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Episode 640: Peace on Earth

Justine marveled at her little girl’s ability to whip around the ice with ease while she, a grown up, wobbled with every stride. She supposed it helped that Tansy had been on these skating outings since she was old enough to stand on her own two feet. It helped to start young, whereas Justine hadn’t even laced on skates until her first Christmas with Quent.

Unlike her family, who barely acknowledged the season - she and her siblings had to beg for a tree most years, if not provide their own - Quent’s family went all out, indulging in every tradition and cliché.

Justine enjoyed it to a degree through Quentin and Tansy’s eyes, but more often than not, she felt out of place with his family, and it wasn’t just because she hadn’t grown up with their customs, or really any at all. The family did a bang up job of making her feel inferior. Like Quent’s mom and sister, skating nearby, commiserating over how horrible it was that the outdoor rink wasn’t teaming with Quent’s offspring, he just had the one child.

Justine couldn’t be sure whether they knew she’d overheard, or if they meant her to take the remark to heart, but she did. Fortunately, she managed to skate over to a corner bench in the shadows without incident. Unfortunately, her husband quickly joined her.

"I don’t want to talk," she told him.

"How many kids we do or do not have is none of their business."

But it was Quentin’s business. He’d said several times of late that he’d like to expand their family. Justine washed her gloved hands over her jaw. "Maybe my dad was right. Maybe I shouldn’t have married into a family with a barefoot and pregnant mentality. That’s not me." She faced Quent with tears in her eyes. "I love Tansy with everything in my heart. If we were blessed to have another baby, I’d feel the same way about him or her, too. But I’m wired to need other things, too."

"I know." Quent touched her cheek. "I try to be a good husband, but I can’t be perfect, I screwed up here. I think you were right, I think I’ve been pushing the baby thing to derail your career. I’m still having moments where your ambitious side scares me, I don’t know if that’s my upbringing or yours… maybe a little of both, anyway, I’m sorry. You kind of lost your way for a while after Tansy was born. I don’t want you or any of us to feel that again. If that means we won’t have another baby, then we won’t and I’ll be okay with that, I’ll be okay with anything as long as you’re okay."

Episode 641: It's Christmas Time Again

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