“So Zoë what do you want for Christmas?”
“A puppy,” my daughter responded mater-of-factly.
Clare glanced at me, a smile in her eyes. “Why don’t you ask Santa?” I suggested with a chuckle, setting down a piece of chocolate pie in front of my daughter.
Zoë picked up her fork. “I wanna ask you and Mommy for a puppy,” she told me. “I’m already asking Santa for a pony.”
I swallowed hard.
Later that night, after all the guests had gone, well almost anyway, I confronted my wife about my daughter’s Christmas requests. She just grinned at me and slid down under the comforter next to me. Clare found my hand under the bedding and pulled it out, holding my fingers tightly. “What are you smiling evilly about, Mrs. Hanson?” I asked her, narrowing my eyes suspiciously. “Do you know something I don’t know?”
Clare laughed, “no babe.” She sighed and brought my hand to her stomach. “I just want to inform you of something.”
“What’s that?” I questioned.
She turned her head towards me. “My back hurts.”
“Well then,” I said pulling one of my pillows I was leaning on out from behind my back, “lean forward.” She did what she was told and I put my pillow behind her lower back. “Better?” I asked leaning back against the remaining pillows. “Is that all you wanted to inform me of?”
“Not all of it,” she said, smiling sweetly. I could feel the movements of our babies through her stomach. “Tay, I know with the new babies we might have to cut back on some spending.”
“Oo financial issues,” I joked moving farther up in my sitting position to turn on the reading lights above our heads.
“Tay, I’m serious.”
“So am I.”
“Listen, Taylor, the fact is that as your wife I own half of our bank account.”
“Of course you do-”
“And let me know if I’m overstepping my boundaries here,” she joked, “but I know you and money, Taylor, and I know how you don’t throw our money around. You never have and I know you never will. Even when you were a kid you never threw around money. You worked hard, put some in the bank and used the rest for your family and when I came around you used some on me. A lot on me actually.” She chuckled softly. “There is another thing I know Jordan, I know we are not poor nor are we middle class. Taylor, we can afford to support two more children and buy all four of them everything they want in the world and have money left over to spare. We never say the words Tay, but it’s true: we are rich.”
“I know that,” I muttered softly. “I could stop working now and still get four kids through college.”
“We could buy land and build a mansion if we wanted to,” Clare went on. “With pools with decorative tiling, and conservatories in the house, and maids, and chauffeurs, but the fact is that we don’t.” She leaned over and kissed my cheek, keeping her hand on my chin lightly. “We don’t, Taylor, because you and I both know that those things wouldn’t make us happy. I’ve heard the story about how the only time your family splurged was to buy a much needed house, with more than three bedrooms for seven kids and two parents.”
“Build,” I corrected, taking her hand off my chin. I patted her hand and smiled. “We built, not bought.”
“The fact is Tay that I think it would be a really good idea if we get the kids a pet.”
“Like a dog?” I asked.
“Yes, and if Santa can get a horse for Daddy to board-”
I shook my head. “I don’t know about that one,” I told her. “I don’t want to spoil the kid.”
“Spoil the kid?” Clare asked, her voice becoming sharp with shock. “Taylor, we all know that your least favorite word is ‘no’!”
I grinned at her shock. I could practically read her mind. “You want a horse, don’t you?” Clare looked at her stomach. “Admit it!” I pressured. “You want a pony!”
My wife slid down so she was now lying down on the bed. She covered her face with her hands and nodded. “I do, I really, really, really do!”
I burst out into hysterics. “OK!” I told her through my laughter. “OK!” I patted her stomach and leaned over on my side. I leaned down close to her lips, “I’ll buy you your horse, but you have to share you know.”