Empathy No. 009
07/13/02, Levitt living rm. 8:15 PM (approx)
LLOYD: First, I want to thank all of you for how helpful you've been today - no complaining, no fighting, I really appreciate that from all of you.
ALLISON: Well, we're not little kids, Dad. We can be responsible.
BROOKE: Yeah, I never fight with anyone anyway.
LLOYD: That's debatable, but my point is that you've all done your part to make this easy, and I appreciate that, and Ellie appreciates it, and Roderick appreciates it, I'm sure. Where is Roderick, anyway? In his room?
JASON: He's putting his books away. He has so many books, Dad.
BROOKE: I can go get him, if-
LLOYD: No, that's not necessary. Actually, I called you all together in part to talk about your new stepbrother. You're going to be spending a lot of time with him, and it'll be good for you to know...where he's from, so to speak.
ALLISON: We heard he's some kind of genius.
LLOYD: I don't know about that, but he is exceptionally bright, very accomplished, but also very sensitive. He had some problems at his old school - it's not important what happened, and you shouldn't go asking. The point is that, yes, there's going to be an adjustment period for all of us, but it's going to be a lot harder for Roderick.
JASON: So what do you need us to do?
LLOYD: Mostly, he's just going to need your understanding. You need to realize that if he doesn't want to talk, or he spends a lot of time by himself, he's not being rude, that's just how he is. We're all going to need to be patient until he's had a chance to get used to all of us. But Allison, he's going to be joining your class when school comes back, so you'll have some other responsibilities.
ALLISON: Yeah, I know, I have to show him and Jason around now.
LLOYD: There's that, and also just keep an eye out. Like I said, he's sensitive, very quiet, and if he has problems at school he might not talk about them. I don't need to get reports on him or anything, but let me or Ellie know if anything happens. Simple?
BROOKE: Can I ask something else?
LLOYD: Go ahead.
BROOKE: It's not about Roderick, it's...well, should we call Ellie "Mom"?
JASON: Yeah, I was wondering about that too.
LLOYD: Well, that's...really up to you. I can understand how that would be uncomfortable.
ALLISON: I'd feel funny about it. Mom hasn't been dead that long.
LLOYD: I know, that's perfectly understandable. Ellie is very understanding, she doesn't have a lot of expectations here. You can call her "Ellie" or "Eleanor" if you want, that's okay. Roderick probably isn't going to call me "Dad" and I don't expect it.
BROOKE: What happened to his real Dad?
ALLISON: Brooke, don't ask questions like that!
BROOKE: Why not? I'd tell him what happened to Mom!
ALLISON: You don't ask questions like that, it could hurt someone!
LLOYD: That's a good piece of advice, we don't ask questions where the answers might be sensitive. But because it came up, I'll tell you what Ellie told me: Roderick doesn't know his father, and that's another thing you shouldn't ask him about. Look, this shouldn't be difficult. You don't talk about family issues, when they're comfortable they might bring these things up but be careful until then. Understood?
JASON: So maybe we should only talk about really safe things?
LLOYD: And even then, be careful. Okay, so everyone knows what you're doing tomorrow, right?
ALLISON: I can keep them in line, dad.
LLOYD: Great. Okay, that's all I had to say. Remember the important word: Patience. We're all going to get along fine. I'm looking forward to it.