Not yet a year old, and Ginger proved herself an expert manipulator – screaming every time mom turned her attention to the older siblings.
"Shhh!!!" Victoria held a finger over her lips, addressing the baby. Ginger giggled and added more food to the smear around her mouth.
"Mommy, but I don't want to go to school today," Phillip groaned.
"Me neither," Roxy, Phillip's twin sister, agreed.
Victoria gathered a breath, straightened their backpacks, and then knelt to their level.
"Hey, look at me. Mommy loves you both – so much! Now, listen. You two watch out for each other today – you're first-graders, and that means a whole new set of challenges."
Roxy asked with a pouty face, "Will there be recess?"
Victoria smiled and reassured them both, "Yes, of course. Now, we've got to hurry, or we'll miss the bus."
Ginger rode on her mommy's hip as they pushed back through the door. Victoria trapped the phone between her shoulder and ear.
"Yes, Ron, I'll be there today. Who is this guy again?"
"His name is Ben Roberts," Victoria's editor, Ron McCormick reminded. "They guy's a coaching legend. Get this - he's the all-time leader in wins for high school coaches in the country."
Victoria herded toys with a foot and corralled them in the corner of her new apartment. She switched Ginger to the opposite hip and rearranged the phone.
"Okay, but tell me again why we're doing this?"
"Well, his granddaughter reached out to us – said he wanted to share his wisdom to help the coaching community. It's a perfect piece for our publication."