“Hello, Mrs. Westmoreland,” I say. I stand in the Chinese restaurant dressed in a short-sleeved button up shirt covered by an embroidered velvet vest with my blue jeans, I am sweating not from the ambient temperature, but from nerves. I force a smile and put my hand to shake Logan’s mother’s hand.
Mrs. Westmoreland, standing barely 5’2” tall and pleasantly plump, hugs me. Surprised, I hug her back, a bit stiffly. Before I can greet Logan’s dad, she asks, “Where’s the baby?”
“He’s with my mother. I thought you’d want to meet me first, over lunch, then we can go meet him,” I explain. “It’s easier for me to talk, when I don’t have to focus my attention on getting Jack to eat.”
“I’ll feed him!” Mrs. Westmoreland says. “And please, call me Betty Jo.”
Mr. Westmoreland reaches past his wife to shake my hand. “Hi Lana. Call me Bob. You’d better take this little lady to the baby. She’ll make your life miserable if you don’t,” he says gravely, but then winks to signal that he was half-joking.
“Uh, well, don’t you want to eat lunch?” I ask. Food ranks pretty high in my priority list, right up there with sleep.
“We’ll bring it with us,” Betty Jo says.
“We’ll have to bring enough for Mom, Dad, my sister, and Kenny,” I tell her.
“Ok, do you know what they want?” she asks.
Defeated, I turn to ask a waitress if I can borrow a phone, so that I can call Mom to ask what she wants and let her know that we’re coming.
Meet the Westmorelands
Betty Jo rushes into the house as soon as I opened the door. Mom is there holding Jack, and Betty Jo starts talking to him, “How are you? You’re a big boy, aren’t you? Excited about the party?”
I think about introducing Betty Jo to my mother, but figure they’ll meet later.
I walk past them to take the food to the dining room. As I pull out plates and glasses, Logan introduces his parents to mine. Kenny runs up to Bob and squeals a happy, “Pawpaw!”
Bob sweeps up the little boy and holds him up high. “How are you doing, Peanut?”
“I’m not a peanut!” Kenny says with a happy, scolding tone.
“What’s that on your shirt?” Bob says, putting the child down and poking his tummy playfully.
“Doggy-mation!” Kenny says, referring to the 101 Dalmatians on his t-shirt.
Bob had heard Kenny’s cute nickname for the dogs before, so he didn’t miss a beat. “Do you want to come have baby lobster?”
“Bob, we didn’t get any lobster,” I say.
“Sure we did. Isn’t that shrimp lo mein? Shrimp are baby lobsters. Isn’t that right, Kenny?” Bob says.
I roll my eyes. “Are you also going to tell him that this broccoli grows up to be trees?”
“He already knows that, and that pineapples grow up to be pine trees. He told me that one last month,” Bob says with a straight face.
“This is Jodi!” Kenny says, holding up a toy snake and calling it by his mother’s name. I try really hard not to laugh.
Mom sits down beside me. Betty Jo is sitting on the floor near Kenny while Jack brings her each of his toys, one by one. She encourages him by admiring each one with a big, “Thank you! Oh, this is pretty! I like how this one crinkles! OH, and this one is a pretty red car!”
I shake my head. The way that she was encouraging the boy, Betty Jo would have a friend for life. Jack brings her a pair of socks and she offers to put them on his feet.
I laugh and walk over to show her that the socks actually go on his ears. “He’s a doggie!” I tell her. “Ruff, ruff!” The boys giggle. With one yellow and one blue “ear,” the puppy looks pretty silly.
“Well, that’s one way to break the ice,” Logan says quietly beside me, sliding his arms around my waist and kissing my cheek.
“They like you.”
“They don’t know I exist! They’re all about the boys!” I say, and realize that I’m okay with that. “I really like your parents. They’re nice.”
Mom walks up to us and says, “Logan, your son is sneaky! Right before you got here, I sat down on the couch and heard a crinkling sound. I looked under the cushion and found empty candy wrappers. When I was busy with Jack (changing his diaper or fixing his bottle or whatever), Kenny would sneak into the dining room, climb up on a chair, take one piece of candy from the bowl on the table, eat it, and hide the wrappers. He’s only allowed one piece of candy before lunch, and he knows that if I saw the wrappers in the trash, that he’d be busted.”
I try not to giggle. Really! “The thought of little itty bitty Kenny being a criminal mastermind…sneaking into the dining room…too small to reach the candy bowl!” By this time I am laughing hysterically.
Bob walks up to the other side of us and asks, “How did you two meet?”
Logan tenses, but I am prepared for this one, “Darrell introduced us on a blind date. Mom and Dad met on a blind date; they were set up by her brother. Grandma and Grandpa met on a blind date; she was a nurse and he was in the Navy. So I always thought that I would meet someone special the same way.”
Logan kisses my cheek again. “Darrell’s a good friend. He’s a dumbass sometimes, but he’s a good friend.”
Bob says, “You have to look hard to find a good friend, but it’s easy to find a dumbass.”
Yep, I like Logan’s parents, alright: they’re smart and funny. I wouldn’t mind being related to them; maybe one day…
Friends, I have some really awesome news to share, but I want to wait until I have all the facts. Hope to share next week. I’m so excited!!