XXVII. 2006

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December 24, 2006

It was cold in Binghamton, New York. Christmas Eve parties were mostly my father's thing, but my mother is just as dedicated to throwing parties as he is. And there were still plenty of family lounging around the grand house my parents own. I don't understand how they manage. The cold is so sharp and frostily jarring -- uncomfortable to begin with. The snow was abundant and maybe to an excessive point, but they didn't mind. They said it was all in the spirit of Christmas. That meant they wouldn't be staying in New York too long. Until maybe the flowers start to grow again if they're feeling the wait.

I'm in the kitchen conversing with my grandmother. The white side of my family tends to be the ones that hold themselves with high standards, but my black side from my mom's are just the same if not even more prestigious and sophisticated. They're either lawyers, professors, owners of a private practice, or businessmen. However, there are a few who took a more artistic approach to life. So there are musicians, artists, and maybe even play directors. My father's mother used to be a surgeon, and she's retired just two years ago and misses it more than anything. But she's been a workaholic all her life and insists she has to let it go.

"Another baby? We just had another," I say with a laugh, shaking my head at my grandmother's persistence, urging that I have another baby because they're just so cute. She's much different than my Nonna, who likes to warn me about childbirth, and she did right before the first one came along. I haven't seen her in months but I'm hoping she shows up tonight.

"They are so cute," she gushes with a sweet smile, short brown hair combed back from her face, red blouse fitted around her torso. Every now and then I glance at her choice of accessories. A sparkly Santa pin and elf earrings. She looks festive and happy.

"They are also my little pains in the butt," I joke lightly. But my lips pout then, thinking about it. "But you're right. We make beautiful babies."

"Mumma.."

I turn around to find Amari just at my legs, wide eyes bright green and staring up at me with a face that preludes her want for something she knows I might say no to. Her chubby little hand clutching the fabric of my red dress. She's fiddles with her curls and shoves them from her face with her other hand. The four year old inherited a sort of cheekiness that can only be predominantly seen in her dad. She got a mixture of our noses with my face shape, my hair, and lips. While her eyes are virtually a copy of her dad's. But even as cute as she is, she's getting a little too spoiled.

I blame her father.

Her little Mrs. Clause dress with the red, velvet fabric and white puffs outlining the seam was my idea. Not having a care in the world what she wears, Amari agreed to it as long as she got to wear her sparkly silver sneakers. Only God knows where I found them because I can't remember and she's obsessed with them.

"Yes, Mari," I smile at her, stroking my hand through her hair and even bending down to my knees to fix the white hairpin pinning her fluffy curls from her eyes. She pouts her lips.

As a small baby curl falls over her forehead, she says, "Daddy said that I'm not allowed to have anymore cookies. And I said please! Lotta times."

"How many have you eaten, sugar?" I tease her already, knowing where this is going. I check her hair and make sure it's properly pinned before pulling away and squeezing her cheek lightly.

Her eyebrows furrow in thought. "I dunno."

"Probably a lot of them, right?"

"I think," she shrugs. "But I want mooore!" She whines, huffing and doing a little hop.

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