Wrigley ran to the door to let her friend Shay in. “You’re just in time for dinner, but after we eat we can play in my room, where no brothers are allowed.” Shay giggled as Wrigley’s brother stuck his tongue out at his little sister.
Wrigley and Shay ran into the kitchen. “Mom, Shay and I want to pretend we're sisters today. Is that okay?”
Mom looked over at Shay and smiled,"If she wants to be a part of our goofy family she can, after all with a name like Shay, she certainly fits in.”
Camden rolled his eyes. “Mom and Dad like baseball. I’m named after Camden Yards, that’s where Dad’s favorite team plays in Baltimore. Wrigley is named after the field where the Cubs play in Chicago, and after chewing gum.” He dipped his head and sniggered.
“It doesn’t bother me anymore when people call me ‘Chewing Gum’, ever since Mom gave me packs of gum to keep in my bag. If someone starts teasing me I just offer them a stick of gum and then they don’t know what to say.”
Shay giggled, “I remember when Bobby was teasing you and you gave him a piece of gum, then he got in trouble for chewing gum in class.” Wrigley and Camden laughed, too. “How do I fit into the family? We don’t watch baseball.”
Camden let his jaw flop down. “You mean your parents don’t force you to watch baseball? Hear that, Dad?”
Dad ruffled Camden’s hair. “You love baseball and you know it. But to answer your question, Shay, Shea Stadium used to be where the New York Mets played. A few years ago the Mets built a new stadium, but Shea Stadium will always be remembered as a classic.”
Mom motioned for everyone to sit down at the table. “Wrigley, I think it’s your turn to pray.” Shay looked around and saw everyone else bowing their heads and closing their eyes; she quickly did the same. When she heard the word Amen she peeked and saw that it was okay to look up. Mrs. Fielding smiled and nodded at Shay, and then she started passing the food around the table.
Shay looked around the table. “Do you guys always eat together? We just grab a plate and watch TV. My mom eats in her bedroom. I don’t think we’ve ever all sat down at the same table before.”
Wrigley turned to her friend, “You get to watch TV when you eat? That’s a great…”
Mom quickly interceded. “It might work for Shay’s family, but here we like to eat together and talk. It’s a time to learn about what happened in school or answer any questions someone might have.”
Camden turned to his parents, “I have a question.” Mom and Dad both nodded. “When we we’re explaining to Shay about our names, it made me think. Weren’t you guys worried that we’d be picked on because we have weird names?”
Mom and Dad exchanged a look. They had that special way of communicating without talking. “We did think about it. But we know that kids get teased about everything; you’ve said kids teased you because of your teeth, right?"
Camden’s face turned red. “But you got me braces so now they’re straight and nobody says anything. Plus it was just Danny who ever really teased me. Once you told me to laugh with him and not get upset,then he stopped teasing me.”
Dad nodded."That’s what we figured. Kids could tease you because your teeth were a little crooked, or because Wrigley has red hair or because your names are different. The important thing is to decide if it’s something you don’t like about yourself. If it’s something you can’t change like your freckles, then you need to think of a way to get people to stop teasing you. Look how Mom and Wrigley figured out the idea about the gum. The important thing to remember is we’re all different. The world would be boring if everyone was the same."
Shay looked at the table, everyone was eating and smiling. It seemed this family worked out problems together. “I think I’m going to ask my mom if we can start eating at the table. This is cooler than watching TV.”
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