Suri tells Mrs. Asoulin that she is interested in meeting Yedidye again, but that she has some reservations.
* * *
Seated at his desk, it looked to anyone passing by as though Leib Weinbach was working, but in reality, he was counting the seconds until he could leave work and run home to the boys. He was starting to really love those little guys, and he couldn’t wait to see them at the end of the day.
Before this, even as recently as a week ago, his entire being was caught up in his job. It dominated his thoughts and took up most of his time. So when he stood up at five o’clock on the nose and wished his co-workers a good evening, more than a few eyebrows were raised in wonder and surprise.
“Hello!” he called, as he stepped into his mother’s house. “Anybody home?” Even as he could almost cringe at how corny he sounded, there was no way to mask the joy and excitement coming through his voice. He put down his briefcase and waited no more than three seconds before two small, powerful missiles named Shimmy and Mordechai barreled into him. He picked them both up by their knees and threw them backwards over his shoulders as they chortled with glee.
“Bubby! Bubby! Have you seen the boys?” he called. “I can’t find them anywhere!” He was holding them down his back by their ankles, and they were howling with excitement.
“Why, I don’t know!” Bubby exclaimed, wiping her hands on her apron as she emerged from the kitchen. “They were here just a minute ago!”
“We’re here! We’re here!” they shouted, kicking their feet wildly.
Leib’s eyes grew mock wide as he drew them up slowly like buckets from a well. “There you are!” he said, his eyes shining.
They gathered together for a little group hug, which quickly transformed into a mini wrestling match. It was hard to tell who was having more fun, Leib or the boys.
Bubby Weinbach looked on, wiping her eyes surreptitiously and smiling broadly.
“Okay now,” she called, reveling in her role as the voice of reason. “The boys need to bentch, and your supper is ready as well.”
Leib stood up quickly, suddenly conscious of his parental obligation to be a good role model.
“Kibbud av va’eim,” he said solemnly, as he stood up and wiped off his jacket.
Shimmy and Mordechai began to laugh hysterically at his comment.
“What’s so funny?” he said.
“You can’t do kibbud av va’eim. Your mommy isn’t here.”
Leib regarded them curiously, wondering what they were thinking. He spoke to them as he led them into the kitchen. “Well,” he said. “First of all, it doesn’t matter where your mommy is to do kibbud av va’eim. No matter where she is you still have to do it. That’s why you have to go to bed at the time your mommy told Bubby Weinbach.”
They had stopped laughing and their eyes grew round as they listened to their father.
“Second of all, Bubby Weinbach is my mommy.” And for some reason he could not fathom, they burst out laughing again.
“What’s so funny?” Leib looked over at his mother, but she just shrugged her shoulders, as clueless as he was.
“A daddy doesn’t have a mommy. Only a mommy can have a mommy,” said Shimmy, important with his knowledge.
“Where did you hear that?” asked Leib.
Shimmy stopped for a moment, alarmed. “I don’t know. It’s what I always thought.”
“You don’t know too much about daddies, do you?” said Leib.
Shimmy shook his head, suddenly serious. He looked like he was about to burst into tears again. Leib wondered briefly if Shimmy’s tendency to cry was something he learned from Suri, or if it came from not having a father around to show him different ways to react.
“I see. Bubby, we’ve solved the mystery. Bring out the photo albums!”
“Why are we going to look at photo albums, Daddy?” said Mordechai.
“For a few reasons. One, so I can show you how adorable I was when I was your age.”
Shimmy’s face wrinkled up in response to that.
“Just kidding,” said Leib. “Second reason is so that I can prove to you that Bubby Weinbach is really my mommy.”
The boys started laughing again.
“And the third reason is, and this is a little bit of a secret but I know I can trust you two with it, is that when I was little, I didn’t live with a daddy either! So I had to figure out how to be a daddy all by myself. But you’re not going to have to do that, you know why? Because starting today, we’re gonna have a Daddy Club! We’re going to talk all about the kind of daddies we want to be. How does that sound?”
But his words were already being drowned out by the sound of their cheering. Leib didn’t know how much of what he had said they understood, but they certainly got the idea he was trying to convey, and for now, that was all that was important.
To be continued …