Once and Again
One Step (Parent) Backward

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The Sixty-Minute Miracle

"Do something! Anything. Tell me it will all work out. Hold me!" Soliloquy Judy begs. Ew.

Sam ducks his head and doesn't say anything. "Yeah, I'm gonna..." Judy whispers, hooking her finger at the door. The bathroom door creaks open, and Jamian peeks around it. He looks at the floor to show us that he feels guilty. As well he should.

The next morning, Judy pops in the back door of Manning Manor and finds Lily at the counter with a newspaper and coffee. Lily is surprised to see Judy, and asks why she's not at the cabin. Before Judy can pour out her heart, the posse comes tearing through the kitchen, fighting over whom Eli will drop off first. Grace complains that she's already late to meet A.J. at the library, but Zoe and Jessie gripe that they'll be late for their movie if they don't go first. Eli settles it by saying he doesn't care who gets dropped off first, they just need to get going. Grace breaks free of the pack and circles back to ask Lily for her truck. Lily says no, she needs it. "For what?" Grace snits. Lily defensively says that she doesn't know. Grace thanks her sarcastically, and the brood finally heads out the back door. "Ah, listen to that," Lily says, savoring the silence. "I can just sit here and drink this coffee and read this newspaper like I'm an actual person," she says dreamily. She notices Judy's downcast expression and asks what's wrong. Judy glumly says she doesn't know.

Soliloquy Judy lays it out: "Okay, this is what was supposed to happen. I would get married in the spring of my thirty-first year in the rose garden at Lincoln Park. I would have one boy. And two years later, a girl. I would be a very interesting photographer who could juggle her career and kids with aplomb. And my husband would be...he would be...." Anyone but Sam Blue?

"I feel like my life is never going to start," Judy tells Lily. Which is sad, since she's already thirty-seven years into it. Lily asks her if this funk is about Jamian, and his disgusting little display all over the kitchen floor. My words, not hers. Judy says it's not Jamian, it's her. She claims to have no idea what she's doing, and wonders how she's ever going to "be a good mother if [she] can't handle someone else's adorable, annoying eleven-year-old son." Okay, the fact that she hasn't yet wrapped her hands around that adorable, annoying eleven-year-old kid's throat pretty much guarantees that she'll make a fine mother. Lily sets down her mug and tells Judy, "What you're trying to do is so much harder, believe me. It's just going to take time. It's not perfect -- it's messy." "And yet you do it so effortlessly," Judy pouts. Has she not watched a single episode? Lily tries to hide her pleasure by scoffing, "Is that what you think?" She levels with Judy: "If this is what you want, if being a parent is what you really want, this is what it's like. Plates fall down, you clean them up, you move on. It's not really as hard as it seems. You just have to give up...everything." Judy smiles, "Is that all?" Did I just switch channels? This show isn't exactly a showcase of self-sacrificing parenthood. Whatever, it seems to pacify Judy. Oh, wait, no it doesn't. She's crying again. Lily hops off her stool to put her arms around her, insisting that Judy will make a great mother when the time comes. She reminds her that she's "loving and caring and passionate." She promises that it'll "come naturally." Finally, Judy seems mollified.

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Once and Again

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