Now, says Elizabeth, is there anything you'd like to say to him, or should I carry both sides of the conversation? Peter scritches behind Satchmo's ears and listens as Elizabeth and Neal get out a cutting board. I can't even fathom how folks do it with 3, 4, 8 kids. But my kids do bring me immeasurable joy. The card features an ink drawing of a cat batting a Christmas ornament hanging from the end of a branch, and it's only when Peter realizes that the generic message, Season's Greetings, wasn't printed by Hallmark but written by someone with an impeccable calligraphic script that he guesses that the entire card is Neal's personal handiwork. Neal's tense and so is Peter and Peter doesn't feel Neal relax, at all, which means that he can't either. And the career has been rough too. They look exhausted and frustrated most of the time, and are most willing to get away from their kids any chance they get.
He grumbled in a slight daze while opening his eyes as he in one swift movement, rolled on to his back then picked Agnes up, holding her over him. Far from trying to give Peter fewer heart attacks, Neal seems intent on giving him more. You'd never guess they could be so destructive! It flew out of Agnes' tiny hands and fell on to the floor with a thump followed by a loud cracking noise. And that special way he lays on my chest and presses his head up under my chin. I kept hearing You and everything.
Kate was playing a distraction. We can reheat some before I drop you off at June's. Pretty sure I know, Peter says dryly. What pops to mind first is that you'll have less time, less sleep, and less money. There's a split second before Neal settles on a reaction.
It was funny, you know, El and I had talked about kids, because it's something people ask you when you've just gotten married, and we didn't think it'd be for us. No, Elizabeth says thoughtfully, it's that I'm not obligated to mom him, but I will anyway. I was only 25 and becoming a mom forced me to grow up. It's your mom powers, Peter teases her. He appears to have reached a decision. I like to tell my three baby girls how much they've ruined my life and body while chain smoking at the kitchen table in a too small bathrobe with mismatched slippers and a bottle of whiskey in my lap, just like my momma and her momma before her. All right, Peter thinks, he knows Francis was a misstep.
I'm sorry she didn't--it didn't work out for you, going to see her. Are you happier than before they were born? Yeah, Peter echoes, falling in with this interpretation. It's probably Peter's fears on that score that make the words come out awkwardly when Peter pats Neal on the back and says, Good job. Parenting is the most challenging and rewarding job there is. Neal glares, because these things were no impediment when he put his mind to it and everyone knows it.
Neal says directly to Peter, Is that true? Every week for a year Coulton released a new song for free on his website as part of his Thing a Week podcast, on topics as diverse as vengeful nerds, self-loathing giant squid, partially-imagined historical figures, and devotees of a certain Swedish prefab furniture store. Peter sees a big difference between choices no one told him he had when he was young and choices--to commit crime--that Neal made with his eyes open. Peter is a little relieved to see that there's a sparkle in her eye at odds with the firm turn of her mouth. Two years ago, and hadn't seen so much as a sketch artist's rendering of Fairweather or Danvary then--if Peter laid eyes on him, he can't find the memory. Peter can't stop looking at this picture.
During Neal's interrogation, at Neal's trial when Peter's on the witness stand, when Neal's sentenced to four years in prison, Peter keeps expecting him to say something. She presses a kiss to his cheek because he's too lost in his own thoughts to catch a kiss on the lips. I wish you had talked to me, then, he says. He's got too much he's afraid of, too much he has to say. Peter talked to the mark after, but Nick's too smooth: there's nothing that can be done to recoup the mark's losses.
Over here, Neal answers, leading him to a booth half-hidden by a rack of potato chips. Oh my God, just hug or something, says Elizabeth. When I found out you existed, Peter repeats, reaching for other feeling words, I was mad at your mom--for not telling me years ago, for telling me the way she did-- How did she? Not to put a damper on things, 'cause I like the song and all, but the word runied is not enuciated enough. In addition to the above, I have compiled a list of things ruined by children. Peter takes a step or two and puts his hand on the back of Neal's chair. I'm not saying I don't wish things had been different, I'm saying--would you want to trade this? Maybe I could have grown the hell up if anyone had told me I was going to be a father. Took you long enough, Neal says to the alley wall with a breathy laugh, and Peter can't tell how much of a jibe it is, if he's talking about three years, four years, more.
The freeze ray is just a material item. He is best known for such compositions as Still Alive and Code Monkey, as well as his cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot's Baby Got Back. How much of a cliché would that be? Peter clears his throat and says, Yeah, Neal. Peter's so relieved Neal sees reason on this point that it takes him a second to feel bad about how disappointed Neal sounds. I still think you need to talk about your feelings more, Elizabeth opines. But there is a deep sense of fulfillment in life in having children.
We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. They pretty much ruin everything. Peter spares a moment to wonder how long Neal's been working this versus how fast the office grapevine transmits before he concedes to himself that the best policy is if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I can't think who I was before At some point, Gru was the best super villain around. Peter also tries to reward Neal for work well done. Peter starts up again mostly to hush the dog so he can hear.