OSCAR: The oldest of three brothers; second-grader extraordinaire
EDGAR: The middle of three brothers; the sweetest, silliest Kindergartener around
AUGUST: The two-year-old source of comic relief
SAMANTHA: The lucky mother of all of the above
TIME AND SCENE: 5:30 PM on a Monday night. The four characters are seated around the kitchen table.
A dinner replete with comfort food is on the table—roasted turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, and corn. Everyone is seated and happily feasting. The week before had been a tough one, so this home-cooked meal is a welcomed respite. The atmosphere is largely relaxed despite the fact that three of the four diners are under eight years old.
SAMANTHA. [After one or two bites.] So, we have to discuss something important tonight—really important. Is everyone listening?
AUGUST. [Putting down his fork.] We talk. Talk about monkeys?
SAMANTHA. No, August. We’re not going to talk about monkeys.
OSCAR. August is obsessed with monkeys. I don’t really know why.
AUGUST. Monkeys! With kepitch!
OSCAR. That’s disgusting, August. We don’t eat monkeys—with or without ketchup.
SAMANTHA. Okay, we need to talk about something other than monkeys . . . and ketchup. Are you ready?
EDGAR. Yes, Mommy.
SAMANTHA. Good. Okay . . . Well, here’s the thing. In the last week—since Edgar was diagnosed with epilepsy—things have changed. And that’s okay. It’s just that we need to make some plans. And one of the plans has to do with school.
AUGUST. [Yelling, throwing down his fork.] I go to school!
OSCAR. [Exasperated, as though stating the obvious.] No, August! You still wear a diaper. You can’t go to school. They have rules there, you know.
[At this point, August cries. Samantha consoles him with talk of monkeys (sans ketchup).]
SAMANTHA. So, we’re thinking that we might need to make a change for you, Edgar, regarding school.
[Samantha then tells Edgar the name and location of the school being considered.]
EDGAR. Is that a prison?
SAMANTHA. [Slightly, but only slightly, surprised by his question.] A prison? No. It’s an elementary school.
EDGAR. Do they have snack time?
SAMANTHA. I would assume so.
EDGAR. Then, that’s fine with me.
[Edgar goes back to eating with abandon now that these two salient questions have been answered.]
SAMANTHA. [To Oscar.] So, if Edgar changes schools, what do you think you’d like to do?
OSCAR. Well, what are my choices?
SAMANTHA. You can either stay where you are, or you can go where Edgar is going?
[Oscar is uncharacteristically silent.]
SAMANTHA. When you’re ready, I want to hear what you’re thinking.
[Oscar thinks for another minute or so.]
OSCAR. Okay, I have my answer. I go where my brother goes.
SAMANTHA. Are you sure?
OSCAR. Yes. I’ll miss my friends, though.
SAMANTHA. Well, you can still see them. We all live close to each other.
OSCAR. Then that settles it. I’m going with Edgar.
[Oscar gets out of his chair, walks over to Edgar’s, and puts his arms around him and kisses him as only a brother can on the top of the head. Then, as smoothly as he left his chair, he returns.]
EDGAR. [In complete awe, looking up from his food.] Oscar loves me!
SAMANTHA. Oscar, do you know what you just proved?
OSCAR. That I do love my brother. [And with tears in his eyes] Mom, can I please be excused?
* * * * * * * * * * * *
The next morning, I said to Oscar, “If what you did yesterday is any indication of the boy you are, I can hardly wait to see the man you become.” His reply? “Stay tuned, Mom.”
How could I not?
Samantha Hines lives with her husband, three sons, two dogs, and cat in Newport, RI, and is a high school English teacher (twenty-two years and running). In the last two years, she has had published three articles in Adoptive Families magazine; and her blog, “My Three Sons” was named by Adoptive Families as one of the Top Twenty Adoption Blogs on the internet. Her family was featured on SixSeeds, an online philanthropic magazine, in November 2010; and she is currently working on turning her blog into a book. You can follow “My Three Sons” on Facebook and her blog at www.samanthahines.wordpress.com.