Chapter 21—Family Matters

Maya’s POV

            I think I’ve resented my parents for a long time. They were never there for us. They were always here and there, but never where we needed them to be. They never came to our concerts, orchestra or band. They were never at the games or meets when Mia and I did sports. They never seemed to care. This bothered me for so many reasons.

            I could never imagine not being with the girls. I couldn’t imagine leaving them to their own devices. They would always have each other, of course, but that could never replace a mother.

            When I was feeding the girls, I knew I would never want to let them go. Sure, they’d drive me crazy. Sure, they’d make me go gray. But I’d be damned if those weren’t the best times of my life.

            Seth had Piper in his arms, cradling her to his chest and smiling at her softly. I had Penelope in mine. I had never been so content…

            Then the door swung open, slamming against the wall, and the girls woke up and started crying. I growled under my breath, looking to see who had disturbed us. I was honestly surprised to find my mother and father standing there. Mom was grinning like a psychopath, while Dad was looking sheepish. At least someone knew they were in the wrong.

            “Maya!” she exclaimed, completely ignoring the crying babies. “Ah! Look at your little family! So cute!”

            I just shot her a clear “shut up” look and started to try to soothe my baby. Seth was slowly rocking Piper. Once they were both quiet, not quite sleeping yet though, I said to them, “Hi.”

            “Oh! My baby girl has babies. How did this happen?” my crazy mother asked, smiling. She came closer and gently used a finger to pet Penelope’s head. A really scary sounding ‘Ahhhhhhh’ came from her, loudly. “She’s so precious!”

            “Mom, keep it down. Please.”

            “Sorry, sorry. So what’s this one’s name?”

            “This is Penelope Lee Clearwater.”

            “And her?”

            Seth answered this time, “Piper Mae Clearwater.”

            “Very cute names. I thought they were going to be Rinaldis’ though?”

            “Nope,” I said, choosing not to explain at all. It was better that way.

            It was silent for a moment. Then my dad spoke up. “We got you something, while we were in Africa.” He held a bag out to me. I took it hesitantly and opened it. Inside was a thin, white bracelet that had simple braid design carved into it. “It’s ivory,” he said. “We got a matching one for Mia and there should be two little pendants in there for the girls.”

            “Oh,” I said, rubbing my thumb over the smooth ivory. “Thanks. They’re pretty cool.” I slipped the bracelet onto my wrist. They both sat down on chairs and we began to talk. Mom was absolutely enthralled by the girls. Dad just seemed content in being there.

            At one point Mom said, “I’m so proud of you, Maya. I’m sorry we weren’t here earlier,” and I felt some of my resentment toward her crumble. Maybe we’d finally have a stable mother-daughter relationship. I think I’d like that.

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