Harvey with Graylan:
Lori couldn't wait to start making clothes for her babies and they revamped her sewing room, moving out the exercise machines and cramming them into the art studio. Baking daily occupied much of her time, too; she still loved to be in the kitchen and Harvey still loved to eat.
Life with infant twins was surprisingly quiet the couple were surprised to discover. Mostly they ate and slept--and filled their britches. At least that's was how it seemed to Harvey and Lori. He remarked to her,
"I think we've got this parenting thing down!"
It seemed simple enough; cuddle, kiss and play with them--that was easy and fun; bathe them, teach them what they could learn and keep them fed, warm and dry. Gray and Valrae were not fussy babies at all; they seemed happy all the time. So, really, what were so many parents they knew crabbing about?
Lori with Graylan and Harvey with Valrae
Harvey bathing his son
"If it's this easy, we could have another child before too long and handle it easily," Lori agreed, "After all, your sister has three and seems to be doing fine."
"Holly and Andy have that huge house and a live-in nanny, honey. So we can't compare our situation to theirs."
"Still, I think you're right; we could definitely have a third child," he mused. A madonna-like smile came over her face to know that he was in agreement with her; they'd just give it a little while longer and then add to their family. Good.
Lori had still not mentioned anything to Harvey about the worries she had concerning her parents; that John had told Melora he was working out at Harvey's health club when, in fact, the gym was closed at the time. She'd shoved it to the back of her mind quite completely. Or so she thought. Meanwhile, Harvey had reopened his place and John actually had come there to work out and enjoy the spa. Of course, Harvey had issued free lifetime memberships to his parents and Lori's when he'd had the grand opening, but John's visit was after that and fairly recent.
From the beginning of their young lives Graylan and Valrae had many family visitors. Melora and John were so excited to be grandparents that they came over quite often which was fine with Lori and Harvey. Her father, who had always been such a tightly controlled man, was quickly charmed by the two little babies. Of course Melora, exuberantly emotional all her life; was crazy about them before they were even born.
Lori called her parents and invited them over for supper one Saturday afternoon.
She found herself running to hug her mother as they came up the street. She was becoming rather protective of her.
"Wasn't it too far to walk?" she questioned in a worried tone.
"Don't be silly, we enjoyed the beautiful weather and it's only a couple blocks. Your father has been health-walking now for a few weeks and I've been working out to the television. Maybe I'll finally take advantage of my membership at Harvey's place," Melora assured her.
"How decrepit do you think we are?" John complained.
"Okay," Lori laughed, "I apologize for short-changing you. You two can run circles around me and Harvey, I guess."
It was amusing to Lori how the twins eyes would fasten on John and follow him around when he was at the house. It was true that he'd always commanded any room he was in; certainly the adults around him, but evidently even babies could be fascinated.
Eventually Graylan and Valrae went down for their naps and Harvey and John started a video game while Lori and her mother worked in the kitchen. During dinner and the rest of the time they were there Lori was surreptitiously observing her parents together. Nothing seemed amiss at first; they joked and laughed with Harvey. Many times as a child she'd seen her parents give each other loving looks or little gestures of affection. Private smiles and whispered words that, back then, had made her a little jealous at times as they seemed to shut her and Trey out for the moment. She watched to see something like that now and did not discern anything of the kind. In fact, although the conversation flowed easily between all of of them, they barely seemed to look at each other. This was silly of her, Lori decided. After all, John and Melora were older now and had been married for over 35 years; they undoubtedly took one another for granted much of the time. Probably any couple married that long did the same. Again she resolved to speak to Harvey about it when her parents left. And, once again, she did not say a word to him at all; Harvey remained in the dark about Lori's worries, imagined or not.
As weeks and then months went by after the twins' births, Lori had been hoping somehow that she could lose a few pounds and it would help the breastworks problem. She stepped up her exercise routine and ate mostly salads, veggies and fruit and lean meats and fish. Not too much changed, however, except her waist grew smaller which made the situation even more obvious. She sighed; it looked like she was stuck with things as they were for now. She might as well get rid of her old clothes which, in fact, were not even old, but certainly did not fit any more.
One morning she was singing to Valrae as she bathed her. It was a lovely lullaby, "Baby Mine" from the movie "Dumbo", but then she segued into a ditty that told the baby her Auntie Grace was coming over later to see her and her brother and wouldn't that be nice? As they grew the children would become accustomed to their mother sing-songing information to them, often using well known songs to which she changed the words in an impromptu manner. It was just her way and always delighted them. Meanwhile, Graylan was already bathed and changed and back in his crib awaiting his guests.
Grace and her husband Devon showed up and played with the babies for a while before the adults all had a late lunch. Grace couldn't help thinking that maybe she'd made a mistake when she had decided long ago not to have children. After all, she'd once come to the conclusion--when she became Co-Chief of Staff at the hospital--that she would probably forgo marriage. Then she'd reconnected with Devon after all those years and she'd been very happy since their wedding; they both had. The babies were adorable and she could see many of the family features in their faces, hands and feet.
"She has Grandma Elaine's long toes, just like Mom," she laughed softly. The tender feelings that welled up in her when she held Valrae surprised her. And when Devon cuddled little Gray his eyes went to hers. He was thinking the same thing...
Afterwards at dinner Harvey and Lori told amusing anecdotes (or frightening, depending on your point of view) of their life with the twins. How they survived sleepless nights and interrupted schedules and plans. One evening when they'd planned dinner out at a nice restaurant, just the two of them, a crying baby at a nearby table started a sudden flood of mother's milk from Lori. They'd had to duck out because her blouse was soaked, leaving their delicious New York strip steaks behind. They picked up Double-Snappyburgers from Sam's on the way home instead. Or the time when Graylan had a slight case of diarrhea one afternoon while Lori was off at her mother's. Harvey, of course, had changed the twins often, almost as much as Lori, but this time the event had been nothing short of spectacular.
"How did it go?" Devon laughed and wrinkled his nose.
Harvey shook his head with a rueful grin,
"Worse than you can possibly imagine."
It was time for the twins' birthday and Lori called both sets of grandparents to come over for cake and ice cream and to watch the twins open their gifts. John and Melora and Shep and Madeleine were old friends as well as related by marriage now. Lori greeted them at the front gate, she was very excited about the celebration; as were all four grandparents.
So there was butter cake with buttercream frosting, praline pecan ice cream, and lots of presents for the twins. They were now toddlers.
Gray had his grandmother Melora's coppery red hair and his father's big blue eyes. Valrae had ash brown hair like Harvey and his dad, but green eyes like both of her grandmothers.
Two year old children get into everything because all day long is one adventure after another in learning about life. They'll play in the toilet, apply crayons to your freshly painted wall, leave sticky fingerprints everywhere, find any little bit of lint on the floor or carpet and pop it in their mouth, ask a million questions and when they're tired they whine or have a tantrum. If you let them have some of your iced tea--which they always want to do--they will leave little things floating in it. Fortunately for two year olds they endear themselves to you by looking precious, making you laugh in spite of everything and melting your heart every day with what they say. This is on purpose; heaven makes them that way so they will live to be three year olds. Lori and Harvey were about to get an introduction to real parenting; the kind where the kids, unlike infants, rarely stay where you put them and definitely have minds of their own. It would be a whole new ballgame...
A "Who's Who" handy compendium of the Shep Ferguson family HERE
Next blog update: Harvey and Lori Ferguson Ch. 14 Day by Day