“Will you sit still.” I hear Penny say.
“I want to play.” Nathan tells her.
“We are playing, so stop moving.” She tells him.
I knock on Penny's door, “What are you doing?” I ask as I open the door.
“Nothing.” Penny tells me, hiding something behind her back.
“We played, but it's boring.” Nathan tells me.
“What was the game called?” I ask, as if I couldn’t tell.
“Barber Shop.” Nathan, who is missing patches of hair, informs me.
“Papa it would have been fabulous if he sat still.” Penny tells me.
“Justin, have you seen my red tie… where is Nathan’s hair?” Brian asks, blinking as if the hair will magically reappear on Nathan’s head.
Justin and I were taking Gus to lunch while Lindsay and Mel got Nathan’s hair straightened out. Justin and I decided that Gus needed to have one day that was just him and us after the kids were born. Gus never minded that all the kids were included, but he was our first and only for so long that we never wanted him to forget he was important to us too.
“Dad, the school offered to take us to on a weekend camping trip, but the moms want to come.” He tells me.
“You don’t want them to go?” I ask.
“It’s just, well, Mom is not someone who camps, and she still calls me Lambskin in front of the guys. I don’t mind Mama coming, she at least would have fun.” He tells me.
“And doesn’t call you anything that embarrasses you.” I add.
“You're worried that if you tell them you only want Mel to go it will upset your mom?” Justin asks.
“I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I don’t know how to say it without hurting her.” He tells us.
“Do you want us to talk to her for you?” I ask him.
“No, I know I need to be the one, but how do I tell her without it sounding like I don’t want her around.” He tells us.
“Tell her you want time with Mama. We’ll help by talking to Mel for you.” Justin tells him.
“Thanks. Mom hasn’t figured out that calling me Lambskin is not cool.” He tells us.
Justin and I managed to keep a straight face, but we both agreed that Lindsay’s pet name needed an upgrade. I looked over and saw Craig staring at Justin. Craig had managed to stay in business but wasn’t doing as well as he once was. Craig was lucky that he raised two kids who got full rides into college. He got up and came over to us.
“Justin, how have you been?” He asks.
“Wonderful Craig, I have everything I wanted in life.” He tells him.
“I heard from your mother that you had two children, is this one of them?” He asks looking at Gus.
“Brian and I have two that live with us, but we also have Gus, and consider his other sister ours too. I guess as usual Mom only knows about half of my life.” He tells Craig.
“She’d know more if you and Molly would include us. I would like to know my grandchildren.” He tells Justin.
“Brian, Gus, I’ll be right back. Craig and I need to talk alone.” Justin tells us, getting up and walking outside.
“You want to talk to him, you have your chance.” I tell Craig, nodding toward Justin, who is walking out the door.
I waited outside for Craig, not my father. Those feeling were gone a long time ago, and I didn’t miss the man who only came around if I could be seen as a benefit. After the boycott, he started coming around to events that Mel and Lindsay dragged us too. Craig was getting pictures with Tannis and Phil, who were probably the only gay people he could stomach.
“Justin, you could have at least introduced me to the child.” Craig tells me.
“You’ll never bring anything into Gus’s life that I could see as a good thing. You can’t honestly tell me that you approve of anything about our lives. Craig, we barely talk and I’m fine with the way things are.” I tell him.
“I’m still your father.” He tells me.
“Not in any way that I believe a father should be. I couldn’t kick out my children because of who they love, for me it makes what you did the end of me seeing you as my father. Why bother, now when I no longer need you around to disapprove of the way I run my life.” I tell him.
“I want a chance to make it up to you and to be there for my grandchildren.” He tells me.
“I don’t believe a word you say, because nothing in your actions shows me that you mean a word that you're saying. I married a man who showed me with his actions that he means what he says. Your actions only say that you were trying to use me to keep your business. My family won’t be the ones you have in group photos to show the masses that gay is okay. Find another way to save your stores, because we won’t smile for the camera.” I tell him.
“For once, couldn’t you see that it’s about family and not your lifestyle?” He asks me.
“My family left me when they found out, so nope, I don’t see how one was exclusive of the other.” I tell him.
“Papa, we’re ready to go.” Gus tells me coming out.
“Yes, Sonny Boy, I’m ready to go too.” I tell him. “My children can love who they want, and it will never change my love for them.” I whisper, patting Craig on the back.
“You were always one big disappointment.” He tells me.
“So were you.” I tell him, shrugging.
Brian came out, looking between me and Craig, when he saw I was fine, we left Craig standing on the sidewalk.
“Is it weird that I don't really feel anything about him?” I ask Brian.
“I think we just don’t have any room in our lives for people who can’t be happy with us the way we are.” He tells me.
“That was your father?” Gus asks.
“He’s the man that my mother had me with.” I tell Gus.
“So that means he’s your father, right?” Gus asks.
“He’s nothing like a father Gus. He wants me to live my life as if being married means to a woman and not your dad.” I tell him.
“But you don’t like women, not the way you like my dad.” He tells me, confused.
“Craig would rather I pretend to like women, the way I love your dad.” I tell him.
“That’s kind of dumb, he’d rather you be miserable than happy?” Gus asks me.
“Yes Gus, but there are people in the world who don’t accept that love comes in all shapes and sizes.” I tell him.
Nathan came running out with his new haircut, or should I say buzz head. Lindsay came out behind him, looking sad that our boy’s waves were gone. Even Justin, who smiled as Nathan laid his head on his shoulder seemed to miss the hair that he ran his hands through when our son fell asleep on his lap.
“Brian, it will grow back, all kids cut their hair at one time or another.” Lindsay tells me.
“Did you have to buzz it all off?” I ask.
“Penny cut more than you saw, the barber found patches under the longer hair. You need to go and talk to her, your little girl thinks everyone is mad at her.” Lindsay tells me.
I go in to find Penny and make sure she knows she wasn’t in trouble. I found her in Mel’s office with Mel.
“Hey Brian, I was reminding Penny that today was your day with Gus.” She tells me.
“I forgot, I thought you were mad at me.” Penny says, not looking up from her coloring book.
“Penny, we didn’t like that you cut your brother’s hair. It didn’t mean that we were mad at you.” I tell her, picking her up and putting her in my lap.
“I didn’t want to cut my dolls hair until I knew I could. I was just using Nathan for practice.” She tells me.
“No cutting any hair, I like your curls just where they are.” I tell her.
“Because you told Papa you wanted blue eyes and blond curls.” She tells me what I told her.
“And because you wouldn’t like to have the haircut Nathan has.” I tell her smiling.
“I wouldn’t, my princess dress wouldn’t look good if I looked like Nathan. Nathan just looks all wrong in skirts.” She tells me.
“When did you put Nathan in your dresses?” I ask.
“I think I need to go see Papa.” she tells me, jumping off my lap and running out the door.
“We are going to have our hands full when the girls get older.” Mel tells me.
“You are going to have your hands full trying to keep Lindsay from being upset when Gus tells you guys that he only wants you to go on the camping trip.” I tell her.
“Is it because she can’t stop calling him Lambskin?” She asks.
“I think that’s part of it, and can you really see Lindsay in the great outdoors?” I ask her.
“Lindsay and I went camping once, and that was the last time she wanted to try it.” She tells me.
“Then convince her that camping with Gus isn’t a great idea. Gus doesn’t want to hurt her feelings.” I tell her.
“Or you and Justin could go.” She smirks.
“Unless it’s five star, my delicate ass doesn’t go near it.” I tell her, ignoring the look on her face that says she is holding back a comment.