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Her Family Day

C: Daddy, can you please help me with my poster?

It’s 7-ish after a 5 a.m. walk of the dogs. Daddy is suited up for a run. Too many days have passed with no exercise. But, the commuting schedule has now settled into a pattern. It’s time.

C (as Daddy moves toward the door): Daddy, can you please help me with my poster?

Pause.

It’s Cory’s Family Day on Friday. Daddy and Papa and Fisher will join her at the beginning of class to watch her stand up in front of everyone, talk through a poster about herself and her family, and, if time permits, engage the class in some kind of activity. This year she’s one of the first presenters because she’s an experienced kindergartner and can help to show the other kids how it’s done. Cory’s family make-up is a bit unique in this school. (The twins are the only ones with same sex parents.) An ulterior motive behind presenting so early in the year is to reveal, to those kids who don’t yet know, and to confirm, for those kids that do, the particulars of her family.

But, now it’s Tuesday, a good Tuesday for a run, and Cory still has no poster ready.

C: Daddy, I want to have a picture of Kohl on that poster, but I just don’t know which pictures to draw, so…

The run is bound to be “good.” But, it’s bound to be “good” only in the sense that it will feel good to have it done. Afterward. That’s when it will feel good. Not good like, finished poster good.

Without much hesitation, Daddy says, “Okay!” Daddy helps Cory write out her name, identify and write out her favorite food, favorite color, and so on. She names Kansas as her favorite place, probably because she knows that she’s going there in December. She helps Daddy to pick out pictures to print put for certain categories: she picks out a picture of the dogs under “What do you wish for?” the answer to which is: “Another doggie like Kohl.” Where there is no appropriate picture, she gets to drawing: when she grows up, she currently wants to be a ballerina; because there’s no picture for that, she has to get creative.

Fisher helps by providing useful commentary from the sidelines. “Cheetah! Your favorite animal could be a cheetah, Cory! No, doggie! It could be doggie!” When she chooses “dolphin,” Fisher kicks the tires: “Are you sure you don’t want it to be doggie, Cory? You really like doggies. You can’t pet a dolphin, so…” He’s just as excited about her Family Day as she is, even though his part in the presentation is to sit there quietly, smiling and supporting his sister, just as he did last year, while she does all the talking. “Cory, are you sure you don’t want to write pomegranate seeds? You eat a lot of pomegranate seeds…”

Cory is satisfied with her particular choices and her poster overall. Papa rolls it up in her backpack. Her Tuesday morning proceeds without further incident…

…not so, Fisher’s. Shortly after class begins, he bursts out crying hysterically. He’s inconsolable. His teacher, Mrs. Powell, asks him what’s wrong. He says through heavy tears that he’s missed Cory’s Family Day, that he didn’t get to go over to Cory’s classroom to be with her and his daddies. She tries to calm him down, explaining that Cory’s Family Day isn’t until Friday, that it isn’t today. “Yes, it is!” He’s convinced, because Cory brought her poster in that day, that her big day is over and he had missed it. Mrs. Powell keeps at it…it’s Tuesday, the poster comes in a few days early, Family Day isn’t until Friday, etc. The upset continues. Mrs. Powell helps him eventually right his ship.

C (at Tuesday night dinner): Daddy, is it my turn to tell you a story?
D: Okay, Cory, whatcha got?
C: Um, today, Fisher was crying and crying and crying.
D: He was?
C: Because he thought that he missed my Family Day, but my Family Day wasn’t today. (Fisher eyes Daddy and looks down at his food.) But, he didn’t know. So, he just cried and cried and cried. And, Mrs. Powell just had a hard time to tell him that he didn’t miss it. (Fisher plays with his ketchup.) She gave him a sparkly [garbled], and he just kept crying even though she gave him that…
F: No, I didn’t keep crying!
D: Wait, you thought today was Cory’s Family Day?
F/C: Uh huh.
D: And, you were crying because you thought you missed it?
F/C: Uh huh.
C: And he just kept crying and crying.
D: I see, Fisher. That’s…
C: Fisher was crying because he’s my twin brother, and…
F: Cory shouldn’t have a Family Day, and I’m not there. That’s not right, right, Daddy?
D (reaching out a hand, which he takes): Right, Fisher. Cory would never have a Family Day without you there.
F: But, I didn’t keep on crying and crying, Daddy.
D (reaching across the table for Cory’s hand, which she gives): It doesn’t matter how long you cried, Fisher. It doesn’t matter one bit. You thought you missed Cory’s Family Day. I’d cry if I thought I missed Cory’s Family Day, too.
F: You would?
D: Definitely.
F: Okay, Daddy.
C (matter of fact): I’d cry if I missed your Family Day, Fisher. But, you didn’t miss it, Fisher. It’s on Friday.
F: I know that already, Cory, you poop.

She smiles at Daddy, ignoring the “poop.” Daddy keeps hold of their hands for a half a minute more.

F: Daddy, can you please let my hand go now so I can eat a chicken nugget?

Daddy reluctantly lets go.

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