“Eugene, that’s a great idea!” Madeleine absolutely loved the idea of using something fun like a shooting star to connect people who weren’t technically adopted on the tree. Maybe she could use a music staff for Dad and Abby because they both loved music? And for herself and Aaron, maybe… hmm. They both liked baking and charms, but she wasn’t sure how to draw those things in a line-y way. She would think about it while she finished adding all the other leaves and branches to her tree.
She drew a wavy line for Dad and Drew, but the paper straightened it out. Hmm. Madeleine didn’t want to confuse the paper, but she did want her family tree to be right. She tried a loopy, curly line, and then before the paper could straighten it out wrote adopted next to it, to explain. The paper transformed it into a dashed line, which Madeleine guessed meant that it got what she was trying to do, even though a curly line was much prettier to look at.
Eugene suddenly got so excited that it made Madeleine want to jump up too, but she was in the middle of writing Aaron Patrick McKindy above Jessie’s name, so she stayed in her seat to answer him. “I bet it’s not that hard,” Madeleine guessed, writing Vivienne in on the other side for Jessie. She didn’t know Miss Vivienne’s last name so she just put a smiley face after. “In Annie, Grace just goes and gets Annie from the orphanage. And in Matilda, Miss Honey and the Wormwoods just have to sign some papers. And in Oliver! there aren’t even any papers, he just gets to stay with Mr. Brownlow,” although that one was a little bit different because Mr. Brownlow was Oliver Twist’s great-uncle or grandfather or something. That probably made it easier.
Madeleine was starting to have a idea-feeling. It was like the idea-feeling you got when you were telling a story and you couldn’t think of the right word, even though you were so close you could taste it. But the more you tried to chase the word down, the more it disappeared, like playing tag with a diricawl. Madeleine decided to leave the idea alone so it would come home, like Bo Peep’s sheep.
“So I think as long as your dad agrees Jeb is your new dad, then it’s okay,” she predicted. “I don’t know how it works if he doesn’t say yes.” It was too important to decide with a game of stone-cloak-wand. Maybe you had to get a counselor to come over to your house and talk to everyone and decide who got to be the Official Parent. “Do you think they would just talk and decide together?”