“Happy birthday, brother,” Lucas said and raised his glass.
Cameron was turning forty four a refused to have a party but his younger brother Lucas convinced him to at least go out, have a few drinks and play some pool.
Birthday was a sad time for Cameron every since his little sister Caitlin passed away all those years ago. She was eight years younger than him and they shared a birthday, which means she would be turning thirty six years old today. She’d most likely have a husband and children of her own. But she didn’t. Faith wanted it a different way.
“Thanks, Lucas,” Cameron took a sip of his drink and changed a subject, “so how are things going with your old lady?”
“Shut up, she’s not that old and things are going great, thank you for asking.” Lucas answered. He was used to his brother making fun of him for dating an older woman by now.
“She’s Carissa’s childhood friend,” Cameron laughed, “she’s at least fifty!”
“So what, age is just a number.”
“Well, she is still hot, I’ll give you that.” he patted Lucas’s shoulder, “let’s shoot some pool.”
Lucas met Sarah at one of Hailey’s fundraiser parties. They started talking and realized they have a lot in common. She was an elementary school teacher. She loved children, but couldn’t have any.
“Auntie Sarah!” Dakota yelled and ran over to give her a hug.
She would hang out at Lucas’s and Sarah’s house or spend time at her friend’s house after school instead of being home alone.
Sarah enjoyed having her over and Dakota had an adult to talk to.
“My parents never have time for me, they are always at work or busy doing stuff for work,” Dakota complained to her once.
It hurt her to hear that because she would give anything to have a daughter or son. She would give up work in a second if she had the opportunity to raise a child.
“I’m sorry, sweetie. But mom and dad love you very much.”
“So why do they never play with me?”
Sarah didn’t have an answer for that but she knew she’ll have to talk to Hailey, “I don’t know, but I’ll tell you what. Uncle Lucas will be home soon and we can all play some video games!”
“Sarah called me last night,” Hailey started when she was eating lunch with Cameron. They would sometimes meet on her lunch break and grab some food together.
“What did she want.”
“She said Dakota is really sad that we don’t have time for her, we don’t play with her.”
“Oh, so she’s telling us how to raise our child. What does she know.”
“Well, I think she might be right, Cam. Dakota is ten years old. We should spend time with her while she still wants us to. So I took a day off on Friday and we are all going to an amusement park.”
“I’d love to, but I can’t, I have to finish something.”
“Ok, so finish it by Thursday night, because we’re going. It’s a last day of school so it’s a perfect opportunity to do something with our daughter.”
“Fine, I’ll try to get it done.”
Her parents picked Dakota up after school and surprised her with a trip to the park. She got to play games, go on rides and she wasn’t the only one having a great time.
It was an amazing afternoon. What a better way to start off the summer vacation. She thought that maybe now her parents would make more time for her but she realized the very next day that this was just an exception.
“What are you doing, daddy?” Dakota sat at one of the chairs in front of Cameron’s desk in his office.
“I’m working, honey. What do you need?”
“Nothing, I’m just bored. Do you want to go to the pool with me?”
“I can’t Dakota. Why don’t you ride your bike to aunt Sarah. She’s a teacher, she doesn’t work in summer.”
“Hi, sweetie,” Sarah’s voice said on the other side of the line, “how’s your vacation so far?”
“Bad,” Dakota said sadly, “mom’s at work and daddy’s working on his computer. Can I come over?”
“Sure you can, we’ll do something fun.”
“Can I ask my friend Martha to come?”
“Of course. You be careful on the bike, ok? See you soon.”
I wish I could live with Sarah and uncle Lucas, Dakota thought on the way to pick up her friend, they always have time to play with me.
“Hi girls,” Sarah walked out of the house when she heard the door bell, “ready to have some fun? I’ll take you to the playground in the neighborhood. Jump in the car.”
“I just need to go pee,” Dakota said.
“Go ahead, we’ll be in the car. Right, Martha?” she turned to the other girl who just nodded.
Martha was shy and didn’t have many friends. Just Dakota. They knew each other since they were toddlers because she is Cameron’s best friend Jimmy’s daughter.
After hours of fun the girls were finally tired and wanted to go home. Sarah took them back to the house where their bikes were and fed them dinner.
“Sarah is the best auntie ever, uncle Lucas,” Dakota said before she left.
“I know, honey, she loves you.”
“Why don’t you have any babies?”
“It’s complicated. Auntie Sarah can’t have any.”
“But can’t you adopt one? We have a boy in my class and he didn’t have any parents so somebody took him and now they are his parents.”
“Maybe we will, sweetie. You’re a smart girl,” Lucas smiled at his niece, “You should really get going now, before it gets dark.”
“Bye, uncle Lucas.”