Time flies when you want it to slow down, everyone knows this. It was a blink of an eye before Kai aged up to toddler.
He got Akira’s hair and big personality. Kenya noticed his angelic nature and campaigned for everyone to start calling him Angel as a nickname.
It was time for Jessie to leave the Ralston-Kibo family. She’d done her job, and done it well. The family now had three amazing toddlers, and it was all thanks to her. She knew it would be too hard to see the kids again, but she agreed to the occasional e-mail update with pictures. The last thing she did before heading back home was to give Kai his lunch. It was such a mundane moment in the life of a toddler, but it was exactly those types of memories that Jessie would cherish the most.
After Jessie left, the family was a bit sad. They pushed through because they knew Jessie had her own life to get back to. She had to move on if she was going to get back to work, and eventually fall in love again and have her own family.
There were still four adults in the house, so the toddlers were still well cared for.
The large family of seven: two great-grandparents, two parents, and three toddlers were quite content in their apartment in the sky in Uptown. They felt like a complete unit, not in need of any additional family members. So of course that’s when two more showed up.
The mystery woman from the hospital knocked on the apartment door. Kenya answered the door, but she didn’t let the couple in. She spoke with them in the hallway, and questioned if they’d announced their arrival to anyone else since they certainly hadn’t bothered to tell her they were coming.
“It’s nice to see you too Mom,” said the man, who’s name was Murphy Ralston.
Before Kenya could reply, the elevator doors opened. Gavin was returning home from a long day of work, along with one of their neighbors who lived in the other apartment on their floor. When he saw his mother, his face sunk.
“What are you doing here? Grandma, what are they doing here?”
“I was just trying to find that out when you arrived,” said Kenya. “Renee? Murphy? Someone say something.”
“We would have called first,” said Gavin’s mom Renee, “but you never answer your phone.”
“That’s because I have nothing to say to you,” replied Gavin.
“Don’t talk to you mother that way,” said Murphy.
“Sorry, Uncle Murphy,” said Gavin. “I’m not trying to be disrespectful, I’m simply trying to protect my children.”
“We only want to meet our grandchildren, can’t you understand that Kenya?” Renee looked at Kenya, pleading with her to understand.
Kenya looked at her with an appraising glance before finally sighing and turning to Gavin. “They traveled a long way to come here. I know what it feels like to be kept from your grandchild, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I’m not going to tell you what to do, but I think you should give them a chance.”
Gavin nodded, then turned and walked into his apartment. Kenya, Renee, and Murphy followed him all the way to the toddlers’ room, where Akira was keeping an eye on the kids during their play time.
Gavin was very nervous as he introduced the kids to Renee and Murphy. He couldn’t bring himself to call them grandparents just yet. He took it as a positive sign that they both got down on the floor to meet the toddlers, but he didn’t expect it to last long.
He zoned out as his memory took over the present moment. The voices he hadn’t heard in years brought with it a flood of negative emotions as he remembered the last time he’d been in the same place with all five of them. They certainly weren’t the happy family each wished they were.
Kenya and Cristian Ralston had two boys. They named them George and Murphy. Rivals throughout their childhood and teen years, it was no surprise to anyone that they fought over the same woman: Renee Wood. Renee enjoyed the attention of both men, but she chose to marry George.
Renee wasn’t excited about being a mother, but George dreamed of being a father. They compromised, and they had one son named Gavin. Gavin and George were really close until a boating accident cut George’s life short. Gavin and Renee weren’t left alone long though because Murphy stepped in to help. He was still sweet on Renee, so it wasn’t long before they scandalized the entire community by marrying.
Gavin refused to accept his Uncle Murphy as his stepfather, and it was a contentious household. Neither Renee nor Murphy were fond of children. While they never abused Gavin, he no longer had even one attentive parent to help him out his naturally shy shell.
Kenya and Cristian could tell that Gavin was unhappy, but when they spoke up to their son Murphy about it, his only response was to shut them out. They went years without seeing Gavin, only talking to him on the phone when he called them. As he reached the middle of his teens, it became clear things weren’t going to get better.
Kenya and Cristian came for an unannounced visit, and offered to help out with Gavin. There was a tense moment while they waited for Renee and Murphy to decide. Even for parents who took a very hands off approach, it was still was not easy to think of letting someone else take over for them.
To Be Continued…