Chapter 3.25

Note from SweetPoyzin:  Bad things come in threes…sorry again.

With all the shit happening in my life something was bound to break.  It was work.  I got sloppy on the job and  a patient died during a routine surgery.  I was put on leave and that’s when I made a decision.  I called Adam to tell him.

“The kids and I are leaving.”

“WHAT!?  Why!?  Just because someone died on your watch doesn’t mean you will lose your job.”

I sighed.  “I’ve already lost my job, Adam.”

I couldn’t even look him in the eye.  My little brother had stood by my side for years but this blind faith in me was too much.

“Stephen and I were having an affair.”

“YOUR BOSS!?  God damn it, Penelope.  Why can’t you stay out of trouble?”

“DON”T FUCKING JUDGE ME, ADAM!  In the past 3 months I have lost my twin, my marriage, and my job –”

“They were my family, too.”  He said quietly.

At that moment I realized I was not the only one still hurting.  I was just the only one handling it so poorly.

“Fuck.  You’re right.  At any rate I need a fresh start.  The kids and I are moving to Storybrook county…next week.”

“Fair enough.  I’ll pack my things.”

“Adam.  Don’t be ridiculous.  You just bought a house.”

“Yeah, well it looks like I’m selling it now.  We both know you need someone to keep you out of trouble.  And I need to be the fun uncle to these two monsters.  Sugar before bedtime and all that jazz.”

“Well…college?”

“Storybrook County is even closer to University.  I’ll live there while I attend classes.  Boom.  Next excuse?”

“Alright.  Pack your things.  You only have a week.”

And with that we were off to our next big adventure.

Penny’s Diary — Year 2

Note from SweetPoyzin: So the uptick in readers is good and bad.  It totally ate up ALL the bandwidth on my personal Photobucket page.  So for those of you trying to read the old posts without photos…hang tight!  That bandwidth will rollover on February 5th!  Thanks again!

Dear Diary,

It snowed when I left for college.  Alone.  I mean, Xander was there but this was the first time I ever did anything without Olivia.  To say I was scared doesn’t even begin to cover things.

Xander and I downsized for our final year.  Plus without the two extra scholarships that were Liv and Mike we totally could not afford the big house.  I’ll miss that bar.

Did I mention this house is also ugly?  Well, that’s probably why it’s so cheap.

I totally tossed the desks.  Like we’re actually going to study…sheesh.

My first day of classes totally sucked!  It was one thing going to class in the dark and getting home in the dark when Liv was here.  Doing it alone…not so awesome.

I did learn how to cook though.  Without Liv to be all mothery and do the housework I had to grow up a little bit.  I might be the older twin but I am sooo the less prepared twin.

Being totally broke meant that I had to spend a lot more time foraging for food.  No more pizza nights and trips to the grocery store for us!

Seriously…I spent a lot of time foraging.  Thank goodness the campus was full of wild plants!

I may have tired to fill Liv’s place by collecting pets.

I kinda went a little overboard.  I now have seven groups of fireflies.

A chameleon named Leon…

This guy is Humberto…

And finally this one is Sheldon.  I’m sure that I was really collecting them for Adam and Lucy as pets.  I was totally not thinking about keeping them.  Nope.

Oh my god…I’m the crazy reptile lady.  Crap.

So they gave me a degree.  I’m Dr. Penelope Hanks now.  How cool is that shit?  I may have only gotten C’s so I’ll only be an average brain surgeon but nobody has to know that, right?

Anyways, I gotta get my stuff packed.  I’m heading home tomorrow for Liv’s wedding!

Can you believe that?  Totally going to be separate people tomorrow.  I’ll be Penny Hanks and she’ll be Olivia Hepworth.

Breathe.

Love Always,
Penny

Penny’s Diary — Year 1

Dear Diary,

I met a guy!  He’s the hottest guy on this campus!  His name is Xander Sutton.  Oh he’s cute!

He’s super smart, too!  He’s getting a technology degree.  He doesn’t know what he wants to do with it yet.  His dad is a DNA Profiler with the CIA and has busted open some HUGE cases.  Xander thinks maybe he will do something like fighting internet crime.  That would be interesting!

Oh, he’s a kick ass kisser, too!  I told Mom and Dad it wasn’t serious.  I don’t think it is.  We really just like to hangout and flirt.  It probably won’t go anywhere after graduation even though he is moving to Starlight Shores to be with his family.

His parents just got divorced and he said he wants to be there for his twin sisters who are just kids.

HOW SWEET IS THAT SHIT!?

OH!  He gets along great with Liv and Mike, too!

And he’s a huge dork!

Xander is also the campus bartender.  Well, not officially.  He’s just really good at mixing drinks.

Thanks to his ability we have the BEST parties at our place!  I had to apply for extra scholarship money because we remodeled the house.  We may have added a professional bar but the college doesn’t need to know that!

You know, I think this is actually more serious than I wanted to believe.  I mean, I’m not going to run out and get knocked up, but…I don’t know…I could marry this guy I think.

Whoa.

Ok…moving on.  I don’t want to think that seriously about marriage.  I’m too young for that!  LOL

All Liv wants to talk about these days is “after college.”

“Mike and I are gonna get married.”

“Mike and I are gonna have five babies.”

BABIES!  BABIES!  BABIES!  I am so tired of hearing about babies.  I’m about to tear out her biological clock and beat it hardcore.  I’m almost a doctor.  I could figure out how to do that…

Anyway, the semester is over.  We got our report cards the other day and Xander, Mike, and I passed with 4.0 GPAs.

Liv got B’s.  Maybe if she stopped thinking about BABIES she would have done better.

Ah well.  School isn’t really her deal anyway.  She’ll be fine next semester.  I’ll make sure of that if I have to steal her uterus myself!

I’ve got to pack.  We’re all heading home tomorrow.  Xander is coming over to meet Mom and Dad for Christmas and I’ve got to figure out how I feel about him!

Penny Hanks,
Over and Out.

Olivia’s Letter Home — Year 1

Hi Guys!

I love our house here!  Of course I am the neat freak and I’m doing ALL the housework.  My room is impeccably clean!

OMG.  There is so much laundry!  They never do their clothes!  I’m so sorry if I was a slob, Mom.  Wtf was wrong with me?!

I learned to cook!  I was seriously getting tired of pizza, soda, and candy bars so I took a class!  I can only make mac and cheese but it is really darn yummy!

We have a “family” dinner night on Thursday.  We all get done with class early so we sit around and eat mac and cheese.  Sometimes Penny’s friend Xander joins us.  He seems nice.  No, Dad, they aren’t a thing.

I’m working really hard in my art classes.  I was struggling for a while.  You guys know school isn’t really my thing but I’m having a great time.

The drawing classes are my favorite.  Maybe one day I will the next Michelangelo!

Mike has been helping with my drawing classes, too.  He keeps it fun.

I have some room for improvement when it comes to human portraits…

Well, it’s Friday night which means Penny, Mike, and I have a study group.

I’ll see you guys soon!  Only a couple of weeks until break!

Love,
Olivia

Penny’s Letter Home — Year 1

Dear Mom and Dad,

OMG!  We made it to college!  It was a long drive but the house is totally bitchin’ awesome!

There’s some early snow on the ground here.  Can you believe it is only October but there is snow already?!  It’s gonna be a long semester!

There was a college-wide get together the first week and Olivia and I had a blast.  People totally don’t believe we are twins!  They don’t know we are witches either so the professors better not fail us!  HAHA!

Our house has two bedrooms.  Olivia and Mike have the smaller room.  I took the big one for myself!  It’s ok…they like “cozy.”  Ick.  Don’t worry, Dad, I’m keeping an eye on the lovebirds.  No funny business!

Olivia and I have a super early class.  It’s dark when we leave…

..and dark when we get home.  I have classes ALL DAY on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!  From 8am to 6pm!  Jeez you’d think they’d want us to learn or something!

We are eating pretty well.  Of course I spend so much time in class that sometimes we have to order pizza.

Classes are going really well!  I’m getting A’s in EVERYTHING.  They said Medical School would be hard but whatever.

I had to give a presentation in one of my classes!  It was great.  I totally rocked it.

Olivia and the professor were the only ones to show up but I kicked ass anyway!

OMG you guys!  Olivia is getting really great at drawing!  She was awesome to begin with but now she is even better!  She is really dedicated.

We found this AWESOME bakery just down the road from our house.  They have the BEST brownies.  No, Dad, they are not THOSE kinds of brownies.  I know what you were thinking.

Oh, by the way, I met a boy.  No, Dad, it’s not serious.  I am bringing him home for Winter Break.  NOT BECAUSE IT IS SERIOUS.  Sheesh.  He’s from Starlight Shores…sorta.  He’s really from Sunset Valley but was born in Sunlit Tides.  So his family is new to our area and I’m going to show him around.  GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE GUTTER, DAD.

We’re just friends.

I gotta run!  Class and all the jazz!  See you over break!

Love Always,
Penny

Chapter 2.34

Well, today was the big day.  The girls were graduating.

I may have taken a sip or two from the juice keg we bought for the girls.  You know, just for fun.

I took the girls’ young adult photos early.  I knew that they wouldn’t want to stop their lives before their next birthday so their dear old mom could get the next shot in the series.

Later that morning we all piled into the car and headed to City Hall for the big event.  I was nervous, the twins were not.

Mom, Dad, and Holly were there too for Colleen’s graduation.  Oliver and Lanya couldn’t make it because Luka had the flu.

It was a fantastic ceremony.  We never would have guessed a couple of years ago but Liv was Valedictorian.  She was also voted most artistic.  Penny was voted most likely to save the world.  Colleen got most athletic.

We were so proud of all three girls.

The next morning Garrett and I took Penny out for breakfast.  Just the three of us.

Garrett and I had a specific reason for wanting to take Penny out but we wanted to wait to talk to her until after we ordered.  Garrett, being the wonderfully eloquent man that he is tried to start the conversation.

“Penny, you might not realize this but you are very beautiful.  Like your mom.  She’s hot.  It’s why I married her.  So…well college boys make terrible decisions and they might try to get you to go to bed with them.  And while we support any decision you make…that one is not a good one.”

“Wow.  Dad.  This is only the most awkward conversation we’ve ever had.  This is worse than when you taught me about the birds and the bees.  Wait…Did you just call mom hot?  Oh my God…are you going to have this gem of a speech with Liv, too?  Please tell me I’m not the only one getting scarred for life.”

“Of course not, Penny.  Mike is going to university with you two.  Olivia won’t be sleeping around when her boyfriend is there.  Not that I think you will sleep around.  But there are temptations and some guys will be attracted to you and want to get in your pants…this isn’t going where I wanted to take it…oh boy.”

“Oh dear God…Dad STOP.  Mom, save me…Dad’s brain is broken.”

“Penny, this is why your father isn’t allowed to give toasts at parties.  Did you know that I was well into maternity clothing before your dad even realized I was pregnant.  He asked if I wanted a gym membership.  He might be a dork but he’s not a complete idiot.”

Penny looked at us with a look of terror on her face.

“Look, Penny.  We have always known you would do amazing things with your life.  You are going to MEDICAL school.  That is a huge accomplishment and we are so proud.  We want you to succeed in school and your father just isn’t good at saying that.”

“I guess I still don’t get what you guys are saying…but whatever.  You guys are just getting senile.”

I looked at my daughter and fought back tears.

“Penny.  I love you and Olivia very much.  I would never wish you away or trade you for a different life.  I wanted to be an astronaut.  I knew I wanted this when I was 9 and saw a space shuttle launch.  I got a technology degree.  I joined the military right after college so I could reach that dream.  Then I learned I was pregnant.  I gave that all up for you girls.  I don’t want you to end up in that place even though I have always loved you and your sister.”

Penny realized what we were getting at after that.  We dropped it and went on with breakfast as usual.   Penny told us all about what she plans to specialize in — surgery.  I know she will do everything she wants and more.

I realized that we WOULDN’T be having this talk with Olivia.

It’s not that we love her less or want less for her but I think we’ve always known she wasn’t Penny.  Penny was going to do great things.  She does whatever she sets her mind to doing.  She wants to be a doctor.  She’s going to be a doctor.

Olivia is different.  She’s ok being a starving artist.  I know one day she’ll be the stay-at-home-mom that I wasn’t.  She’ll love it and flourish.

Olivia doesn’t need this talk.  Penny does.

Later that night Olivia and I had a girl’s night out.

We went to a Karaoke bar and had a blast.  Perhaps I had a bit much to drink but I was heckling the singers when Olivia looked at me and smiled.

“Come on, Mom.  Let’s get up there next!”

“Oh jeez, Liv…really?  That’s a huge mistake!”

It was probably the wine that got me up there with her.

I screeched my heart out with my daughter.

Her voice was brilliant.  I didn’t even know the words.  I couldn’t even read the words on the prompter!  They were totally blurry.  I’m sure it’s just old age.  No other reason…

Soon I loosened up and really got into the song.  The crowd cheered “Encore!” but I KNOW it was not for me!

We chose to sing Rascal Flatts “My Wish.”  I meant every word for both of my girls.

In just a few months they would be leaving to start their own lives.  I chose not to think about it.  Right now, I will live in this moment with my daughters and I will be happy.

Chapter 2.33

I am not a fan of change.  I never have been.  This is probably why the girls’ birthday was so difficult for me.

I have sometimes thought of running away from this life — being the catalyst of change instead of suffering through it.

As much as I love my family with each new baby, each passing birthday I have felt myself more and more panicked by my changing world.  Unfortunately, there is no stopping it and I must endure for the sake of those depending on me.

The girls’ of course were thrilled about the idea of being adults and having the chance to make it on their own.  This is the true test on the parents.  If we failed them, they will suffer for it now.

Penny, however, felt she was suffering for a different reason.

“Mom, ahem, there aren’t a lot of things on that table…”

“Oh, le sigh, did you expect to get something awesome for your birthday?  We did buy you and your sister a car when you turned 16.  Did you expect that for 18, too?”

“Um…yeah?”

“Well, dear daughter, maybe if you were less greedy in the future you would get better gifts.”

“I’m sorry, Mom.  I am such a little shit.”

“Yes, yes you are.  And not very observant.  Perhaps if you checked the back porch…”

I didn’t even have a chance to finish my sentence before Penny was in her coat and out the door.

So much for less greedy…

We did spoil them a bit and this birthday was no different.  We stretched it so thin I was unsure how we would make it the next payday.

I would never tell the girls I sold my $8,000 camera and Garrett sold his $3,000 video game system to make this happen.

Before long Mom, Oliver, Lanya, and Colleen showed up with the birthday cakes.  There was no turning back now…not that I had any choice.  If only I had the power to stop time.

My darling Penny went first.  This was it.

In only a few seconds we would no longer be a family with four children living at home.  We would be a family with 18-year-old young adults.

The enormity of it all hit me in that moment.  The girls are leaving the nest.  Adam’s birthday is next week.  He will be a child.  Lucy’s birthday in two.  A toddler.  My own next month.  Over the hill.

Wasn’t I just planning my wedding?

I didn’t have much time to reflect.  Suddenly, my beautiful, intelligent, young adult daughter was standing in front of my eyes.

Not to be out done Olivia ran up to her cake and in a sparkling second

She turned into the sassy, girly, artistic woman I always knew she would become.

And my little sister put aside her differences with Penny to celebrate her own birthday.

Her intelligence and athletic ability rivals my own.  Maybe one day I will watch her play on the Olympic team.  Maybe she’ll become the astronaut I never got to be.

I felt a harsh sense of failure just then.  My sister had grown up without me.  My littlest sister, Holly, was doing the same thing.  Did she even know who I was?  I would make more of an effort to be involved in their lives.

My brother brought his dog, Roux, to the party.  Roux was also getting older and my brother wanted to be as involved with the little guy as he could.  So…we let Roux have some cake too.

Later that evening the girls ran off to party with their friends.  While I was cleaning up I noticed my Dad with Adam.

Again the guilt hit me.  It must be the old age hormones coming on but I felt awful for not seeing my Dad as much.  My parents needed to also be a bigger part of my life and my children’s lives.

With the rest of feelings I felt the desperate need to hug my baby.  I was not the only one.

I walked into the room and was paralyzed by the look on my mother’s face.  The anguish, the pain, the loneliness.

One day, she would see Lucy go before herself.

I learned more in one night than I had learned in my entire life.

My mother is stronger than I ever thought possible.
My father is my hero.
My husband is truly my better half.
My daughters will be ok in the world.

And I…well, I guess I will survive this change after all.

Chapter 2.32

The morning started like any other day.

I enjoyed another “delicious” salad in hopes of getting rid of those baby pounds and Garrett ate whatever the hell he felt like eating.  Today it was corn dogs because he doesn’t want to get any tonight.

The one thing that wasn’t normal?  Penny and Liv were having a birthday today.  Like they were going to let us forget that they would be young adults, college bound and everything.

Since the twins and Colleen shared a birthday I called my mom and we planned an impromptu triple birthday bash for the girls.  Everyone would come over to our house that evening for a mega party.

Boyfriends were not allowed since Penny and Colleen still could not settle on who gets to date Greg.  Personally, I think neither girl should have dated him since he seemed fine with dating two girls.  But what do I know…I’m only older and wiser.

After getting the party details in place it was time to hangout with the best party planning assistant a mother could ask for.  Lucy was still sleeping so Adam and I had a little time to ourselves before I had to run off to get gifts and cakes.

“Mommy…Sissies told me they wants cookies for the party.  They says I gets to try the cookies whiles you are making them.”

“Your sisters said that?

“Yeah, they saids I’m the bestest cookie eater so I had to taste all the cookies.  Yup.”

“Interesting.  Well, I guess you could have one cookie before lunch.”

I was going to have to watch out for this little nugget.  Only 3 years old and he’s already trying to pull the wool over mom’s eyes.  Little Adam is a dangerous combination of Momma’s Boy, Genius, and Adorable.

I made some other food for the party while Adam chowed down on his cookie.  It was going to be one of our biggest parties yet and I needed lots of food.  Most of which I wouldn’t eat thanks to my stinky diet.

“Mommy’s got to go get some gifts for Penny and Olivia’s birthday party.  You be good for the babysitter ok?”

“I’m the best boy ever, Mommy.  So you should brings me back somfing, too.  Ok, Mommy?”

“You’re birthday is next month, Little Man.  You can wait.”

“Well…ok.  But I might not be good then.”

“That’s a chance I’m willing to take.”

We hadn’t really utilized babysitters since the twins were toddlers.  That bad experience really shook me.  Adam is so self sufficient though and he will let us know if anything is amiss with a sitter.  He also watches out for Lucy, too.  He’s my eyes and ears now.

I drove into town to check out the new art supply shop.  With Liv going to University for her art degree it seemed like the perfect place to find her some gifts.

I immediately thought I was in the wrong place when a pink luxury convertible pulled up next to my old SUV.

We had hit a money snag since the remodel and we had been living paycheck-to-paycheck.  Things were getting so bad that I was thinking about heading back into the workforce after Adam and Lucy were just a smidge older.

The gear here was seriously overpriced.  I ended up getting Liv a drafting table and some models to work from in class.  Penny was the spendy one.  She was going to medical school and her gear was outrageously priced.  We’ll be in the red for awhile but Garrett and I will make it work.  We always have.

When I got home I realized that the house was a mess.  I’ve been taking care of Adam and Lucy and well…the house wasn’t a huge priority.  Until I realized my whole family would be visiting and I had several months’ worth of laundry on the floor.

Garrett was home and he occupied the itty bits.  He really loves being a dad to little ones again.

Even Lucy was excited for the party.  I doubt she knew what was going on but she could tell there was some hub-bub about and it was going to be fun.

Garrett cleaned up the playroom while I set up the gifts and party decorations.

Adam was displeased by this.

“Hey, Big Guy…what’s the issue?”

“You are picking up my toys, Daddy.”

“Yes.  So what’s the issue?”

“I was gonna let Sissies pick a present from my toys and you put thems away!”

“Well, they can pick from your toy box.  If they are all over the floor someone might trip.  They’ll like it just the same.”

“Fine.  I’m not gonna have fun at the party though.”

I decorated the dining room with the girls old pictures.  Since I had gotten in the habit of photographing them before each birthday I had one from their toddler years, childhood, and teen years.

I proudly displayed their photos around the room in chronological order.

Finally, was the photo I took of the girls before school today.  I also had smaller copies made and framed in their favorite colors.  They could take the photos with them to university and beyond and always remember their love for each other and their mother’s love for them.

Finally the gifts were set out and everything was ready and waiting.

Now we just needed the girls to get home from school.

Chapter 1.37

Mollie didn’t come home at all after her junior year of college.  It was odd but we had to let her live her own life.  Her emails kept coming during her senior year.

Dear Mom and Daddy,

Garrett and I are living off campus for our senior year.  Look at this awesome house!  It will be great for…study parties.

I am working hard toward that degree!  You wouldn’t believe the stuff they let me do now that I’m a senior!

They seriously let me do genetic research!  Like really!

And then they let me give presentations!  How awesome is that!

Here is a copy of one of my presentations.  It is more serious that it looks.  It’s about the dangers of getting drunk at study parties and how you distract other people from the purpose of the party.

I’m kinda concerned that Garrett keeps thinking so much about babies.  I want some free time after we get married!  Not babies right away!

Anyway, we are finally graduates!  I got a perfect GPA and so did Garrett!  We will be home soon.  We have some celebrating to do with our friends before this time it up!

Don’t worry though!  We are partying safely and legally.  See you soon!

Love Always,

Mollie

Chapter 1.36

We saw little of Mollie in between her sophomore and junior years and when it was time for her to go back to school we barely noticed she was gone.  I was sad about this change but I knew it was the natural progression of things.

Dear Mom and Daddy,

They added this great new movie theater on campus.  It was super cute that Garrett took me to see a romantic comedy during the grand opening.

Don’t worry though, we are still getting plenty of studying done!  Garrett and I are both on the Dean’s List right now and are on track to have perfect GPAs!

Some things have happened…you know…heat of the moment things.  I wasn’t mad or anything when I found out…I felt bad for Garrett though.

I think he was a little embarrassed by what he had done…in public…where people could hear Ashley.

Besides…I can’t really be mad at Garrett when I ended up in the same heat of the moment situation.  Oh…except he doesn’t know about it yet.  DON’T TELL HIM!

Love Always,

Mollie