“Can’t you two get along just for one day?” Lucille stood in the doorway of her sons’ room, listening to them argue. “I just want one day where you don’t fight.” She bit her lip, anger overflowing into despair. “Just. One. Day.”
She turned around, pausing at the top of the stairs. “You’re both grounded. Home after school every day for a week. Study group here only. Oh, and there’ll be a list of chores on the family board.”
“Dude, I don’t get why you can’t just agree with me for once,” Brantley sighed. “I’m going out to shoot some hoops.”
Neal grimaced. “That’s always your solution. One last jab at me and then leave.” His brother had stomped out of the room, and Neal’s words bounced back at him from the slammed door. He picked up his guitar and began to play. He didn’t like arguing with his brother, but Brantley could be so condescending. Not to mention the fact that he was better liked at school, was an “A” student, and didn’t fly off the handle at the least little thing.
Why couldn’t they at least have their own rooms? He hated their small home. As Neal strummed, his anger faded. It wasn’t their mom’s fault their dad had died in an accident when they were just toddlers.
Raising two kids alone wasn’t easy, Neal sighed. He knew his mom worked hard. She put in long hours at Peters Petals and Pods; she grew a garden to help offset the grocery bills; she went to every basketball game, every recital. She even worked Saturdays as the manager at the Farmers Market to make a few extra Simoleons to pay for Neil’s art lessons and Brantley’s league fees.
“Have you heard about Mother of the Year essay competition?” Vanessa Simmons asked Neal after school the next day. Neal hadn’t. “Tony told me about it, actually. Your mom has been like a mom to us, too.”
Neal smiled. He thought of how many times Vanessa and her siblings had hung out at his house after their mom passed away. His mom always smiled and welcomed them, even though four extra kids in their small home, along with most of the neighborhood, made it very crowded. In fact, a day rarely went by that there wasn’t a houseful of kids.
“Hey, Neal,” Brantley called from the kitchen, “Lori just told me about a contest sponsored by the merchants of Old Town and Magnolia Promenade.”
“Mother of the Year?” Neal asked; his brother nodded.
“We all think your mom should win,” Lori said, “and we all want to help!”
They worked hard on the essay, and their Simlish teacher, Mr. Kim, even gave them pointers.
“Boys, Mrs. Pancakes just stopped by to show me this.” Lucille held up the Willow Creek Gazette. “She said an essay about me was here.” The brothers exchanged nervous glances. “This is the sweetest thing you’ve done. I noticed you hadn’t been fighting lately, but this . . . .”
Brantley took the paper. Their essay was a third runner up. The prize? A spring floral bouquet of choice from Peters Petals and Pods. How ironic: Their mom could make a bouquet for herself.
“Who won?” Neal asked.
“Nancy Landgraab,” Lucille said. The boys rolled their eyes.
“The Landgraabs don’t even live in Willow Creek,” Neal grumbled. “They just own a home here.”
“That’s not the point, boys. It’s this beautiful essay.” She began crying. “Thank you for this. Your dad would be proud.”
“Enjoy your Ultimate Spa Package, Mrs. Peterson,” the spa’s owner greeted her. “When your sons and their friends came in to purchase a mani-pedi for you, we couldn’t help but express our appreciation.” Lucille began to object. “Your innovations at the Farmers Market to interest children in organic gardening, the program donating leftover produce to the food bank, your support of the arts and the sports programs–the list goes on.”
Serena Sinclair smiled. “Perhaps the biggest proof to us you are Willow Creek’s Mother of the Year is your sons.”
Lucille thanked her. She would savor this day–a whole day of beauty and relaxation!
“I’ve asked you a hundred times to pick up your gross clothes!”
“What about your sports equipment all over the place!”
Lucille sighed. Well, it was nice while it lasted.
“Sorry, Mom! I apologize,” the boys spoke in unison.
For this short story, I recreated the boys’ bedroom as shown in the Parenthood Game Pack trailer. I used BrazenLotus’ cc/mods for my farmers’ market. Rindle Rose, home to the Peterson’s, and the community lots shown and implied are available on the Gallery (ID: NicerHomesnLots). I really enjoy getting to know the families of Courtyard Lane.