“Okay. So. Bad news. Arthur definitely lost the ring, and he may have swallowed it.”
Marta was standing carefully away from me—as if she was afraid that I was going to lunge at her. But instead, I just closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I was so desperate to not become a Bridezilla, and I had told them not to give Arthur the ring yet, but getting angry wouldn’t change anything right? Right.
I opened my eyes and tried to smile. “Is he hurt? I’m assuming he’s not choking on the ring because I assume you would have led with that, correct?”
Marta made a face at me, seeming to forget that today was ‘My Day’ and I would be well within my rights to hit her repeatedly with ring bearer’s pillow. “Yes—if your child was choking to death on your wedding ring I would have led with that.”
Arthur was a little over two and half. All of our initial worries about who was going to play what role faded into nothing as we fell into naturally. All three of us loved Arthur, and we all tried to work together to make life the best for him that we could, but Bradley and I were the parents, we had final say. Marta was great with helping out when we got busy, or when someone got sick, and even agreeing to stay in the little apartment and help pay rent with us even though she’d managed to snag a pretty sweet little job that meant she could have run off. Although she was his birth mother, and his “aunt” and loved him whole heartedly, she’d started calling him Bradley and my child almost as soon as we got home from the hospital, even though none of us were shy about the fact that Marta was the one who’d given birth. It just worked.
Now, Marta and I had turned twenty-one a couple of months ago, and Bradley said that was long enough for us to wait and revealed that he’d been slowly secretly planning our wedding for the last year and half. Once we convinced his mother to let us not have the traditional catholic wedding, the ball got rolling. Tomorrow, when the social services offices opened, we were going to go as a married couple to fill out the paperwork to adopt Arthur Martin Andersson. We’d change his last name later.
It was true that I’d never really expected to raise a family with my sister like this, but I can’t imagine I ever thought we wouldn’t end up like this.
“No, he’s not choking. But he’s gone tight lipped—I think he knows he did something wrong—and he’s not speaking to anyone.” Marta sighed, going to rub at her eyes before remembering that she had more eye make up on than she was used it.
I sat down very carefully, with assistance from Bradley’s Mam as to not wrinkle the dress, and sighed up at Marta. “Send him in.”
Marta returned moments later with a little boy in a suit, his lips curled in on themselves to make a very small thin line. He definitely knew he’d done something wrong, and while I was a little annoyed that my wedding band was unaccounted for, I didn’t want him to spend all day in a bad mood. I patted my lap, and he dropped Marta’s hand, running forward to crawl up into my lap. He rested his head against the front of my shoulder. “I’m sorry, Mommy.”
“What did you do, Art? Why are you sorry?”
“I looked at the light on the wings, and I dropped them.” He held up his hand flat, like he’d been practicing carrying his pillow all week, but then shifted his hand back and forth, rocking his imaginary pillow.
“Oh,” Marta and I sighed at the same time, realizing what had happened.
“What is it, girls?” Mrs. Wilson asked.
“Arthur Andersson, you are a magpie, obsessed with shiny things.” Marta scolded playfully.
I gave Arthur a little hug to let him know he still wasn’t really in trouble as I looked up to Bradley’s mom. “He was moving the pillow back and forth so that the light bounced off the bands. They were probably making little light patches on the wall that he was playing with.”
“Bradley used to do that,” Mrs. Wilson smiled, reaching out to stroke Arthur’s hair, “We got him a prism for his fourth birthday, and he played with for a good five hours.”
“Yeah. I was pretty sure I knew who taught him that,” I laughed. “Arthur love,” I pulled him back away from chest a little so I could look him in the eye, “I promise you are not in trouble, and Mommy and Auntie Marta aren’t mad, but can you take Auntie Marta to exactly where you dropped the rings, and showed her where you were standing. And maybe if you are very careful of your suit and help her look for the rings, then you can come back here and we can share a peppermint patty before we go get married. Does that sound good?”
Arthur’s face broke into a huge grin. The peppermint patty was a bold-faced bribe for him to behave for the rest of the day, but what worked, worked. “Well, find them, Mommy,” He assured me, before sliding off my lap and taking Marta’s hand with more force than you’d expect from a kid so small and trying to pull her towards the door. “Come on, Auntie Marta. Peppermint Patty.”
I smiled up at Mrs. Wilson as she helped me back to my feet. “That, he didn’t get from Bradley,” she teased, making a face.
“No,” I smiled even wider, “No, that she got from Marta. And me.”