S.M: Hi Miz Vonnie. Here, wanna hold my frog? His...his name is Scream. He gets lost in the house or the car and then eberbody screams.
Me: Ewwl! No...ah... no, honey, I don't want to hold him.
S.M: It's okay, Miz Vonnie. He don't bite. Unkie Storm says frogs don't got teeff.
Me: Tell me about your Uncle Storm, Sawyer. Do you do stuff with him?
S.M.: Oh, yeah. I go widing wif him lots. And I take my af'ta'noon nap in his big bed. He...he let me nap dere after Mommy got sick with cancer. I was sad 'cause Mommy was too sick to play wif me. Unkie Storm, he let me sleep dere and he weed me stories and showed me how to tie knots in rope. Do you like books, Miz Vonnie?
Me: Well, yes. Yes I do. What kind of books do you like?
S.M: Well, I got all the Courious George Books and Doctor Seuss books too, but...but you know what? He's not really a doctor 'cause he don't take care'a sick people.
Me: (Laughing) He doesn't?
S.M: (Shakes his head) Nope. My mommy don't go to him and she's sick. Her...her got loo-keem-ya.
Me: Do you have a favorite super hero?
S.M: (His eyes light up.) Yeah! Superman. Wachel, she's my mommy's nurse, made me a superman cape with a BIG "S" on the back for Superman Sawyer. I wund through the house with it on and "save the day."
Me: Oh, I bet you do.
S.M: Do you think I'm smart, Miz Vonnie? My mommy says I'm the smartest boy in the whole wide world and pro'bly the smartest boy in Texas, too. Miz Noella says I smart 'cause I drink all my milk when I get done eatin'. (Rubs his stomach) All dat milk fills in the cracks dat the food makes.
Me: (totally charmed) Oh, I see.
S.M: Miz Vonnie. Are you gonna scream? 'Cause I don't know where my frog went...
“Unkie Storm! I’m all clean fwom my baf.” Sawyer streaked onto the patio wearing Sponge Bob pajamas, a book in his grasp and his hair still wet from his bath. Storm held out his arms for his nephew, who shot into them. He loved the feel of this child in his arms.
If Pilar had her way, Sawyer might be the closest he came to being a father. Although she promised, insisted even, she’d help raise the boy if something happened to Sunny, Pilar made it quite clear getting “big with child” and “changing disgusting diapers” was not in her future.
“Mommy got me a new Georgie book.” Sawyer wiggled and grunted and settled into Storm’s lap. He held the book in front of Storm’s face, waving it back and forth. “Will you wead it to me?”
“I didn’t hear the magic word.” Storm gave the child a stern look.
“Oops. Sowwy. Will you please wead it to me?”
Sunny lowered herself into a chair next to Jackson. “Does Unkie Storm have a choice?” She laughed softly.
Jackson reached out and took her hand, bringing it to his mouth for a kiss. “You always were beautiful in the moonlight.”
Sunny’s eyes opened wide. “Well, aren’t you just full of compliments tonight.”
Jackson winked. “Darlin’, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
“Okay, grown-ups. Time to be quiet while I read Curious George Goes to the Beach.”
Sawyer laid his head against Storm’s chest. “I wuv you, Unkie Storm.”
Storm kissed the child’s dark hair, inhaling the smell of the child’s shampoo and savoring that sense of contentment he always felt when holding this little fellow. “I love you, too, son.”