It would be the third time he's gone through it, and the sergeant felt prepared for anything.
Rugged, straight-forward and no-nonsense, he'd approach this change the way he had approached everything. He would follow his pattern and all would be perfect. According to plan. No wavering.
He took his two boys - ages four and two - to the neighbor's house. Two boys, to take after the old man. They'd be strong. Athletes perhaps. He'd been rigid with them, but curious about their crawling, walking and obtaining their own little personalities.
They'd be fine at the neighbor's there until this little mission was over.
Mission. It was a strange word to describe what was coming. The sergeant knew no other way to describe it, yet had the gut feeling the word would turn out to be a major understatement.
The drive to the hostpital would be only six miles and at shortly after eight o'clock at night, the traffic was about what could be expected.
He arrived at the hospital to find his wife had checked in and was in her room. It would be their third. Another boy. Would he be a quarterback? A first baseman? A soldier like his dad? Only time would tell, the sergeant supposed.
The sergeant would make sure his wife was comfortable. That's all he could do.
He had met Jane seven years before. Army guy and Army gal. Not long after, they would be married. Two years later, a son. Two years after, a son. It had been two years since the second had been born.
There wasn't much he could do; it would probably be a couple hours until she was ready. He wouldn't be there anyway. Too busy to go to coaching practice, not that Jane needed one or wanted one. She had her role down. Easy. Piece of cake. Well, maybe not that easy.
A phone call to the neighbor informed him that the boys had behaved and were tucked in bed. They had no idea why they were at the neighbors that night and they probably didn't care.
They would find out soon enough.
The sergeant sat at his wife's bedside, delivering the customary ice chips and words of encouragement. He was being the dutiful husband, though he feared he wasn't being of much help.
It was about a quarter to midnight when the doctor told him if he was going to leave the room, now was the time. A quick kiss to his wife's forehead - she seemed to dismiss it - and he went to the outer room to have a seat and wait.
For how long, he would not know.
He read through two copies of old Sports Illustrated magazines, and a cover story in Newsweek about the upcoming democratic primaries. The race looked somewhat interesting but, after reading, the sergeant concluded the senators from Iowa and Massachusetts didn't have much of a chance, and the governor from Arkansas would probably prevail over the former California governor, which would pit him against the republican incumbant president in the general election.
He was skimming an article on Bulgarian exports from the previous year when his wife's doctor stepped into the outer room. She informed him that everything had went perfectly, and that he could see his wife.
He eased into the room, not sure how lucid she may be. Surprisingly, she smiled at him and they shared a kiss and hug, only half in actual contact, but more than whole at the heart. They talked for a few moments, but she didn't tell him about his new little surprise.
The sergeant told his wife that he was just glad that everything worked out all right. He had some calls to make, but that could wait a bit.
The door to Jane's room glided open, a small cart of some kind being pushed by a 30-ish-year-old nurse with dark brown hair. The sergeant's wife smiled at her husband, gripped his hand and suggested he take a look.
He first counted. Ten and then another ten. All the toes and fingers seemed to be there. Add to that an adorable little smile and a pair of the biggest eyes he'd ever seen. All topped off with a cute little stocking hat in the color of pink.
Boys don't wear pink.
There must be some mistake!
He lightly rubbed the hat and looked at the nurse in confusion. She smiled, congratulating him on the birth of his beautiful baby daughter.
His eyes got wide.
He had barely considered the idea of having a daughter. They had asked not to know the gender of the baby. There was no need, as long as it would be healthy, and she was.
The sergeant became nervous. She was his child and he would love her, support her and protect her. Immediate thoughts of her teenage years flashed through his mind, most notably scenes of him on the front porch cocking a shotgun at some teenage boy desperately trying to race away. He allowed himself a chuckle at the thought, which quickly disappeared. One day this little thing was going to be a teenager! What had he gotten himself into?
He made the necessary calls as his wife got some necessary and well-earned rest. They had discussed some family names, names of friends and some others at random. Finally, Jane said had always liked one name in particular. She spoke it a few times. The sergeant agreed.
Through the day and into the next morning he was busy with more phone calls, but preoccupied with the thought of his new daughter. A girl. Imagine that. How could he ever prepare for this? He could only assume that his wife would handle all the details which come with a girl.
He told himself it wasn't that bad. After all, she was beautiful. The staff in the nursery fawned over her. Would that make her his little princess?
As the sergeant and his wife prepared to go home, a nurse brought in the little girl and placed her in her mothers arms. She doted on her perfect little bundle.
Her father approached them and asked his wife if she was ready. We are, she said.
He looked down and smiled at his daughter, touched the top of her head - the pink hat still on - and gently tussled her shoulder.
Then something happened.
Her lightly flailing arms moved up and down, as if she were running in place. The first one stopped. Then the second with her hand placed right on top of his.
For the first time, all his concerns, all the scenes from her as a teenager vanished. This precious little girl had captured his heart. It was at that moment when the gruff and rigid sergeant realized he would never be able to say no to her, no matter how hard he tried.
A tear of joy formed in his eye.
With a kiss to his wife and a smile on his face, he led them out to the car. It wasn't a long trip home, but he was in a hurry. A lot of friends and family were gathering at the house.
And he had a daughter to show off to them
- i'm Kassandra an oregon girl at heart. recent college graduate. heading off to law school in summer of 2014. my parents are both u.s. army veterans and continue to serve in the military in other capacities. i have four brothers (two older, two younger) and three sisters (all younger). i love each of them for both their individuality and their commitment to the example set by our parents. aside from my family, i have several friends who mean a great deal to me, one as much as my best friend from high school. she's my kindred spirit and i would do anything for her. i would also do anything for Julie, my roommate for three of my four years of college and my best friend; she's amazing and it's wonderful to have shared this experience with her. i'm extremely strong in academics and tend to think of things in analytical terms. i'm open and honest. note: i'm interested in receiving feedback on this blog, but i request that the comments pertain to the actual blog itself, and i do not approve anonymous comments.