All Grown Up

All GrowN uP!

based on characters created by Arlene Klasky, Gá¡bor Csupá³, and Paul Germain

Yucaipa, California…the office of Dr. Susanna Carmichael…

The slim and attractive woman sat almost serenely in the easy chair, her long brown legs curled up underneath her.

“So, have you told them yet? I know it can’t be easy, even if you do have Lil’s support and encouragement.” Dr. Carmichael smiled and used her ‘therapist’ voice as Leslie sat in the chair opposite hers.

“I know. They’re so traditional, and I really worry about hurting them, you know?” Leslie pulled a hankie from her sleeve and dabbed her eyes. She was dressed simply, with a gold silk blouse, black pencil skirt, black pumps with low heels and a chocolate cardigan. Her clothes were a near match to her sister Lillian, who walked in a moment later and sat down. Lillian’s blouse was pewter and her sweater charcoal, but the design was identical, which certainly suited them as twin sisters.

“Hi, Lil…I think we might discuss yours and Leslie’s plans regarding talking to your parents.”

“I’m not looking forward to it at all, and I’m just there for support. I can’t imagine what Leslie is going through.” Actually, Leslie and Lillian were so close as twins that they often could predict what the other might say on any given subject. But they did have their decided differences. While they very closely resembled each other, they were fraternal twins. And they had decidedly different tastes in partners.

“Will Tommy be there?” Dr. Carmichael smiled again. She was relieved over the group of folks who surrounded Leslie. Often her patients were left with little or no support from for major life issues, and their major decisions regarding family communication were arrived at slowly and with much effort.

“He’s still in Portland; the film should have wrapped up Thursday, but they wanted to change the establishing shot, and the rain just wouldn’t hold off. They finished this afternoon, so he should be home for the fireworks.” Leslie put her head down; she was always the ‘emotional’ twin of the two; quick to cry, but very sensitive and receptive to the needs of others. Lillian, on the other hand, while still caring, was the practical of the two.

“Thing is, it’s so crazy. It’s like they both forgot what we were all about when we were little. It's not like Leslie's news will come as a big surprise, even if she has been away and out of state for the past year. The thing is; maybe they’re getting conservative in their old age, but it seems like everything they used to be in favor of they’re not sure of any more, if you go by what they say. Daddy is always shouting at the TV, and Mom just keeps quiet!’

“Well, you have to admit, it was hard enough for them when Lillian here married Charlie and she converted, right? And to a rabbi of all people.” Dr. Carmichael smiled and laughed softly.

“Jeez, Sue…I know it was hard, but it’s not the same. All they know of Tommy other than when we were kids is that he’s been my best friend since we hooked up after I graduated from Stanford. If they knew what I had planned, they would have major conniptions, and Howard isn’t what you’d call hale and hearty.”

“I think he and Betty are stronger than you give them credit for. Either way, you don’t have any choice from where I sit, unless you intend on avoiding them for the next twenty or so years.” Lillian nodded slowly but stopped as she noticed Leslie had bowed her head.

“Oh, honey, it’s going to be alright. You watch, you and Tommy are going to walk right in there with me and Charlie, and together we’ll be able to win them over.” Not quite Corsican, but Lillian and Leslie did share a bond that kept them attune to each other.

“I know from my theories class that it’s not a good idea for a therapist to share too much of themselves, but we are related.” Lillian leaned closer and grinned almost apologetically, but Susan had anticipated her question; their question, actually.

“Oh gosh…maybe not as unusual as your dilemma, but still pretty hairy. Mommy was all set to see Daddy walk me down the aisle, and when Angie and I got married it was a justice of the peace and a quick ceremony in Spokane, while we were on vacation. I left home their darling daughter, and I came back their lesbian child with a Jewish American Princess for a husband.” She laughed softly at the last word. Maybe their marriage wasn’t traditional, but it was a marriage. Truth be told, roles were entirely fluid and flexible, and on any given weekend it might be her that assumed ‘husbandly’ duties as well.

“Angie’s mom and dad had a cow….but they finally came around when Angie lost the baby. She was so broken by the whole thing.” Susan bowed her head; the pain of losing their first child still hurt like a knife through the heart even after six years and a two year old daughter. She looked at Lillian.

“Your Charlie was so helpful; he brought so much comfort without trying to be all and do all. I think it’s really what brought her back to her faith, and surely gave me hope as well...why I converted."

“So they’re alright with your relationship?” Lillian asked, turning to Leslie and hoping that Susan had the answer they sought.”

“Well, between the time Elizabeth died and now, they’ve had a real change of heart. I think they finally realized that they only felt bad because they wanted to see the best for me. But when they walked into the hospital room and saw Angie holding their granddaughter, they finally came around. Our family is a traditional family if by traditional you mean parents who love their child and love each other with all their heart.” She tilted her head slightly and blinked out a tear.

“Once they understand that your relationship with Tommy is no different in nearly every way with Lillian’s and Charlie’s. And everybody is different, which almost makes everybody the same.

“I…I know.” Leslie stammered. “But we’re so much different than you two and light years away from the kind of relationship Lillian has with Charlie. I mean, come on. They're still reeling from the news I brought home with me." She looked down at herself awkwardly.

"Oh, Susan, I wish things were different. There are days I wish I never fell in love with Tommy. I can’t put him or his family through this, but my heart will just break if Mommy and Daddy turn us away.”

“Honey…you have to have faith….I just know Daddy and Mommy will come around. How could they turn their back on you?

“From your mouth to God’s ears!” Susan smiled once again. A few minutes later a soft knock came at the door.

“Is that who I think it is?” Lillian said playfully, and a moment later the door opened, revealing a tall blond woman with a little girl standing at the doorway; both wore big smiles. Angelika and Judith Carmichael walked into the office. The little girl hopped into Lillian’s lap and gave her a hug.

“Mommy and Aunt Dede send their love, Sue.” The woman kissed her partner on the cheek before turning to face Lillian and Leslie. Leslie put her head down at the mention of her future mother in law.

“It’s okay, honey. I have all the faith in the world that you’ll be okay! After all, if a loving god can work a truly remarkable miracle like bringing us together, how much more can we expect something as easy as you and Tommy? He’s a great guy, no matter what happens, but I really think his parents and your parents will love you both. Sheyesh lakh emunah!"

"Amen, Ken Yehi Ratzon" Lillian nodded. Judith looked up at Lillian and then over to Angie before finally saying,

"Amen, Momma...Amen, Mommy!

* * * * *

A few months later...

From the San Bernadino County Sun -


Howard and Elizabeth DeVille
have the honour of announcing
the marriage of their daughter
Leslie Rachael
Mr. Thomas Malcolm Pickles
Sunday, the ninth of June
Congregation Beth Shalom
Corona, California

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