Famiglia è Tutto."
Tony had Angela wrapped in his arms when the doorbell rang. Not wanting to release her, he kept one arm encircled about her waist while his other arm reached blindly for the doorknob. "Isn't that always the way?" "We just start to get cozy and..." "Unfortunately, yes," Tony said though gritted teeth. He then muttered something incomprehensible in Italian. I love it when you speak Italian," Angela replies in a low voice; her lips a breath away from his. "And I love it when you speak French sweetheart," he said as his lips met hers. "I always knew you'd wind up taking care of my wife;" a voice cut in. Its distinctive pitch caused Angela to blush and stiffen at the same time. Michael. Her ex-husband. What was he doing obtrusively standing in her doorway? She looked at the man who had released her from his embrace and now stood at her side. "Our doorway," she mentally corrected herself--"It's 'our' doorway." One sidelong glance at Angela was Tony's cue to interject. "Well actually, Michael, she's my wife now." "I can see that, he replied; glancing at the band glinting on her left hand. His eyes traveled from her hand to her face. "And judging from the sparkle in her eyes she's been taken care of quite well." "You'll never know how much," Tony said; squeezing her shoulders. "Or how often," Angela offered; grinning slyly. "Angela..." Tony began. Words were not needed though, as his eyes met his wife's, they said it all. Suddenly, a cry interrupted the shock; and Jonathan came down the stairs, rocking a bundle in his arms. Michael's eyes widened. "Angela," he stammered, "I know I've been gone a long tine; but our son, with a baby??" Angela couldn't stifle her laughter; relax Michael, this is our daughter, Catherine Marie.
"Dad!" Jonathan exclaimed; stopping in mid-stride. "Well now, it sure looks like you're too old too be called 'little tiger' now that I see you're a big brother." The realization hit Michael like a ton of of bricks. "Dad, I'd like you to meet my sister, Catherine Marie Micelli. As Michael peered at the baby girl, he saw the cutest combination of Tony and Angela. He stared at Angela for a second, then his eyes once again shifted toward the baby in his son's arms. She had Angela's chocolate drop eyes, and what appeared to be Tony's nose--before the advent of a boxing glove. And a tuft of brown hair... Who was he kidding? He didn't expect the baby to be born blonde. Little miss needs her diaper changed," Jonathan said; gently placing the baby in his mother's arms. "How's mommy's little princess," Angela cooed, delighting in her daughter's every expression. Baby Katie responded to her mother's voice by grabbing a fistful of Angela's cheek in her tiny outstretched hand. "There's no doubtin' she's Italian," Tony beamed. "Did I hear someone mention Italian?" Mona's voice carried from the kitchen to the living room and her form followed. Noticing Michael with a little less than a nod, she continued, "Italians are good at so many things," "Good cooks, not to mention excellent family men; she looked pointedly at Michael now. ..."And it goes without saying that, well...just look at my adorable granddaughter." "I trust Michael has been introduced to Catherine Marie?" She scooped the baby up from where she was nestled in between both her parents and said, "You can't sleep all day kid." "Same old Mona," Michael said. "Same old Michael," Mona echoed. Michael's eyes met Mona's and then Angela's. "She's beautiful," he replied; his voice low. "Just like all the Robinson women before her." "My baby's baby..." Mona mused. "Are you going to change the light of your life, Mother?" Angela asked. "A grandmother's work is never done, not that I ever do any." She quickly passed the bundle to Angela with an angelic smile saying, "You made her; you change her."
Jonathan and Michael watched as Angela headed up the stairs cradling Catherine Marie in her arms. Tony followed right behind, his hand resting lightly on her back.
said a little uneasily. His several years' absence left left him with
seemingly nothing to say. Jonathan, however, appeared to have
something on his mind. "Dad?" "Were you and mom that
happy together when I was a baby?" He then looked at the floor
as though he didn't want to hear the answer to his own question.
"What brought this on, sport?" He clued in as as he
listened to the lighthearted conversation coming though the baby
monitor that had been left downstairs. Tony had been singing 'You Are
My Sunshine' to the baby when Angela playfully remarked, "I
thought I was your sunshine..." "You are that and so much
more sweetheart." Tony replied. "Is that so..."
Michael switched off the baby monitor. "We used to sing to you
just like that," Michael said nostalgically. "Well, your
mom was off-key, so I entertained you with a little stuffed frog."
"You'd laugh and laugh for hours; Angela just reveled in your
smile." "And, it got her to stop singing." Jonathan
smiled broadly at his father's reminiscences. "Jonathan, I'm
sorry it took my life falling apart for me to come back; son, you
didn't deserve that." "Now I'm getting what I deserve; the
tables have turned and I'm the divorcee. "Dad, don't talk like
that," Jonathan said; suddenly feeling sorry for his father. "I
just want to know why it took you so long; I've always been here, and
you know it!" "Jonathan, you have every right to harbor
anger toward me, there's no excuse for my absence. I guess I didn't
feel I had any right to come back. You and your mom had Tony. Tell
me, was there really any room for me?" "Why are you using
Tony as an excuse for why you left? He wasn't even in the picture
when you left for jungle green pastures the first time." Anger
that Jonathan had suppressed for years was now surfacing. His
bluntness surprised even him as he continued, "In fact, mom
opened the door to 'him' when you closed it on 'us.' " Father
stared blankly at son; as son glared at father finishing with, "You
know what the best thing about Tony is?" "Family is
everything to him; he doesn't have the gall to walk away."
"Success meant nothing to to him without mom, me, and our
family." "Tony is proud of of one thing though and that is
Katie." "He is simply over the moon with her."
Jonathan's voice cracks slightly as he asks, "Why didn't you
feel that way about me."
Michael took a labored breath; digesting everything Jonathan had just gotten off his chest. "Jonathan," he said; "I'm not going to delude myself into thinking that I can change the past; what I can say though, in my defense, is that your mother and I are different people now than we were years ago." He paused; the break in his voice a reflection of the past. "Truthfully, he continued, when I look at your mother now, I don't see the woman I was married to." "Gee..." Jonathan remarked; a hint of sarcasm in his voice, "Maybe that's because she's Tony's wife now." "Yes," Michael replied; "I give Tony all the credit in the world for Angela's happiness...but you should know, I deserve some of the credit for that too." Jonathan raised an eyebrow. "How does mom's relationship with Tony have anything to do with you?" he asked. "Do you remember when I came back and your mom and I finalized our divorce?" "Oh yeah," Jonathan recalled; Tony moved out because you and mom tried once again to work things out; he had some hoity-toity job on the other side of town, until--" "Until I asked him to come back," Michael finished. "You see, son, everything you see in Tony, I saw years ago." Family 'is' everything to him; I saw it in his eyes; in the way he looked at your mom, and looked after you." I knew he wouldn't leave Angela, which is why I asked him to take care of her, and you, before I left." "Sure looks like he took me up on it," he said; with a wry smile. "Even so," Jonathan mused dryly, "I'm still surrounded by women: Mom, Grandma, Sam, Katie..." He enumerated all the women in his life with an exaggerated hand gesture. "Well sport," Michael said; "You're one closer to evening the score." "Whatja mean, dad?" Jonathan asked; skeptically curtailing his excitement. "I'm renting an apartment not far from here," Michael said. Jonathan smiled for the first time since his father's arrival. "You mean you're staying?" Michael nodded. "The complex even has a park with a baseball field," he said. I figured I'd pick you up next weekend and we'd toss the ball around." We'll even take Katie; since it seems as though Mona is still Mona and she still has miles to go before she knits and babysits. Jonathan shrugged; knowing his grandmother made grand entrances, offering little explanation. "You know grandma," he said; rolling his eyes. "Some people never change," said Michael knowingly.
guys," Tony said; as he descended the stairs, "I decided to
give Angela and Katie some mommy & me time." "Whatja
say we men start dinner?" "And, uh, Michael," he cut
"If you're stayin, I insist you pitch in." "Yes boss," Michael said in mock salute. "Ay oh," Tony said; the only boss around here is Angela."
"To my wife," he said; giving a pre-dinner toast. "To Angela," Michael echoed. Jonathan joined in with, "To mom," feeling truly lucky to be the next generation of such a fine melodic line.