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Conversations with Characters - Mom

This week’s conversation is with Mom. The best way to find out how Mom and Francisco met is to give you a sneak peek at a conversation she has with Shauna at the beginning of Shauna’s book. I’ve pulled all the important dialogue out, but I’ll leave the rest of this conversation a mystery to find in the book. This conversation happens after Shauna and Brady get back from the brewery tour, where Shauna meets Micah. Shauna’s frustrated and storms through the backyard as to Mom’s house as soon as they get back.


Mom - What happened to get you frustrated?

Shauna - I’m frustrated because Brady will make out with me when it’s just us but ignores me any other time. He didn’t talk to me once we got to the brewery until he realized I was talking to someone else.

Mom - How a man treats you around other people tells you a lot more about how he feels about you than what he says or does when you’re alone.

Shauna - That’s spot-on; I need to remember that.

Mom - Yes, you do. And start judging the men in your life by how they treat you around their friends. If you’re a distraction from boredom, tell them to get lost. Here’s what I want you to do. Spend time with Brady the rest of the week he’s here. Get to know him. When he leaves, don’t reach out more than once and see if he reaches out to you. If Micah contacts you, give him a chance. If you don’t hear from either of them, move on. Don’t make a man a priority if he only considers you a sometimes. Put the ball in both their courts and let them chase you. A man is either all in or all out; there’s no in-between. If he’s going to make you a priority, he’ll do it from the start.

Shauna -“Speaking from experience?

Mom - From the day I met him, I knew that he was everything anyone would ever want. I didn’t think he’d be interested in me. I was short, overweight, timid, and much younger. He and Rocky were friends with my older brother, Julian. The first time I saw Francisco, I was fifteen, right in the middle of teenage acne and hormones. He was twenty-one, and I thought he was gorgeous. He was a little over six feet tall, which in my family makes you look like a giant. He had dark brown hair that was almost black, and his dark eyes matched his pupils. You couldn’t see where the iris ended, and the pupil began.

The first night he was at our house, he was there for my brother’s birthday dinner. It was mandatory that we all had one before we did anything with friends. Julian had invited Rocky and Francisco as his guests for dinner. Francisco walked in wearing dark jeans, a black cotton shirt, and a leather jacket. My mouth dropped. I was head over heels but knew nothing could come of it. I was the baby of the family and the only girl. I had five older brothers watching me like hawks. There was no dating boys my age, so there was no way they’d let me anywhere near someone six years older. Plus, he was gorgeous and could have any girl he wanted just by flashing his smile. He’d never be interested in me. Little did I know that Francisco had noticed me right away too, and according to him, the world stood still. He waited, and three years later, on my eighteenth birthday, he gave me the greatest birthday gift ever. He asked me out on a date, and we were inseparable from that day forward.


As your author, I have so many questions about your life with Francisco. You were so young when you met him, and there’s a pretty big age difference for being so young, but later in life, it’s not a huge difference. How long did you date before you got married?

He proposed on my 20th birthday, and we got married three months later.

This next question feels a little gross to want to know because as a parent to an only child, I hate the question. Why only Marco when it’s so obvious that you love your nephews as your own and you take in friends as your kids?

It’s threefold. First, I didn’t want to get married young and have kids from the start. I wanted to enjoy being married and having time just us for a year or two. I was 23 when Marco was born. We planned to try for another once he was two or three.

Second, a couple of months after Marco turned two, Jesse was born, and his mom lived with us from the start. We wanted to help with him until she was on her feet or until she and Jesse’s dad figured things out. We quickly realized this wasn’t going to turn out as a happily ever after for them and that neither wanted to be a parent. They would commit to taking him when it was convenient and worked with their schedules, but they never really committed to being a parent all the time. We decided that Jesse would be our second son. We wanted to be sure we always had space for him. It was important to us that he never felt unwanted or a burden.

CeeCee and Rocky felt the same way, and the only reason Jesse went between the houses was that all four of us wanted him. We always let him choose where he wanted to be and let him come and go between the two houses. I wanted him all of the time, and CeeCee wanted him all of the time. At first, we argued about it because we both thought he deserved one home to be his home full-time, and we both thought he should be in our home. Rocky and Francisco refused to fight over him and refused to let us continue to fight. They decided that it was better to have two homes where he was always wanted than a full-time home and an aunt at another home who felt like she had lost him. Most importantly, they didn’t want us ruining our friendship over what bedroom he slept in and who washed his laundry.

Third, when CeeCee got sick the first time, Tony and Jesse stayed with us when things were at their worst so she could focus on treatment and recovery. Essentially, four parents raised three boys between two houses, and eventually, we took in the friends.

Tell me your favorite Francisco memory.

That’s hard, but also easy. Hard because I have innumerable happy memories with him, and you’d love all the stories. Easy because this entire series started with one girl whose only memories of parents were people who walked out on her or didn’t care about her.

My favorite memory of Francisco was when Marco introduced us to Ricky and Jenna. Their dad had been gone for days, and they needed someplace safe to be until he was back because Joey and Shauna were out of town visiting grandparents for Thanksgiving week.

I went to work the next day, and Francisco was home with the kids. When I got home, I found the boys outside playing football in the yard. Jenna was in the house with Francisco cooking. She had told us at dinner the night before that she wished she could cook some easy things for them when their dad was gone. Francisco had spent the afternoon teaching Jenna how to cook all her favorite foods: tacos, cheese pizza, spaghetti, and garlic bread.

Later in the week, the boys wanted to take advantage of the break in the rain and cold to ride bikes. They asked Jenna to go with them, but she refused. Marco commented, “You never go when we ask but then get mad when we don’t ask. Pick one. Either come with us or don’t be mad when we don’t ask. You’re confusing, and it’s frustrating.”

After the boys left, Francisco found Jenna crying. When he asked her what was wrong, she said she didn’t go with the boys because she didn’t know how to ride a bike. She’d never had one. Ricky got one for his birthday the year before their mom left, but Jenna was still too little, and no one had ever realized she didn’t learn how. “I can’t tell them I don’t know how. It’s embarrassing. What twelve-year-old doesn’t know how to ride a bike?”

“One that’s never had a bike. Come on, let’s go. I’ll teach you. Then we can find the boys, and you can ride bikes too.”

I sat on the top step of the front patio and watched him teach her to ride a bike, and then she asked him if they could stay at the house instead of finding the boys because she always said no when they asked, not because she didn’t want to do something, but because she didn’t know how. Francisco spent the rest of the day teaching Jenna to throw the football, shoot baskets, and hit a baseball. Then she asked him to teach her how to swim once the weather was warm. He taught her that spring without needing to be reminded.

Final question, at least for this conversation, whose story are you most looking forward to in the series?

That’s too hard of a question because each story is so different. I could say Joey & Ally because theirs is the epic love story. It’s the one where were get all the rollercoaster emotions and all the ups and downs. It’s the one where we watch two people fall in love, try to make it work through all the challenges, and finally reach a breaking point. It’s also the one where we see that second-chances can happen and happily ever afters exist.

I could also say Tony’s because his story is dramatic and at times, frustrating. His may even have gaps where nothing is happening between them. That’s what happens when you meet someone so young. You have to fight to keep it as you grow and change.

I’m going to say it’s Shauna. Her story only unfolds the way it does because she learns that she deserves more than she’s had in the past, and she learns only to accept someone who makes her a priority. Plus, their story is fun. They’re wild and adventurous. They love each other fully and completely in a way neither has experienced before.

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