It was early morning in the winter of 1961. The moon was full and bright and the stars still glistened in the dark sky. Through the window of a small post-war bungalow, a dim light silhouetted a man on the edge of his bed pulling on his socks. There was a quiet peace in the room as he stood and moved about, getting ready for work. When he was fully dressed, he gazed out the window. It had snowed. He would have to shovel the driveway before he left.
The man’s name was Leo. He was tall and muscular with a broad chin and red hair that was receding with age and slicked straight back. Priding himself on his grooming as was the style of most professionals of his day, he wore a crisply starched white shirt, black tie and charcoal grey dress pants. He was an instructor at a commercial trade school in Toronto. Peering out the window he heard the shifting and movement of blankets behind him.
“Leo,” murmured a groggy, soft voice from the darkness.
He turned and saw the moonlit features of a beautiful woman, hair mussed and eyes sleepily looking at him. She smiled warmly and sat up in the bed.
“Good morning,” he replied as he leaned over to give her a gentle kiss on her full lips.
“I had another dream!” She paused then stated, “Let me write it down first before I forget.” She reached to the night table beside her bed for a pen and leather bound book and began to write. Leo waited patiently while she scribbled and mouthed the words she wrote.
“It was wonderful and amazing. Yet at the same time it was a little disturbing, now that I think of it,” she whispered as she looked into his eyes. “It was about the baby again!”
“Really?” said Leo.
She began describing the dream.
“I was in a beautiful wooded area waiting by a small pool of water bordered by grass. I was dipping my foot in and out of the water, just waiting. For what, I don’t know but I was waiting for someone or something to happen. Suddenly a radiant light shone through the trees and the person who was the source of that light approached me in blinding brilliance. I bowed my head because it was so overwhelming. He called my name and at that I was able to look up at him. He was tall and very masculine. He wore a white robe and was holding a baby in his hands. I could not see his face clearly because of the brightness around it. He called my name again, ‘Candice’. It was so beautiful the way he said it. It was so enchanting! Then he spoke,
“Candice, evil has engulfed the earth and the time has come
for Satan to rule the earth with his false prophet.
Satan has entered the Church to destroy it.
In the days ahead, what is evil will become good and what is good will become evil.
This child will confront Satan, the ancient Serpent.
He will fight for God.
Pray for him, Candice, for disruptive and trying times are ahead.
When you see two Bishops in white, know that the Beast will step forth from the shadows.
One Bishop will be betrayed and one will be slain.
Many will follow the way of Peter and deny my divinity,
while others will follow Judas and betray me. Few will
follow the way of the Apostle John to the cross.
Do not despair, for My light shines brightest in the dark.
The reign of the Antichrist has been prepared.
This child and My people will stand to end his reign.
When all seems lost, my covenant will be fulfilled!”
“It’s very moving, Leo! This is the third one like this. I wasn’t afraid when he spoke to me, I felt so special and the child was so beautiful. I held him in my arms. As I gazed into the baby’s eyes, I awoke and saw you standing by the window.
Leo lay down on the bed, disturbed by what his wife had just said. He rested his head on the pillow next to his wife. Not knowing what else to say, Leo smiled as he whispered, “That would mean the baby is a boy?”
“Yes, another boy, and remember his name is to be Ryan. That’s what the first two dreams said.”
Candice looked at Leo and sensed his sadness. “I’m sorry Leo. I know how badly you’d like a girl after having all these boys!”
“It’s okay,” Leo spoke. “Since he’s going to fight against evil, I guess I can excuse you on this one!” They both laughed as Leo rose. “I better get going, or I won’t have time to shovel the driveway.”
Leo paused. “He said he would fight for God. Does that mean he’ll be a priest?I wonder if
he’ll be like a saint and help me around the house?” he pondered. “These boys, I can’t get them to do anything!”
“They’re kids, Leo!”
“So? When I was their age, I was up at four in the morning feeding the cows and chickens and bringing in the wood for the stove,” recalled Leo.
“Well, we don’t have cows and chickens, and no one has wood stoves any more. We don’t live on a farm!”
“You know what I mean,” Leo replied. “They need to help out around the house.”
Ignoring Leo’s remark, Candice spoke dreamily.
“I wonder if he’ll be like Lawrence of Arabia. Do you remember the movie, Leo? He was a man of destiny and so good looking too!”
“Okay, let’s not get carried away!” Leo replied. “It was a dream.”
“But it was so real, Leo! Realer than real!”
Leo rolled his eyes while shaking his head,
“Realer than real…did the man in the white robe mention this superman would be helping his dad around the house, or will he be too busy saving the world?”
“Okay, okay, aren’t you the funny one!” Candice said. “Go shovel your driveway. God just told me we’re going to have a great son and all you can think about is whether he’ll help you around the house!”
They smiled at each other and then laughed at how silly they sounded. Leo leaned down, kissed his wife on both cheeks softly and then slowly whispered, “I’m happy for you – for us. This is just strange, that’s all. Life seems so difficult and there are so many bad things going on – so much unrest. There’s Communism and the Cold War, the BOMB! It’s good to know that God is still watching over us. I’ve been wondering if things will be okay. Your dream gives me hope.”
Candice quietly nodded and smiled in agreement.
Leo said goodbye to Candice and moved down the narrow hallway, past the boys’ rooms as they quietly slept. Leo loved the early mornings. There was always a peacefulness as he made his way through the dimly lit house. He put on his overshoes, heavy coat and gloves and proceeded to the door.
He peered out as he turned on the outside light. Snow blanketed the driveway and softened the edges of the front stairs and walkway. Leo went out and started the car, turning the defroster and fan on full blast. Then he shut the car door and reached for the shovel.
Within fifteen minutes, he was finished and back in the toasty warm car ready to go. Headlights on, he backed out of the driveway and drove quietly down the dark, early morning road.
Leo thought about his wife’s dream. It disturbed him. The reign of the Antichrist! His son would confront Satan! There would be two Popes? Unbelievable!”
“That’s some destiny!” Leo smiled. “My son the kickass!”
As Leo mused over his son’s potential, when suddenly, sadness came over him and a question came to his mind.
“What about me? What about my destiny?”
He’d had a full life thus far. He had accomplished many things and was proud of his achievements. He thought about his life, his family, the death of his brother in the war, working to provide Candice and the kids with a home of their own. Is this it?” he thought. “Here I am, fifty years old. I have six kids and another on the way.” He thought about his retirement. What weighed so heavily on his mind was that he only had a few thousand dollars in the bank, not quite enough to retire on. How was he going to retire?
He had listened to all his friends talking about their retirement savings. His job only provided a small pension plan and he sure didn’t have any money left over on payday to start a second one.
“What is your plan for me, God?” he whispered. “Am I destined to a life of just getting by?”
Leo drove down the street listening to the silence in the darkness of the morning.
“God, I’ll need a miracle,” he sighed. “I mean a real miracle! I’ve never needed a real miracle before. Do you still do miracles?”
As he reached the top of the hill that overlooked the surrounding neighbourhoods, dawn began to break. Pinkish clouds surrounded the rising sun as it peeked over the horizon and its warmth flooded the car. As Leo marvelled at its beauty, his worrisome thoughts faded away.
The school bell rang. It was October of 1968.
“Okay class,” Sister Eva said, “Time for recess!”
As the kids clamoured out the door, Sister Eva asked Ryan if he would help her clean off the chalkboard. Ryan agreed with a smile since he liked Sister Eva very much. He was a quiet, happy-go-lucky boy. His dark hair was short and wavy. He had fine, soft features. His deep blue eyes were circled by dark smudges and his nose was usually runny, which meant he sniffed a lot. He was a scrawny but cheerful six year old.
He watched as Sister Eva stretched up high to clean the board. She was a beautiful, slim woman of Italian descent. Her habit was long and black, and her hair was covered with a black veil fronted with a white band. She looked over at Ryan and smiled as she wiped, and Ryan joined her. When they were finished, Sister Eva bent down to look Ryan in the eye.
“You’re doing very well with your arithmetic, Ryan and you are one of the best artists in the class.”
Ryan beamed happily.
“Thank you for helping me clean the board,” she said. “You can go out and join your friends now.”
“You’re welcome, Sister!” he said as he hurried off.
Once outside, Ryan scanned the playground. It was noisy with the sound of hundreds of kids talking, screaming, laughing and playing.
“Where are my friends?” he wondered.
At that moment Marky, ran up to him.
“Hi Marky!” Ryan replied.
“Did you hear about Pierre Laporte?” Marky questioned.
“No,” answered Ryan.
“Pierre Laporte, who was kidnapped, his sister’s kids go to our school!”
“What do you mean...kidnapped?” asked Ryan.
“Some men took him away and won’t let him go!” answered Marky.
“Really?” exclaimed Ryan. “Why would they do that?”
“I don’t know, but they called in the army!”
“The army! Wow.”
“He's very important,” Marky continued, “and lives in Quebec and if they don’t pay millions of dollars, they are going to kill him!”
“Really? That’s really bad,” frowned Ryan. “Does Joey know?”
“I don’t know.”
“Let’s go tell him!”
The two boys looked around and spotted Joey in the corner of the playground with Mike and Kevin. Ryan and his friend raced each other to reach Joey.
“Hey Joey!” Ryan shouted, “Watcha doing?”
“Shhh!” Joey hushed and then smiled gleefully as he whispered, “We’re looking for the finger!”
An eerie silence came over Marky and Ryan as they gazed at each other.
“The finger?” they spoke together.
“One of the grade eight boys lost his finger yesterday climbing over this fence!”
“What?” Ryan whispered.
“Shhh!” Joey hissed once again.
“Mr. Leduc told us to stay away from this area of the fence. So be quiet or he’ll come over and tell us to get out of here.”
“So what are we doing here?” Ryan asked.
“Nobody's found it yet!”
The boys’ eyes widened as they all turned to look behind them and then moved closer to the fence.
“Where was he when he lost his finger?” asked Ryan.
“They say he was just by the corner of the fence, so it must be around here somewhere.”
As they grabbed the metal fence, each boy peered through, looking at the ground for any sign of the errant finger.
Just then a voice, thick with a French accent, yelled.
“Okay, boys, get away from that fence! I told you before, do not look for the finger! Go and play. Forget what happened to Michael. Learn from the mistakes of Michael. This is what happens when you climb the fence when you’re not supposed to climb the fence. Go! Go!”
Mr. Leduc gently grabbed Joey, moving him and the other boys away from the corner.
“Aw,” the boys moaned.
“Come,” Mr. Leduc insisted, “go now!”
Ryan took one last long look for the finger hoping to spot something and claim the prize, but there was nothing to see.
“You too, Ryan!” Mr. Leduc exclaimed.
Ryan slowly stood up then ran to catch up with the other boys.
“We can check after school,” Joey whispered, “nobody can stop us then!”
They were all excited by the thought of having another chance to search for the missing finger.
They made their way to the other side of the school yard.
“Hey, Joey. Did you hear about Pierre Laporte?” asked Marky.
“Yeah,” Joey replied.
“I can’t believe it,” said Ryan, “a real live kidnapping! Do you think they will pay the money?”
“No!” Joey replied, “Don’t you know? You never pay the money! The police will have to find him before they kill him. That is…if he’s not dead already!”
They all stopped. None of them had considered that. Ryan then thought about how scary the whole situation was. It saddened him and he felt bad for the Laporte family. What if someone from his family had been kidnapped? That would be horrible.
“I hope the police catch the kidnappers!” Ryan concluded. “I hope they catch them and throw them in jail!”
“No! They should shoot them!” exclaimed Joey. “Shoot them with machine guns!”
“No, bazookas!” Marky yelled.
“Yeah, yeah!” they all agreed as the bell rang to end recess. They made their way to their lines to go back into school.
As the kids hung up their coats and removed their boots just outside the classroom, Joey noticed a tall man in a black suit talking to Sister Eva.
“Looks like we have a visitor,” Joey whispered to Ryan.
Ryan peered past Joey to see who he was talking about.
“That’s the priest from church,” Ryan stated. “My mom and dad talk to him. I wonder why he’s here?”
The kids made their way to their seats staring at the tall stranger talking to Sister Eva as they passed by.
“Hello class! We have a special guest joining us today. His name is Father Samuel.”
“Hello everyone!” greeted Father Samuel.
“Hello Father Samuel,” replied the children loudly.
“Father Samuel is going to talk to you a bit then tell you a story! Would you like that?” Sister Eva asked.
“Yes!” the children exclaimed.
“Well then Father, the class is all yours!” said Sister Eva as she walked down the side of the class and leaded against a table beside the window, smiling and looking on as Father Samuel began to speak.
“Well class, as Sister Eva said, I’m a priest. Does anyone know what a priest does?”
All the kids raised their hands. Father pointed to Billy.
“The priest says the Mass.”
“That’s right! Is that all?”
Father pointed to Susan.
“The priest is like Jesus?”
Father laughed and said, “Well we try to be, but aren’t we all supposed to be like Jesus?”
“Yes!” the kids replied.
Sister Eva stood smiling, pleased with how her class was answering Father’s questions.
“Well, now that we know we all have to be like Jesus, I’m going to tell you a very special story about another very important person from the Bible! Would you like that?” Father asked.
“Yes!” all the kids exclaimed once again.
“I’m going to tell you about King David. Now, there are many stories about King David. My favourite one is the one about David and Goliath. Have any of you heard of the story of David and Goliath?” asked Father.
“No!” they replied. So Father proceeded to tell the story of David and Goliath.
“A long time ago, the Jewish people were up against a great army and from this army came a giant named Goliath. He fearlessly approached the Jewish armies and challenged them by saying if one of them would defeat him in a fight, then his people would serve them, but if Goliath won the fight the Jews would have to serve his people, the Philistines. The Jewish soldiers were terrified of the size of Goliath and none of them would even think of challenging him. The king promised great riches as well as his daughter’s hand in marriage to anyone who would defeat Goliath, but no one volunteered.
One day David, the youngest son of Jesse, was sent to the battle to bring back news of his older brothers. While at the battle lines, David heard Goliath’s daily challenge to the Jews and he saw the fear of the soldiers within the camp. David asked why no one would fight him. The soldiers reported David’s questions to King Saul and the king summoned David to him. When David was in the presence of the King he told the king, ‘Let no one be discouraged by Goliath for I will fight him.’ The king told David that he could not go and fight Goliath because he was just a boy and Goliath had been a warrior since his birth.”
Ryan looked over at Joey when the priest mentioned David was just a boy, but Joey was glued to every word the priest was saying. Ryan turned back to listen to the priest.
“David explained that when a lion or bear would snatch one of his sheep back home he would have to kill it to get his sheep back. "I have killed a lion and a bear,” said David. “And the same will happen to the Philistine for having challenged the people of God."
Saul, the King, agreed to let David champion the people. David picked up a stick and five stones and put them in a sling and went out to meet Goliath. Goliath laughed when he saw David and made fun of him saying, "You’re a boy! Am I a dog? You have come here to play fetch with a stick?"
The children laughed at what Goliath had said. Then Father Samuel continued with what David said to Goliath.
"You come to me with sword, spear and a shield, but I come to you in the name of God and his armies who you have challenged. Today, God will deliver you into my hands and will defeat you."
At this, David ran out to meet Goliath and with his sling in hand whirling about his head he slung the stones with all his might towards Goliath. The stones hit and penetrated Goliath’s forehead and he fell forward to the ground dead. David was triumphant!”
Surprise appeared on all the children’s faces as Father continued.
“When the Philistines saw that Goliath their champion was dead, they ran away. Then King Saul called for David and rewarded him with many riches and his Daughter’s hand in marriage and put him in charge of all his armies.”
Father Samuel gently closed the book then looked up at the kids, then said,
The kids were all impressed with David’s victory over Goliath even though he was only a boy.
“Did you enjoy the story?” the priest asked.
“Yes!” agreed all the children with smiles of amazement on their faces.
“Did you learn anything from this story?”
All were quiet. Then Ryan raised his hand.
“Yes,” motioned the priest.
“If God is on your side, you have nothing to fear. Not even against a giant!”
“That’s right,” said the priest. “When God is with you, you have nothing to fear. What’s your name?”
“Very good, Ryan. Thank you!”
Father Samuel looked over at Sister Eva and she took her cue.
“That was a wonderful story Father Samuel!” she said as she stood. “Now I want you all to thank Father Samuel for coming to visit and telling us the story of David and Goliath.”
“Thank you, Father Samuel!” exclaimed all the children happily. At that point the school bell rang and it was time for the children to go home.
Ryan and Joey both stood up enthralled by the story they had just heard. They felt they could take on the world. As they got ready to leave, Ryan said goodbye to his friends and made his way home, forgetting about the lost finger and the kidnapping, thinking only of David’s courage in his fight against Goliath.
Chapter 3: The Voice of Hope
Candice lay quietly in the dark. She could hear the shower running in the bathroom across the hall and knew Leo had not yet left for work. She said a quiet prayer and then moved from her heavy warm blankets towards the closet. She covered herself with her favourite housecoat - one Leo had given her last Christmas. It was a soft satin, with luxuriant hues of blue, gold and black. Though they were not well off, Candice felt rich wearing this stylish robe.
She made her way down the dark hallway, past the bathroom. A band of light from beneath the door made it easy to see where she was going. She turned on the kitchen light, revealing clean and tidy counter tops. Leo had already started the coffee percolating and the aroma of fresh coffee filled the air.
Her intention was to join her husband for breakfast. This was something she rarely did, since Leo routinely left at six, long before she and the boys rose to start their day. She began preparing a dozen eggs, some for Leo’s breakfast and the remainder for egg salad sandwiches for the boys’ lunches.
Candice loved her boys. She had always loved children and had hoped that someday she would have a large family. She was raised in a small town north of Toronto, where her parents owned a large farm. She had a much older brother, whom she loved dearly, and many aunts, uncles and cousins. She had had a wonderful childhood on the farm and there had always been lots to do and see and great places to play, but she had been lonely too and quite shy. When she had spent time with larger families, she envied the close relationships siblings seemed to enjoy because they always had someone to play with. It was because of this that her wish for a large family developed at such a young age.
When she left home at the age of sixteen to live with her Aunt and Uncle in the town of Hearst in Northern Ontario, her life began to bloom. She became more independent and met a wonderful girl named Jane who would become her best friend.
They had so much fun together. Jane was much more outgoing than her shy friend, but as they grew closer, Candice started to break out of her timid shell.
When they turned nineteen, they had saved enough money to take the bus out west. The long ride carried them across half the country, though for two young women who had barely traveled a few hundred miles during their entire lives, the hours and miles made it seem they were crossing the whole of Canada, if not the entire world.
When they arrived in Edmonton, Alberta, they each secured positions as nannies. They both worked in the same neighbourhood. Candice worked for a doctor and Jane a lawyer. It was the best of times for the two girls. During the day they cared for children, something they both loved. During their free time they hung out in the local malt shops and went to church dances on the weekends. There were no two happier girls around.
Now, with ten children and a wonderful husband, she was happy with how her life had turned out and smiled as she prepared the eggs.
Candice was draining the pot of hard-boiled eggs when Leo came into the kitchen. He smiled to see Candice, not only because he would be having her unexpected company, but because he was running late and wouldn’t have to skip breakfast.
“How come you’re up so early?” Leo asked as he came up behind Candice and held her closely.
“I don’t know,” she replied with a smile. “I just woke up and wasn’t tired, so I thought I’d join you for breakfast. I do kinda like you, you know!”
“That’s good to hear,” laughed Leo.
“I also have to go to the post office today. There’s a package there for me,” she said as she turned to face him.
“So, who sent you a package?” Leo asked pushing his nose up to Candice’s.
“I think it’s from Jane. It’s probably a gift for my birthday.”
As the two kissed, the toast popped.
“I’ll get that,” Leo said, pulling away from Candice.
Candice peeled the eggs while Leo buttered the toast and dropped two more slices of bread in the toaster.
“So how is Jane?” Leo asked.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Candice replied. “The last letter I got, she was so sad. She had just gotten a job at the Vancouver Hospital and George kept coming by to visit her, all drunk. She was so embarrassed. Each time she had to get permission from the head nurse to leave and take him home. After the third time, her boss was not so understanding and threatened her by reminding her it was a hospital and she expected her staff to be there when she needed them, not babysitting grown men.”
“I feel so bad for her. She’s so good and George is ruining her life with his drinking. I hope she has good news this time. She’s my best friend and I can’t believe her life is turning out so bad,” Candice said sadly.
There was a long pause. Leo then rose and hugged Candice. There was nothing he could say. He knew and loved Jane, but he had never liked George. To him, George was a “Good time Charlie” running away from his responsibilities. Leo felt sad for Jane, but he also knew she caused her own problems by making excuses for George, often blaming his sad and abusive childhood for his poor behaviour. He knew she would learn eventually, but at what cost? How much could she put up with before she realized his lying and drinking were killing both her and their marriage? Leo hoped Jane would someday realize that she deserved better.
After breakfast, Leo left for work and Candice got the sandwiches made for the boy’s lunches. The boy’s ages ranged from one to eighteen. She would always joke that she was trying for a girl, but deep down Candice had the family of her dreams. She loved all her boys and her love was returned a hundredfold. Of course, not everyone shared her thoughts and dreams. She lived in a time when big families were less common, smaller was the norm. There was a lot of demand for women to be independent, but Candice felt her lot in life was the right one for her. Though she didn’t work outside the home, she was very capable and strong. This independent thinking enabled her to withstand the disguised criticism others made about her for having so many kids.
Leo came from a family of seventeen children. His father was a farmer and politician from a small coastal town in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The women in Leo’s family often questioned Candice’s dreams of having so many children. They believed her outdated thinking would be burdensome to Leo and subject both him and his family to a life of poverty. Candice knew it was difficult for Leo, but Leo always assured her that he supported her and he defended her to his sisters, saying they were meddling in affairs that were none of their concern. The number of children they had was their business and nobody else’s.
Candice understood their concern. Eight years ago, after the sixth child was born, she thought maybe she should stop. She prayed about it every day for four months and then a Toronto newspaper telephoned her asking if they could do a story on the family for the Life Section. The newspaper article was such a positive experience and such a supportive moment in her life, she took this as a good sign. It was not long afterwards that another family in Brantford had their sixth girl. The Newspaper did another article, publishing side-by-side photographs of the two families and outlining the amazing coincidence. Candice and Leo were so proud! Twice they were in the paper for having a large family.
Candice believed this positive attention was the answer to her prayers encouraging her to have more children. A large family was not a foolish yearning.
Her dream, when she was pregnant with Ryan, had been so beautiful that now when she thought about it, it only firmed her resolve to ignore Leo’s sisters and the others who discouraged her.
The boys woke one by one, Thomas first, for he was the early riser of the ten children. He was the athlete of the family and had to get to early hockey practice at his school where he was one of the star players. Sean, Dylan and Adam were next, while Connor was close behind. Though he was the eldest, Connor’s classes didn’t start until later. Danny and Ryan were next, while James, Aaron and Liam, the three youngest, were up even though none of them had started school yet. Each greeted their mother with a “Morning, Mom!”
Breakfast usually consisted of one of three choices - toast, browned in the oven then layered with peanut butter and jam, porridge cooked in a huge pot and then topped with brown sugar, or cold cereal with skim milk made from powder. The kids would all gather around the large table – each knowing their spot. Those who forgot were sternly reminded by the “rightful” owner of that particular chair. After each one ate, they went to their rooms to get dressed and then returned to the kitchen to pick up their lunches. At the back door was a jumble of shoes and boots and each child rummaged through the pile until he found his. Within half an hour they were gone and Candice was left with the three little ones, James, Aaron and Liam, who were watching their favorite TV program, ‘Rocket Ship Seven.’
Wasting no time, she collected clothes from each room and began the laundry. She washed and dried the dishes, then called her friend and neighbour, Sheila, who agreed to watch the three little ones. She then showered, quickly did her hair and make-up and waited for Sheila. Not only was she looking forward to getting out and having some time to herself, but she was anxious to get Jane’s letter.
There was a knock and Candice opened the door to welcome her short, slender friend.
“Hi, Candice! Sorry I’m late. Rocky made a mess and I couldn’t leave until it was all cleaned up. I really can’t believe how un-house trained he is! I sometimes think he’s doing it on purpose because I’ve neglected him in some way. He’s quite a complex creature,” she laughed, talking about her dog.
“Hi, boys!” Sheila said as she peeked into the living room.
“Hi Sheila!” exclaimed the boys in unison.
“There’s coffee on the stove and just help yourself to whatever else you want. Make yourself at home. I should be no more than an hour.”
“Thank you, Candice!” Sheila graciously replied. “Don’t worry about anything. I’ll have everything under control while you’re gone.”
“Thanks again Sheila! Bye boys, I’m going!” Candice shouted, “Come give mommy a kiss!”
The three boys got up and ran to the door.
“Where are you going, Mom!” they cried, “Can we come?”
“I’m going to the post office and, no, you can’t come. Sheila is here to take care of you and I want you to promise me you’ll behave and help Sheila take care of Liam….do you promise?”
“We promise Mom, we promise! But how come we can’t come? We never get to go anywhere!”
Candice and Sheila looked at each other, rolling their eyes and Sheila smiled at the boys.
“Hey, you boys! Do you want to play a game?” Sheila asked, reaching into her bag to pull out a colourful box. “Have you ever played Twister?”
The diversion worked, and Sheila winked at Candice, silently assuring her she had everything under control. Candice hugged Sheila and closed the door behind her saying good-bye.