Happy Wednesday, everyone. Here’s the next installment of my story. I hope you enjoy it. (And I’ll have a regular, non-fiction post tomorrow or Friday).
~May 18, 2002~
“Thank you so much for helping me with this, Dad. I don’t think I could’ve done it on my own.” I stand back and look at the crib we’ve just built—well, that my dad’s just built; I mostly watched. The crib is the last piece of the nursery to be finished, so as soon as we get the packaging garbage out of the room, it’ll be ready. All we need now is a baby.
“Oh, it was nothing,” he replies gruffly. “There’s an awful lot of pink in here.” He’s looking at the pink and white striped wallpaper behind the crib, the pink dresser (with a pink and white elephant sitting on top, just waiting to be played with—or drooled on), and the white changing table with a pink pad on it.
“Well, she is a girl,” I tell him, “and I’ve always liked pink. I think it looks nice.”
“It does; it does. You did a nice job picking everything out.” My father’s quick to recant his criticism of the room. “It’s just a bit… pink for my taste.”
“That’s because you’re a boy, Dad.” I laugh.
“A boy. Right,” he mutters, chuckling. “Well, I should get going, Kates. I hate to build and run, but Samantha’s going to be up waiting for me.”
“She could have come, you know.” I cradle my protruding belly lovingly.
“Yeah, I know. She just worries that you’re upset that she’s somehow taken the place of your mom or something.”
“What? No, that’s silly. Dad, Mom died when I was two. I don’t even remember her. I hate that I don’t, but that’s just a fact. I’m not upset with you and Sam for pursuing an adult relationship. You did a fabulous job raising me; now it’s your turn to live again.”
“You’re wise beyond your years, Katie. You’re going to make a great mom to that little girl.”
I blush and look down at my stomach. “Thank you, Dad. That really means a lot to me to hear you say that.”
“I mean it. I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t think it was true—even if you are my daughter.” I lift my eyes to meet his again and see that his eyes are twinkling.
“I love you, Dad.”
Now it’s his turn to blush. I don’t see that side of him often, but it does come out occasionally. “Yeah, yeah. Love you, too, Kates.”
I take a step toward him and wrap my arms around him, feeling much more like a seven year old child than a twenty-three year old married woman. In the comfort of my father’s arms, tears spring to my eyes. I just want my daughter to have this same feeling with her father one day. She will, I tell myself. Joshua is coming home.
~July 2, 2002~
Your due date is getting close, right? I know I can’t be there for any of the major milestones, but I desperately want to be as much a part of the process as I can, considering the distance. We haven’t ‘talked’ about names yet. Do you have any ideas?
I miss you. I can’t wait to get home to see you again and meet our daughter. We’re over halfway done at this point!
I love you. More than my own life.
Like every other letter Joshua sends, I read this one over and over again, folding and unfolding it until the paper’s nearly torn. I always write back to him within an hour of receiving his letter, sending my letters the same day his arrive. He always signs his letters the same, and they’re the most romantic five words in the English language. More than my own life. He loves me more than he loves his own life. It’s humbling.
This time is no different; I scrawl out a response, replying to his question. I only hope that he receives my response and can get a letter back to me before the baby’s born.
Yeah, the due date’s coming up in about 7 weeks. It’s amazing how quickly the time has flown while seeming slow at the same time. The pregnancy part of my life seems like it’s only just begun, and yet is almost over, but the time without you is like a year for every day.
I want you to be a big part of the process, too. I was thinking maybe we could name the baby Jasmine, after my mom, if you don’t have any objections to that. Is there a family name on your side you’d like to see for the middle name?
I miss you, too! I’m so glad the time is over half over. I just pray that you don’t have to go again—at least not for as long.
I love you,
~July 23, 2002~
I love the idea of naming her Jasmine for your mother. That’s the most thoughtful name I can imagine. My mother’s grandmother was named Mae; I’ve always been partial to that name. What do you think? Jasmine Mae Bennett? I think it has a nice ring to it.
I love you. More than my own life.
Jasmine Mae… Jasmine Mae… It’s a beautiful name, and I can’t wait to greet her.
Volume four will be up next week, and the week after that, this story will conclude.