and I honestly never saw that as a possibility.” I tell her.
I took Nathan inside and Sue Ellen took him from me to clean him up.
“Honey, babies put all sorts of things in their mouths.” Sue Ellen tells me.
“You used to eat your crayons and there was that time you ate a dog biscuit.” My mother tells me.
“I love how Nathan is following tradition. We got lucky because he licked the crayon first and didn’t see the point.” I tell her.
“Ain't nothing he won’t grow outta.” Sue Ellen tells me.
“Aunty El, I need cookies.” Nathan tells her.
“Let's clean ya up so Papa don't worry none.” She tells him taking him out.
“They seem really at home here.” Mom tells me.
“They visit a lot, their son is planning to go to college here. Emmett found out he had a family that stopped seeing him as anything but their brother.” I tell her.
“Justin, we need to go. I have group tonight. Thank you for inviting us over.” Joan tells me, coming inside with Stuart.
“Anytime, Brian loves having you here.” I tell her.
“Jen if you're in town feel free to call. I'd like for us to be friends. Deb and I could always use someone to help us with the kids.” Joan tells her, before leaving with Stuart.
“Justin, how did you and Brian meet?” Mom asks, after we sat around for a few minutes silent.
“How we met is not really as important as how Brian showed me he wanted me.” I tell her, not thinking she wanted to hear about the first night.
I told her about everything that made Brian be the person who made me want this life. How he jokingly decided it was time to have children, and the camping trip that had soccer mom still after Brian. I told her why I didn't want Craig in my life, and how it made me feel when she would tell him things about me that I didn’t feel were necessary for him to know. She told me she only told him things because she hoped one day he'd realize how much he missed by not accepting me.
Jasper shook his head when he came in and heard that. “Iffin he hadn't figired it out, ya tellin him isn't gonna change him. I really wanna have a talkin ta with that one.” He tells us.
“Jasper, ain't nothing stringin him ta an anthill with honey all over him will change.” Sue Ellen tells him.
“Trust me even that wouldn't change his opinion.” I tell them.
“We could try it?” Jasper asks, smiling.
“He'd have you arrested.” Mom tells him.
“That wouldn't be so bad, I could visit some kin.” He tells her, walking out rubbing his hands.
“Is he serious?” Mom asks us.
“Could be, he said somethin about seein his cousin. I just thought he meant visitin.” Sue Ellen tells her, pulling a cake out.
“I'm clean!” Nathan yells at me, when he sees the cake.
“Me too.” Gus runs in smiling, with Brian behind him.
“It must kill Brian that they act like you.” Mom laughs.
“No, it's makes our days some of the best.” Brian tells her.