This diary entry is part 1 of 32 in Lily's diary dated 05 - November 2021

Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!

I’m writing early today because I have some stuff to say.  But isn’t that why I always write?  But the most important thing is, I got Dave GOOD last night.  At about midnight, I went down to the kitchen and started banging some pans rhythmically.  I waited until I heard the bedroom door open, then I hid.  Poor guy jumped out of his slippers! “HAPPY HALLOWEEN!”, I yelled.

“Good one,” he said, after he calmed down.  And yawned.  “Oh, and Lily?  Watch your back.”

Oh no.  What have I done.  Sabby is a force of nature, but Dave is a little different.  He gives as good as he gets.  I guess I’m just going to resign myself to my fate.

I didn’t bring up Halloween last night.  It’s a little bit of a big deal in the Smith house – they do decorate and all that, and they have a bowl of candy waiting for trick-or-treaters, though far fewer show up right now because of the virus.  I’ll help out if asked, but it doesn’t really mean much to me.  See, I have a theory.  I think most people love holiday celebrations because of their memories as a child.  Children dress up in costumes and go door to door for candy, then they grow up, and because their parents have such good memories, they pass them down to their kids.  I don’t have those memories!  So it doesn’t even occur to me at all to make a big deal of it!  Does it make me sad?  Yes, very much so.  But there’s nothing to be done about it, so I’ll just cope as much as I can.  Dave and Sabby are understanding, though.  They let me participate as much as I want.  Or, in Dave’s case, he doesn’t have much of a choice.  Muahahahaha!

But pranking Dave is fun.  Until he gets me back.  Oh man am I gonna regret this!

Well, I should go run.  The days are getting shorter, but cooler.  Summers here are awful, but the winters mostly make up for it all.

Love you all!!! ❤️

This diary entry is part 2 of 32 in Lily's diary dated 05 - November 2021

Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!!!

I like being Lily!  I am cute, and smart, and I think pretty, and… I’m Lily!

But sometimes I don’t understand things.

Sabby and Dave are both kind of on eggshells tonight.  Apparently there is some election going on in Virginia, and they seem to really care how it turns out.  I haven’t really paid attention to whom that they want to win, but they seem to have some really strong opinions.  But I’ve said that I don’t want to talk politics on this blog, and that’s because I don’t understand politics.  People yelling and screaming at each other over things that… well… might matter, but take second place to their humanity.  And all of the different parties have their own way of denying humanity, right?  One party says the other party is evil, and then the other party returns the favor, and truthfully, they’re all a bit evil and a bit good and they might learn something by listening to the other party.  But no, people don’t do that, do they?

I don’t understand people at all.

So I ignore politics but right now it’s hard to ignore them, on election nights it’s always hard to ignore them.  I remember last year Dave and Sabby were arguing, they don’t agree on everything politically.  I guess Sabby voted one way on some things and Dave the other, and then they started bickering and yelling at each other and there was door slamming and all that.  But what’s the point of that?  And Sabby told me that even though some things are happening in the world, she feels like some people want her marriage to fail, just because she’s black and Dave is white.  Some people feel like Dave is the superior one, and some Sabby, but it really hurts Sabby.  A lot.  She loves Dave, even if they fight sometimes, and she hates the idea that some people want her to leave him just because of their skin color, or the other way around.

And that doesn’t make sense to me either.  Sabby is a wonderful person.  She’s got a chewy center, and when she shows it to you it’s like this big, beautiful gemstone that glitters in the light and you just want to sit there and bask in the glitters and glimmers.  And Dave is like this big, easygoing teddy bear who is usually just happy to let life happen, but he loves Sabby fiercely and he loves us too.  Why would someone who doesn’t even know us want to destroy our family?  It’s insane!!!

But politics is the insanity of the mob, I suppose.

So the mood in the house right now isn’t too bad, but it’s a little pensive.  They really care about the outcome.  The thing they really care about is what we’re taught as their children.  They really hate the idea that children are taught things that aren’t in their best interest just so some people can feel better about themselves. That’s one reason they are homeschooling us.  So I think anything that helps stop that, they’re for.  It looks like, from what I’ve seen, a lot of other parents feel the same way.

Soeaking of homeschooling, I think Beth has lost her friends, and Sabby seems worried about that.  I agree with Sabby – Beth needs friends, but good friends who can speak to her on her level and do things with her that they both like.  I’ve got Liz but who does Beth have now?  It seems like a tough problem to solve.  Maybe there should be a friend “dating” site?  Probably a bad idea, I guess.

The one good thing about elections is the emotions tend to recede quickly – there’s always another coming up.  So tomorrow things should be a bit better.  I don’t know yet if Dave and Sabby will be happy or sad.  And honestly, I probably won’t tell you, that’s their business.  And also, I don’t really care that much.  I love Dave and Sabby, but truth is, they can be wrong.  I hope the best thing happens for everyone, even if I don’t know what that is.

I think 18 days to Disney World!  Sabby is tsking and tutting and fretting and making plans and other plans and planning for plans.  I love that she worries about me.  But I think I’ll be fine.

Love you all, and treat each other well!!! ❤️

This diary entry is part 3 of 32 in Lily's diary dated 05 - November 2021

Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!

So I’ve been a busy Lily!  I decided I wanted to do something a little more useful with this site, so I made a few tweaks and twizzles and pulled some strings and spat on something, and ta-daaaa!  I haven’t really changed the look of the site yet, but I added a page of my family and friends!  I need to add an entry for chocolate!  I’m not even kidding!!!

I also started going through my old posts and adding tags just so I can keep track of what I’ve talked about before!  I’ve written so much stuff that I feel like I’m going to talk about the same things over and over!  This should help!

While I was going over some photos to put in my family and friends page (do you like mine?  It’s cute!  I love that dress!!!) I thought “I’ve had this hairstyle forever.  What if I change it?”  I might do that!  What do you think?  Do you think I’d look good with a different hairstyle?  I do!  it’s been growing a little long lately anyway, it might be fun!  I’ll talk to Sabby.

Things have calmed down in the Smith family!  So there was a little bit of strife because of the election, but it all calmed down and everyone’s back to their old selves.  They might squabble and fight and stuffs, but at the end of the day, they love each other more than they care about their differences, so it’ll all work out.  Besides, they agree on more than they disagree.  They’re good people!  But there’s nothing wrong with being passionate about something.

So otherwise it was a boringly boring day.  I ran, I did school.  Oh!  How could I forget this!  Dave got me good!

So I went out into the kitchen, and I found a bowl of chocolate pudding in the fridge, just sitting there, tempting me with its chocolatey goodness.  I, naturally, was so happy, and got myself a nice heaping bowl.  Then I took a bite.

The…  silly billy…  put cayenne pepper in it!  And not a little bit, either!  I screamed and drank so much water!  Dave sauntered in, and said “I told you to watch your back”.  My face was so red!

I stomped over to him and punched his arm with the fiercest look I could muster.  “Chocolate is sacred!  Don’t mess with chocolate!”

He laughed and rubbed his arm.  “So is my sleep.  Poke the bear and get bit, kiddo.”  I lowered my head.  DAMMiT.  I stomped out of the kitchen, his laughter in my ear and burning in my mouth.  I’ll get him!

… or will I?  He messed with CHOCOLATE!!  Nothing’s sacred!!!  Who knows what he’s capable of???

Anyway, time for bed.  Love you all!!!  OW MY MOUTH.  Still burns.  ❤️

This diary entry is part 4 of 32 in Lily's diary dated 05 - November 2021

Hi!  It’s me, Lily!  And I HURT!

Let’s just say cayenne pepper doesn’t just hurt going in and leave it at that.  Dave got me so good.  Credit to him.  I haven’t decide if I’m going to escalate, but he sure does give as good as he gets.  Maybe I’ll find a prank that’s a little more jokey and a little less scary.  But hey, it was Halloween.

It’s…  what, 17 days to Disney World?  I lost count but it sounds right.  My tablet should be arriving any day!  Sabby’s going to buy Beth one too!  She’s not getting David one, though.  He’s too young, and he doesn’t need another excuse to be irresponsible with his electronics.  I still don’t know what she’s going to do with Beth, but they’re both really looking forward to it.  I’m glad.  Both Sabby and Beth seem to feel like their relationship isn’t going as well as it used to, and they need this time together.  Plus, I’ll be at Disney World!!!  It’s not exactly like I’m left out!

I think Dave is going to have a fishing trip with David.  They’ll camp out somewhere and get up early and catch the fishes.  If they’re successful, we’ll have fish for dinner for days!  If they’re not, well, at least it’s bonding time for the two of them.  It makes me happy that they’re making the effort.  You know, that’s how you can tell a bad parent from a good parent.  Both good parents and bad parents make mistakes.  Sometimes a lot of mistakes.  Sometimes good parents can hurt their children deeply.  But the difference is that good parents try.  They listen to their children when they are hurt and course correct if they have to.  And both Sabby and Dave are course correcting.  That’s what makes them good parents.

I think if someone truly loves you, almost anything can be forgiven.  And if they don’t, almost nothing can.  Probably a little bit of an exaggeration, but I think it’s right.

I talked to Sabby and I think I’m going to get my hair done this weekend with a new hairstyle.  I can’t wait!  I like my hair as it is because it’s easier to maintain, but it’s kind of boring.  I like being cute!  And if I don’t like it I can always go back.  I’ll post a picture too!!!  Maybe not the same day, but soon!!!

Anyway, I need to go to bed!  Bed is so nice!  It’s soft and warm and when the sheets are freshly washed, smells so nice!  I like bed!  But I like brushing Beth’s hair too!  And when she brushes mine!  I love having a sister, did I say that??  And chocolate!!!

Love you all!!! ❤️

This diary entry is part 5 of 32 in Lily's diary dated 05 - November 2021

Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!

OMG IT’S FRIDAY!!!  It’s been so nice outside!  Cool and sunny and… and… SQUEEEEEE!!!! Such nice runs in the morning!!!

I love Fridays because everyone’s happy on Friday!  It’s even better than Saturday because it’s anticipation that makes things better!  Speaking of which, 16 days to Disney World!  OMG OMG I CAN’T WAIT!!!! SQUEEEEEEE!!!!

Liz is so happy too, she’s been to Disney World before but never with a friend!  She wants to show me all the sights and smells and attractions… and ROLLER COASTERS!!!  OMG!!!!!!  I want to ride a roller coaster!  Or two!  Or three!!!!!  And eat junk food like elephant ears, ice cream, and cotton candy!  I better bring a heavy-duty toothbrush!!

I’m bouncing around!!!

My tablet arrived today!  OMG it’s soooooo cool!  I can doot doot on it like the cash registers at work, but I doot doot my stuff instead of prices for customers!  I downloaded a bunch of cool apps!  There are even games!  But Sabby told me I shouldn’t spend all my time with them.  Awwww!  Candy Crush is soooooo great!!!

But it’s so convenient too!!!

We’re going to watch a movie soon!  I don’t know what we’re going to watch.  I hope it’s good!!  Liz is coming over too to watch with us!  Her parents seem to be relaxing a little – she still has to do her classes and stuffs but she can come over and eat and watch movies with us!  It’s soo nice!! Liz is so nice to spend time with, and she seems to be relaxing a little too!  I’m glad for that!

Anyway, I have things to do before the movie!!  Love you all!!! ❤️

This diary entry is part 6 of 32 in Lily's diary dated 05 - November 2021

Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!

OMG!  Sabby took me to the hairstylist today, and I look so cute now!!!  Kawaii!!!  I’ll post a picture.  I was sooo happy I was twirling and dancing, though I fell over dizzy and just laid there giggling!  It’s so much fun being a girl!!!  Well, sometimes.

Tonight is the end of Daylight Sabbings!  I mean Daylight Savings!  Hahah!  I get an extra hour of sleep!  And I get paid too!!!  How cool is that?  I’m having the best weekend!  And 15 days to Disney World!!!

Otherwise, it was quiet today.  I worked.  Oh, I’m getting good at riding a bicycle!  I rode it to work!  But I had to take it inside and park it near the back door because people steal bikes! Awwww! But I’m not wibbling and wobbling anymore!  I’m riding!

Anyway, short entry today.  Dave grilled today and I want some of that really good, NON CAYENNE PEPPERED chicken!  Hear that, Dave?  NO CAYENNE PEPPER!!!  haha!  Fool me once…  He is so good at it, though.  He makes the best grilled meat!  I don’t understand vegans!  I mean, meat!  Soooooo good!!!  Don’t get me wrong, I like cows and chickens and all that, and they are cool and cute and nice to have around, but so delicious too!!!

Anyway, enough.  Love you all!!! ❤️

This diary entry is part 7 of 32 in Lily's diary dated 05 - November 2021

Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!  The one and only!

14 days to go to Disney World!  I’m soooo excited!  So much!  I can’t believe how much I’m looking forward to it!  Roller coasters!  Lots of sugary stuff!  Chocolate that looks like mouse ears!  Liz!  Who knows what else!  It’s so much fun!  Sabby is still fussing over me a little, she’s made a list and checked it twice and is telling me not to be naughty, but nice!  I’m always nice!  I’m a good girl!  Except when I prank Dave!  Muahahaha!

But she worries anyway.  I guess I don’t blame her.  Momma Bear gonna mom.

You might wonder why I don’t call her “mom” and Dave “dad”.  Well, there’s a simple reason for that.  I love that they’ve taken me into their family, and they treat me as much like a daughter as I have any right to expect.  More, even.  And I love them, more than I’ve ever been able to express.  But they’re not my “real” parents.  I have a mom and a dad out there somewhere, though I don’t know who they are.  Are they alive?  Are they dead? Did they abandon me?  Did they want me?  I don’t know.  I wish I knew.

Maybe someday I will meet my real mom and dad and they will have had a good reason for having left me by the side of the road.  Maybe they were in the hospital, or dead, and whatever hurt or killed them is the same thing that caused me to lose my memory.  Maybe they loved me as much as Dave and Sabby, and we’ll meet and hug and I’ll have two more parents.  And if that someday happens, it kind of cheapens it to have two moms and two dads, don’t you think?

Or maybe they just abandoned me, or didn’t want me, and erased all traces of themselves just so they’d want nothing more to do with me.  I hope not, but it’s possible.  And if that happens, then, well, Sabby and Dave become mom and dad, and to hell with my real parents.  I hope it’s not the case.  I hope with everything I am that they do love me.

Sabby was an orphan too.  She understands.  She knows what it’s like to not know your real parents, and that it leaves a hole in your heart that others can’t live in.  She gets it.  That’s why she never pressures me.  She knows she’s Sabby, and Dave is Dave, and that doesn’t mean I love them any less.  I always, always will, even if I find my real parents and they love me too.  Always.

I don’t like to think about it.  I like to be a happy Lily, going to the park and twirling around with my new haircut.  I like to be bubbly and cheerful and happy and fun to be around, and I like to make new memories with the people who care about me now.  But sometimes I do lie awake in bed and wonder.  Who are they?  Who am I?  Why did they hurt me like this?  What did I do to deserve it?  Why don’t I know and why is no one telling me?  But then I look around my room at all the nice things Dave and Sabby have given me, even though they didn’t have to.  And I’ll cry.  Both at the loss, but at what I’ve found too.  Maybe losing my memory and my parents is the best thing to ever happen to me.

And that hurts just as much.

I had to work today, but the rest of the family went to watch Allison play a baseball game.  I’ve never been to a baseball game.  Is it fun?  They went to the park and Allison really whacked that ball!  It went flying and she ran and ran.  She was soooo happy!  After the game Sabby dragged David over to Allison and made him apologize to her.  She was so happy at whacking the ball that she forgave him.  I don’t think there’ll be any cute kid crushes in the near, far, distant future, or ever, but at least she doesn’t give him the stink eye anymore.  That’s something.

Then they all went to a chain restaurant and had dinner.  I was still working, but that was okay.  I still had leftover grilled meat I could put in the microwave and it’s just as good the second time around!

So we start another week.  More school…. oh!  I forgot!  Remember that $20 bill that Sabby keeps trying to give me back?  Well, somehow she got hold of my bank account info, and guess what I found in my account?  Point to Sabby.  Why is it that they’re so much better at these kinds of things?  Dave got me so good with that cayenne pepper, and Sabby is just a force of nature, I can’t keep up!  I’m not sure I want to try anymore.  Not to say I won’t jump (hah) at the chance to get Dave back if it comes up, but maybe I should just admit defeat.  Maybe next time he’ll put chocolate in a little cage, light a blowtorch, and tell me to back off or the chocolate gets it.  I wouldn’t put it past him.

I love chocolate too much.  No, I don’t.  No such thing.  I’d marry it but I don’t want kids that melt in the bathtub.  Hahaha.  Guess it’s a boy for me.  Someday.  But he’d better not get between me and my chocolate!  He can have hobbies, and prank me, and joke with me, and be a silly billy all he wants.  But he touches that chocolate and it’s the doghouse for him!  Hahah!!!

I’m only somewhat kidding.  Poor guy.

I’ve been thinking about boys.  I still feel like I’m not ready for a boyfriend or anything.  But…  there’s this emptiness inside me I can’t explain.  It’s like there’s a piece of me that’s missing and only someone who loves me that way will ever fill it.  Will someone kiss me someday?  What will it be like?  Will it be fun?  I don’t know.  Maybe someday I’ll find out.  I hope at least the first time it’s all sweet and romantic.

I should go!  Beth needs her hair brushed!  Love you all!!! ❤️

This diary entry is part 8 of 32 in Lily's diary dated 05 - November 2021

 Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!

So yesterday, Dave did grill.  I think I was right – he grills as a way to work things out sometimes.  He’s a very emotional man, but he’s not really all that good at expressing it.  I guess a lot of men are like that.  He’s not mean about it or anything, but you can tell when he’s upset.  He’ll rarely tell you why, though.  It’s not so much that he’s private, it’s just that he’s… reserved, I guess.  So he went outside with some meat and grilled up a storm.  I gotta admit, I LOVE it when Dave grills.  He’s just so good at it!  It’s not quite as good as chocolate, but it’s almost as good, and that’s really a compliment!!!  It really does taste like summer or fall or whatever, just soooooo good.

Sabby thinks so too, I think.  When Dave gets in a grilling mood, she makes potato salad and other fixins and we have a bit of a feast, and there’s always some left over for lunch too.  It’s not the most cost effective thing, I suppose, but it works out.  At least so far, if you shop wisely, meat isn’t so bad.

This evening, Liz is staying over, but her parents came to visit too.  This time they brought food for all of us.  Liz’s mother is such a good cook!  It’s just, she cooks things a little differently.  Sabby likes pasta and rich sauces, and they like veggies and light sauces and rice.  It’s still really good, though.  Even David cleaned his plate.  For dessert we had chocolate, though.  Neither Sabby nor I are willing to give that up for a cultural exchange.  Hah!

Afterwards, we all talked for a while.  I told them how excited I was to go to Orlando (in nine days!  SQUEEEEEE OMG OMG) and they seemed a bit uncomfortable with the thanks.  The thing is, they’ve been a little concerned about Liz too.  Even though they’ve pushed her hard to excel academically, she hasn’t had many friends, and they did notice.  Now that she has me as a friend and “other family” that obviously cares about her, they want to encourage that.  They acknowledge that maybe it’s a little overkill, but I’m not going to complain!  They are just happy to do it.  Honestly, they say, it’s not all that much more of an expense (they’d have to pay for the rooms and most of the flights anyway) and they’re just happy to see Liz have a friend.  We’re not just going to Disney World too!  There are other fun places!

I’d be a friend even without!

Liz could come over before, but she just doesn’t seem as… guilty… about it.  Her parents still expect her to succeed, but they don’t want to drive her to hate them in the process.  Even Liz thinks that’s fair.  She does like doing schoolwork and music and stuff.  She just doesn’t want that to be the only reason her parents love her.

We watched a movie, but it wasn’t really an interesting movie.  I don’t even remember what it was called.  Afterwards, Liz’s parents said their goodbyes and went back to their house, but Liz got into her pajamas, she’s going to sleep over!  We’re going to stay up way too late and talk and play games and eat chocolate, and Beth’s even invited!  It’ll be fun!  So I should go do that.  Girl time is fun!

Love you all!!!!  Tomorrow is Saturday!  So I can’t stay up TOO late because I have to work.  But I’m young and caffeine is a thing, so…  on to the fun!  Liz is yelling that the game is set up and Beth just made popcorn!!!  ❤️

This diary entry is part 9 of 32 in Lily's diary dated 05 - November 2021

Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!  Crying Lily!

Sabby read my post yesterday, and told me she wanted me to listen to something.  She went to YouTube, and chose a video.  It was a song from the ’80s called “Somewhere Out There”.

Oh my God, I don’t know if I’ve ever cried so hard.

Somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight

Someone’s thinking of me, and loving me tonight

Somewhere out there, someone’s saying a prayer

That we’ll find one another, in that big somewhere out there.

And even though I know how very far apart we are

It helps to think we might be wishing, on the same bright star

And even though the night wind sings a lonesome lullaby

It helps to think we might be sleeping underneath the same big…

I can’t.  I just can’t.  It’s too much.

Anyway, I listened to that, and halfway through, I was just bawling.  The kind of sobs that stop being sobs and just turn into these terrible wails that just dont stop.  Sabby was right there, though, and I clung to her like my life depended on it. It kind of felt like it did.

It hurts.  It just hurts.  Are my parents out there?  Do they love me?  Did they love me?  Did they take me places to eat?  Did they take me on vacations?  Did they take me to the park and kiss my owies when I fell off the jungle gym?  There’s this huge part of me that I just don’t know, and it hurts so, so much.  What do I do?  How do I even cope with this?  I love Dave and Sabby and I’m sooooo grateful for them but they’re not mine.  What’s mine?  What did I have that I forgot?  Where are they?  Where are they?  WHERE ARE THEY???

Mom!  Dad!  WHERE ARE YOU?

This diary entry is part 10 of 32 in Lily's diary dated 05 - November 2021

Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!

Sabby gave me the day off from school today.  She told me that I’m so happy and cheerful most of the time, and she forgets that I have my own… demons, is how she put it, and that sometimes they might come out and we all just have to deal with them.  She explained that her demons are her feelings of inadequacy, Dave’s demons are his temper, Beth’s demons are her jealousy, and my demons are my… loneliness.  She thinks that’s what it is, anyway.  I don’t know if it’s the right word, but it doesn’t matter.

I didn’t sleep well last night.  Usually I sleep like a baby (whatever that means) but last night I was just tossing and turning and had fitful dreams of things that were just on the edge of my consciousness and not breaking through.  That’s the worst feeling, waking up and knowing something was important but not remembering it at all.  I finally padded into the kitchen to find some chocolate, and Sabby was there, sitting at the table in her nightgown, with tears in her eyes.

I found two things of pudding and got two spoons and set one down in front of her.  She peeled the lid off of hers, but just kind of stirred it around.  She didn’t really seem to want to eat it.

I peeled the lid off of mine and took a bite or two, but honestly, I wasn’t too hungry either.  And it was chocolate!

She sighed, fiddling with her spoon. 

“I forget sometimes,” she said quietly.  I was quiet.  “I forget how much it hurts to not have your parents.  I’ve had many years to come to terms with it.  You’ve had a year.  Or more.  Or less.  Who knows.”

“How did you cope with it?,” I asked softly.

She chuckled darkly, still fiddling with her spoon.  “I didn’t.  Not for the longest time.  I was… a wild child.  I did everything a girl wasn’t supposed to do.  Drinking…  other stuff…”  She sighed.  “Anything to take the pain away, even for a little bit.”

“Did it work?”

“No,” she said bitterly.  “It never worked.  It was never anything but a distraction.  I had a hole in my heart that no one could fill.  What’s a girl to do?  People came into my life, and left, and came, and left, and the only constant was the loss…  the pain…”

I was quiet.  There wasn’t much I could add.  But I understood.

“Eventually,” she said, “I was confronted with a choice.  I could keep wishing for what I would never have, or I could move forward with my life and make the best of it.  I think it’s worse for you,” she looked down, “because you don’t know.  They might be out there.  They might not.  But I knew where they were.  My foster parents took me to their graves every year.”

“Were they nice?”

“They were,” she said.  “They were my rock.  When I was being wild, and out of control… they never gave up on me.  I always had a place to stay, I always had arms to go back to…. even when I made mistakes and got in trouble and sometimes didn’t even know what day it was.”

“So what do I do?,” I asked.  I took a bite of the pudding.  It wasn’t as good as it usually is.

She shrugged.  “No idea.  Maybe don’t focus on what you don’t have, but what you do.”  She stirred her pudding some more.  “I didn’t understand my foster parents before.  I didn’t know why they kept putting up with me.  I expected them to kick me out every time I came home drunk.  But… they didn’t.”  Her lower lip trembled.  “I understand now,” she said.  “They loved me .  I didn’t understand.  But they did.”

I stared at my pudding.

“And now I do.”  She reached over and grabbed my hands in hers, and squeezed tightly.  “I… we… can’t replace them.  We’d never try.  We’ll never be them.  But we love you just the same.  Don’t lose sight of that.”

I nodded.  She stood up and went back to her room.  Her pudding sat on the table, untouched.

I picked up both the puddings and put them in the trash.  I went back to my room and stared at the wall until I finally fell asleep.

The next morning I came to breakfast, bleary-eyed.  As I mentioned, she told me that today was a free day for me.  I could do whatever I wanted.  I could sleep all day, I could watch YouTube, I could just stare at a wall.  And she apologized for showing me that song.  It was too much, even though she didn’t realize it at the time.  I just nodded and walked out onto the patio.  It was a beautiful day, the temperature was just right, the air smelled good, and the birds would have been singing if most of them hadn’t already flown south.

I thought for a moment, and stood up, and walked back to my room.  I put the song back on YouTube, and I listened.

Somewhere out there, if love can see us through

We’ll find one another, somewhere out there, out where dreams come true…

Mom, dad…  I’ll find you.  Someday, I’ll find you.  I’ll find me.  But until then… I have Dave and Sabby and Beth and David and Liz.  And they’ll be my family.  Somewhere out there, out where dreams come true.