Do Miracles Happen? Ch. 05byRabbitrunner91©
From that time, Barry never hid the fact he was 'hitting' on other women. He even bragged about his conquests, particularly if they were married. One day, after Andrew was 7 months, he came home early, threw some clothes into an old back pack, slung it over his shoulder and was gone. He'd said "I'm leaving," and disappeared, she never saw him again. Two months after, Claire had packed up the Suburban, took the children and headed west.
The waiter having taken our order earlier, brought our dinners, steaming hot and juicy steaks. We were quiet, slowly chewing our food. The sparkle had disappeared from her eyes while she spoke of her past. I was hoping to put it back, she deserved an enjoyable evening. We traded small talk after the meal, decided to forego desert and left the restaurant.
"The evening is still young."
"Bob, where are we going?"
"I don't know how to dance."
"You went to your High School Prom."
"Yes, but I couldn't dance. I don't know how."
"Good, then you can teach me."
"Bob!" she pleaded. "You're serious aren't you?"
"I certainly am. The last time I was on a dance floor was 6th grade music class."
I'd located a local establishment from browsing the phone book and we pulled into the parking lot. Entering, the band was playing from the stage and the floor was busy with couples, dancing to the tune. We found a table near the side wall and watched for a while.
"Come on." I extended my hand.
She accepted it and together we found a place by the edge of the crowd. I opened my arms and held her; together we swayed to the music. At first we were very conscious of our feet, but this passed and the mood swept over us. She was an exciting woman and I took pleasure in holding her.
The tunes changed to a faster beat and we changed the dance. It was more fun learning, we joked with each other and struck up a friendship with another couple. We traded partners a few times, but mostly Claire and I danced with each other.
Time sure flies when you're having fun. We were and it was.
The number of patrons was thinning when we slipped out the door. The wind took a chill and I wrapped her coat around her. "You interested in having some desert now?" I asked.
"I'd like that."
I found a place with late hours and we sat at a booth. She ordered the lemon meringue pie; I took the apple pie ala mode.
"Why did you plan this evening?'
"A couple reasons. You're tied to the children and need a break. I thought this would be something you'd like."
"Yes, I have, thank you. It's been most enjoyable. We made a fool of ourselves dancing, but it was lots of fun."
A pause settles over our conversation and I clean up the last of the pie.
And what?" I ask.
"You said there were two reasons for tonight."
"And the second reason?"
"I'm courting a beautiful woman who has three children I simply adore."
"Are you courting this woman, or because she has the three children?"
"I'd ask her out even if she didn't have any children."
"Thank you. That's the nicest thing anyone's said in a long time."
The trip home, in silence, was made without incident. Walking to the door, I stopped before turning the lock. "What now?" she asked.
"I'd like to kiss my date 'good night'."
Without hesitation she was in my arms, we embraced warmly. "You're correct, this could be contagious." And she kissed me again.
For three weeks we lived quietly, she cared for the children and I worked through the day, coming home evening to play with the kids. They'd come to expect it, and everyday we did something different.
The day for Andrew's procedure arrived; Sue gave me time off. I'd arranged for Maria to watch the older children while Claire and I took him to the hospital. He was prepped and we stayed with him till it was time, they put him under and we waited. The Cath would take an hour, the 'valve replacement' would be another three. To a mother, waiting for her child, this would be an eternity.
We waited through the first part, being told the findings by one of the attending doctors. The valve was calcified and had torn in two placed; this information had been expected and the surgery would correct the defects.
Claire was tense, tight; she was worried about her baby. "Come on," I encourage. "Let's walk."
Together we strolled through the halls of the hospital, took time to browse the gift shop, and visited the front lobby, watching folks as they passed. Time passed slowly and we talked.
"You should get a bite to eat." I persuaded
The hospital cafeteria was only for medical staff, but my connections allowed us in. I got her a coffee and a Danish, which she nibbled. Physically she was beside me, talking; but emotionally her heart was upstairs with Andrew. She was 'willing' the doctors to heal her son. She was praying he would be returned to her in full health. The love of a mother is strong; the love of this mother was extraordinary.
It was time and we returned to the waiting room, where we waited some more.
Twenty-five minutes later, Mark came through the door, Claire spotted him first and was on her feet in an flash.
"Andrew's fine. He's in Post-Op and will wake up shortly. Then he'll be moved to ICU and you can see him there. Everything went well, he should make a full recovery."
Claire put her hands to her face as tears coursed down her cheeks. She was happy, they were tears of joy. "When can I see him?"
"We'll call you when he's moved to ICU, maybe 30 minutes. He came through just fine."
"Thank you doctor. Thank you."
Mark turned and was gone. In a natural move, Claire turned towards me, stepped close and placed her hands on my chest. I enfolded her with my arms, she cried happily. It was 20 minutes and we were ushered into the ICU. He was being monitored closely, a tube down his throat, several from his stomach, and one sticking from his leg. His eyes were closed but the nurse said he was awake, Claire should talk to him.
Touching his arm she spoke his name and he responded to the sound of her voice, moving slightly. She kissed him gently on the forehead and whispered to him. I sat with them for a couple hours, Claire would be staying the night and I returned home.
Eight days later, she carried Andrew home. Aaron and Amy gathered round to view their brother, they had to be gentle. He wasn't able to walk or crawl, his incision would heal but it would be weeks before he regained his strength. Claire gently laid him on the floor, with blankets to prevent him from rolling. He cried from the discomfort but settled down when given a bottle.
I was busy putting our coats into the closet, Claire was sorting Andrew's clothes, she stood and I turned, she was right there. Our eyes meet, her lips are in a smile. We were so close and it was natural for me to reach for her waist and pull us together. We kiss. No, that's wrong, WE KISS.
Aaron sees us in the clinch and tugs on my trousers. "Bob, are you going to be my daddy?" Claire and I step back, laughing; my eyes meet hers briefly, before I kneel beside him.
"That's possible, Aaron. That's possible." I wrap my arms around his small frame and give him a fatherly embrace. Amy isn't to be left out and I use one arm for her. Right then, those kids become mine. There's no way in the world I'd let anything happen to them; and I want to be their father.
Speaking to them both, "Aaron, Amy, do you want me to be your new daddy?"
There's no hesitation; Aaron says 'Yes' and Amy shakes her head affirmatively.
"Well, for that to happen, your Momma has to say 'Yes' too. Do you think she will?"
Two tiny faces turn upwards and look at their Mom. I chose to watch the kids. She places her hand on my shoulder and squats beside me, looking at her children. "Tell Bob, 'Yes'. He can be your daddy."
Four tiny arms reach up to enfold me. Then her two arms encircle us all. Claire gave me a kiss on the cheek and whispered in my ear. "That was sneaky. Sneaky, but appreciated. Yes, I'll marry you."
My hands were full of two squirming kids and one lovely woman. We'd have stayed like this longer but Andrew was crying, he needed changed.
Day by day, Andrew regained his strength, weeks passed before he was comfortable on his tummy and it was longer, before he took to crawling again. The pain and discomfort on the sternum, where he'd been cut open, was a bit much. Both Claire and I rejoiced because his bouts of 'blue' fingers were gone; his skin brightened to a healthy pink.
She and I made plans to be married over Easter weekend. Andrew was walking by that time and getting into most things, as toddlers do. The older two were included in the ceremony and Claire was the most beautiful bride in town. Mark and his wife took care of the children while we were gone for a few days, but then, how many couples take their kids on a honeymoon? Returning, we settled into our apartment and Aaron, Amy, and Andrew became my children, and we couldn't have been happier.
Do Miracles Happen? Well, if you're ever driving through Denver, please stop by and visit. We'd be glad to set an extra place at the table. We'd tell you when God's Angels were busy, and He sent an ordinary man to rescue a damsel. Yes, we know miracles happen; we experienced one, and participated in it first hand.