After dinner Grant and his family left with promises of stopping by soon. Don, who was exhausted, excused himself for bed taking over the guest room. Although Maureen and John were just as much if not more tired they decided to stay up and watch a movie with their children relishing finally being able to hold them close. The five Robinsons cuddled up on the couch, Will on his moms left, Penny in the middle of her parents, and Judy on her dads right. The kids picked some new movie that had just come out which they were very excited for, but John and Maureen hardly payed attention. They both enjoyed watching their children more than the movie.
About halfway through the movie Judy looked over and noticed both of her parents fast asleep. She smiled to herself at the sight given that less than an hour before her parents insisted that they were fine to stay up. She really didn’t want to wake them, but she also knew that they were in desperate need of some proper sleep in a real bed.
“Mom, Dad” she said gently giving her father a small shake while Will did the same to their mom.
Judy regretted her choice almost immediately as both their eyes frantically shot open looking for danger.
”Whoah, it’s ok, everything is fine but you two should go to bed.”
John and Maureen nodded in understanding once they had gotten their bearings, and began making their way upstairs. The kids showed them where everything was including their rather big master bedroom.
The first thing Maureen noticed about her room was that it was untouched. A pang went through her heart at the fact that her kids had kept it in pristine condition all these years hoping one day they would come back.
“Let us know if you need anything.” Penny said rather awkwardly before saying goodnight. Will and Judy followed suite before retreating to their own rooms.
Once the door was closed Maureen turned around to find John looking around with an odd expression on his face.
“I feel like a guest in my own home.” He said quietly. “Like it’s our kids home and we are just guests here.”
Maureen knew what he meant. As much as she tried to pretend like everything was normal, none of it was. For the first time in her life she didn’t know what role to play in her kid’s lives. Judy was all grown up and working at her dream job, the only reason she hadn’t moved out yet was to take care of her younger siblings. Penny was engaged and she knew it wouldn’t be long before her and Vijay began searching for a place of their own. Which then left Will. He was still just sixteen, yet he’d already been through more than most people do in their entire lives.
“I don’t know what type of parent I’m supposed to be anymore.” Maureen admitted solemnly.
“Hey look at me.” John said coming over to cup both sides of Maureen’s face, staring into her eyes lovingly, “We just have to be there for them, in whatever way they need. They’ve been without us for three years so things are bound to be different but it doesn’t mean that they won’t still need us.”
Part of Maureen wondered if he was trying to convince himself as much as he was her but she nodded anyway. “You’re right. Let’s go to bed.”
Maureen climbed into bed and immediately settled into Johns arms just like she had for the past three years, but this time it felt different. This time she could close her eyes and sleep without the worry of waking up to impending doom.
The next morning Judy found that she was the first one awake, though she wasn’t surprised as Penny had never been a morning person and Will, being a teenage boy, could sleep until well after noon if he wanted to. Judy was surprised however to hear Don come down the stairs not long after her.
“What are you doing awake so early?”
“I could ask the same of you Dr. Robinson?”
“Having to work overnights means my sleep schedule is basically nonexistent so I take whatever sleep I can get.”
“How is that by the way?”
“Work? It’s good, I’m in the emergency room so every shift is different. Sometimes it’s really slow, other times I don’t get a chance to sit for twelve hours. But I like it.”
“Saving lives in every galaxy in the universe are we?”
Judy just chuckled in response, “so what was it really like all those years stuck on that Jupiter. Anything happen that I should know about?”
“Oh you know the usual, just some fighting with alien robots, a few near death experiences here and there.”
“Don I’m serious.”
Dons faced softened at her words, “I know you are but nothing worse happened than what you’ve already experienced.”
“What about my parents, did anything happen to them I should know about?” Judy asked curiously.
“Shouldn’t you be asking them that yourself?”
Judy just gave him a pointed look that said, ‘you know as well as I do that they wouldn’t tell me even if it did’.
“Ok you’re right.” Don admitted. “They had a few close calls themselves, all of us did, but none of that even came close to the pain they felt after being separated from you and your siblings. I wish I had parents that loved me like that.”
Judys eyes welled up in tears at Dons statement both for her parents sake and his. Don could see Judy was getting visibly upset so he decided to switch the subject.
“So what was it like having your biological father back?”
A strange look Don couldn’t identify washed over Judys face, “it was strange... I don’t think either of us knew how to act when I told him who I was. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so awkward if I didn’t already have a dad. There’s no rule book on how to act when the father you thought was dead for twenty years is suddenly not. I guess we kinda just got into a routine these past few years though, with Grant and his family stopping by often. It took some of the pressure off of me to act like a parent to Penny and Will. But now that you guys are back I’m more lost than ever. I don’t want my dad to think that I like Grant better or that I think of Grant as my real father because as wonderful as he’s been these last few years he didn’t raise me. But I also don’t want Grant to think I love John more.” Judy physically cringed at having to distinguish which father she was talking about. “See even just calling him John feels wrong but I don’t want to hurt Grants feelings if I don’t call him dad too.”
Don took a second to process Judys ramblings. “It might be a tricky situation for sure but if there’s one thing I’ve seen it’s that both John and Grant love you very much, and who you choose to call dad and who you don’t won’t change that. Maybe it will be awkward for a little while but just like you did before you’ll fall into a routine and it will become your new normal. And Judy if you ever need to talk about it you know you can come to me.”
“Thanks Don.” Judy said before leaning in and giving him a hug which he easily reciprocated.
What neither Don or Judy realized was that John had been standing at the top of the stairs listening to the entire conversation.