Terri lowered herself and the baby into the porch swing. The aged wood and the heavy metal chains creaked under her weight and she held her breath until she was sure the shrill noise wouldn’t disturb the bundle sleeping in her arms. She put the swing into motion with a kick of her foot and lifted her face to the cool October breeze. Bird song and the smell of burning leaves from some somewhere up the street mingled in the air. A puff of wind brought a fresh shower of leaves dancing to the ground. If Steve doesn’t get the rake out soon we’ll be buried alive. She tucked the blanket a little tighter and shifted the baby to her shoulder. “I can’t believe it’s already time for Halloween.” She rubbed her cheek against the downy hair of her son. “I can’t believe that this time next year you’ll be old enough to go trick or treating with Bobbie.”
Her bubble of solitude burst as Iris and Samantha slammed out the front door, arms loaded with an assortment of items Terry couldn’t readily identify. She frowned at them over the baby’s head.
Iris dropped her load on the porch and helped Samantha empty her arms. “Go get the pumpkin.” Sam went back into the house and Iris looked at Terry. “Sorry, did we wake him up?”
“No. What are you girls up to?”
“We’re going to decorate the porch for Halloween. I saw this cool idea on the computer. We carved a pumpkin and we’re going stand a dummy in this big planter and use the pumpkin for his head. Then on Halloween night we’re going to use Dad’s walkie talkies to make the dummy talk to the kids when they come up on the porch. We’ll scare the little goblins spitless.
Don’t worry, Mom. We’ll take it easy on the little guys, we’ll save the best moans and screams for the bigger kids.”
The baby squirmed on her shoulder and lifted his head to stare at Terry with clear blue eyes. “Well, I guess I’ve had all the peace and quiet I’m going to get.” She started to stand.
“Don’t go in. You guys can supervise. It’ll be good practice for when he’s old enough to plot with us.
Terry turned the baby around so that he could watch his sisters work. She settled back into the swing content to be surrounded by the family she’d always dreamed of having.