Mother was a diamond—hopelessly & beautifully flawed.
Through Foster’s Diner, I’d had the extended family I’d longed for, but I hadn’t known until it was too late to know them as such.
David’s aunt & uncle were the family I never knew I had. He had never told me how special those people at the diner were. His love for Mother had kept them a secret from even me, but his love for them had kept them a secret from her.
There had been numerous incarnations of Beth & Gerald Foster, but their final incarnation had been of themselves—the adopted grandparents I had loved for themselves.
That was why they had seemed so familiar, for I had, in a way, grown up with them, even as they had watched me grow up.
The Fosters had come to Florida when I was nine. I’d met them as different people each year until I’d turned sixteen, when I had started accompanying David to the University. I never asked why they had never voiced a desire to see Caitlin. Maybe it was just that I was so much like their beloved, adopted son.
I held my aunt Beth’s hand in the hospital those early morning hours, thanking God for the grandparents I had never known I had, wishing all the time I had known, for I would have been able to encapsulate those precious moments I had spent at that roadside diner, never knowing how precious they really were.
I’d never seen Mother struggle with anything before, but she struggled to fit the mold of the Mormon wife, pouring herself into it, but never quite jelling, for the molds were all the same.
Our living room resembled a room in one of the Mormon temples—white & delightsome—a microcosm of the celestial kingdom.
I was 18, & the thought of moving into Maxwell Manor with Mother & David made me feel about 12 years old.