"Kaitlin, come on! We're going to be late!" mom yelled.
"I'm coming!" I yelled back.
"Kaitlin don't take that tone with your mother!" dad yelled back and I laughed.
"Fine, we'll be late for your own graduation." Mom huffed.
"Kaitlin, really… I want to see Cody before we have to be seated!" my little sister yelled.
"Give it a rest Nicole!" I yelled as I walked down the stairs.
"Ugh, mom! Really? Can't she put some damn clothes on?" my little/big brother Evan yelled.
"Evan, be nice to your sister. She's graduating today." My dad clapped him on the back.
"But dad, look at the dress." My brother protested.
"Evan, when are you going to realize that we're outnumbered and what they say goes." My dad laughed.
"That's right!" said the littlest of our clan Sally.
My parents did fill this house with love, that's for sure.
There was me, I was 18 and graduating high school this year. Evan who was 16 months younger than me, he was the honeymoon baby my parents were hoping for and we were really close, he was the spitting image of dad, but Nicole who was 15 and I were all mom. Sally however who was the last she's 10 and a wonderful mix of mom and dad.
"Why couldn't I just drive myself?" I asked.
"Because, we're going as a family. Now let's go!" my dad said sternly, but with a smile as always.
The day went by fast. Everyone was there, including Kevin. My boyfriend of three years. He graduated last year and was attending University of Seattle, where I would be going too. We wanted to live together, but my parents refused, telling me about how quickly things can change and they wanted me to have my own space in case that happened.
My parents did everything big!
They rented the entire restaurant for family and friends and had a huge graduation dinner. Nicole was happy her boyfriend was among the friends invited, his sister was my best friend. "Kaitlin, I didn't tell you that I caught Cody and Nikki kissing in the pool the other night." Sandy whispered to me.
"What?" I said a little too loud, causing my mom to give the 'spill it' look. I shook my head no and my dad got in on it. "Care to share Kaitlin?" he asked.
"Nothing. It was just something funny Sandy told me." I shrugged. Unfortunately I got my mom's eyes and I can't lie to save my life.
"Kaitlin…" my dad hedged.
"Fine. Sandy said she caught Cody and Nikki kissing in their pool." I sighed.
"Sandy!" Cody yelled, the moms were all smiling, but my dad was furious.
"Look, its fine." My mom saw my dad getting ready to lose it. "They're teenagers. We'll just talk later." My mom patted my dad's hand.
"Edward can you believe Nikki is getting married?" I sighed.
"No, I can't. I don't want to believe it's true and the crazy thing is that she's marrying Cody! They've been together since they were 15 and now they're 25! Great careers and Cody is going to be a great doctor. I'm honored to have him working under me at the hospital." Edward smiled. For as much as he wanted to kill Cody when he was a teen for sneaking in our daughters room to asking for her hand in marriage, he really cared about the boy, he'd become our second son. "Is Evan going to be able to make it?" he asked worried.
"He doesn't know yet. He's due for leave around that time." I sighed. I still remember the huge fight I had with Evan when he told us he'd enlisted.
"Haven't we had this discussion? You all know what I went through, what happened to me.
I told you guys everything! Everything! I can't believe you'd do this to me, are you trying to kill me?" I yelled at him, all while Edward is trying to keep me calm.
"I'm not trying to kill you mom. And I'll be a Marine, I've got a good head on my shoulders." Evan rolled his eyes.
"Evan, that's not appreciated. Don't roll your eyes at your mom." Edward snapped.
"Sorry mom, this is just something I need to do. Please!" Evan begged.
"Fine, just take care of yourself and if you feel like there's something different happening in here,
You'll go see someone." I told him as I tapped his head.
I was stressed out about him and Sally. She'd declared she wanted to go to school not just out of state, but out of the country.
She had her heart set on Oxford, who were we to deny her once her acceptance letter came in. She would be here for her sister's wedding though.
Luckily Kaitlin would make it too. She and Kevin didn't make it past sophomore year in college, but she bounced back and landed a great guy who was actually Quileute, so they had that background in common. I was so happy she didn't shun that part of her, no matter how she came to be I was proudest of her because she was so strong and persevered through everything. She had been a kindergarten teacher and Jake was a mechanic, owned his business and that's how they'd met, when her car broke down in the rain, love at first sight is what they'd both said. And three months ago they'd gifted us with our first grandbaby. Kaitlin had complications, Anthony William Black was almost 13 pounds at birth and 22 inches long and poor Kaitlin is tiny like me. Jake on the other hand was huge. 6'4 and close to 300 pounds, solid muscle. They were very blessed.
"Come on Bella, we've got to get to the restaurant, our reservations are at 7:00pm." Edward snapped me out of my reverie.
"I know, but how many of these dinners do we have to do a month?" I sighed.
"Well, it's the cost of being married to the Chief of Staff. You know I like to take out my new employees." He smiled.
"I know. I'm just glad I don't have to throw all the dinner parties your mom did." I shook my head.
"That was her idea, they could have done this too." Edward laughed at the memory of his mom and all the dinner parties we attended there, family and business.
Everyone is married off and happy.
We have five grandchildren. Three boys and two girls and they're all loved.
Bella and I still talk about the day we moved into this house and all the plans of filling it with happy children and that we did.
Bella's parents had passed a year ago, just a month within each other. Bella was convinced my dad passed away after my mom because of a broken heart.
My parents were still around, although my dad had suffered a stroke about six months ago and my mom broke her hip at the same time, trying to help him. They're now in the best assisted living center, that way they can still be together, but get help when needed too.
Bella opened up a rape crisis center when Sally went to kindergarten years ago. She's still active in it today and tells of her experiences and to let the girls know that there's always choices.
I'm glad Bella and I went through what we did all those years ago and then reconnected. It's made our relationship that much stronger.
We've had our ups and downs over the years but our love never faltered, no matter what.