I just checked the alarm clock standing on the night stand, and it's not even seven yet. Never imagined that I would turn into a morning person. Seriously.
"What time is it?" Sarah murmurs next to me, rolling over and putting her arm across my waist.
Did she actually ask me what time it is? "What happened to your clock, Marine?" I ask, softly stroking her head. Saturday morning, and I don't have to do a single thing. Well, there's the buying a Christmas tree, but that's not a bad thing. That should be fun.
"Just tell me," she says.
I smile. "0659. We've got all the time in the world to get out of bed." Honestly, I don't want to, and the kids are going to come in soon, snuggling up with us for another hour or two, if we're really lucky. Sarah lets her breath out and buries her face in my neck. God, when did I get this blessed? Oh, I know when it happened, I just don't know if I totally deserve it.
Sarah drifts back to sleep in my arms, and I stare up the ceiling, thinking. Sometimes I find myself thinking of them like they're really my family. Our family. And I have to admit that the thought of adopting the kids has crossed my mind more then once, but for now, that's not practical. Don't ask me why I'm actually saying that, it just isn't.
Every once in a while, I can't remember what my life looked like three months ago. Without Sarah… well, without Sarah being so close to me as she is now, without the kids… It's amazing how quickly you adapt. I love to hear the kids' story when we pick them up from school, to see them smile. I love to cuddle up with them in the morning, I love feeding Shireen (yep, even the 0200 hours feeding) and I even love the wet kisses Noa gives me when she's off to bed or school. Or whenever she feels like it.
It's amazing to see their faces light up when Sarah and I serve breakfast on Saturday morning. To them, it's a spectacle. It's nothing special, all I do is flip the pancakes in the air, but their laughter and smiling faces make my whole day better.
About twenty minutes later, the door hesitatingly opens, and Gabe pops his head in. Ah, there we go. He ditched the nightmares, thankfully. After he'd seen his father again, he was up a couple of times a night, but they've reduced. Almost non-existent anymore. Silently, he makes his way over to the bed, Elmo clutched into his hand. He drags that stuffed animal everywhere.
"Hey, Tigger." My voice is still groggy, but then again, I've only been awake for twenty minutes. It's Noa's fault we call him that. We all knew that Tigger was his favorite figure, and Noa somehow picked up on that, because one day we were reading them a bedtime story, and she pointed at Gabe and said one thing. Tigger. When he hears my voice, his eyes lit up and he climbs up the bed. "Are you going to read me a story?"
"Aren't you going to say good morning?" I raise my eyebrow.
He giggles. "Good morning. Are you going to read me a story?"
"Did you bring your book?" I ask him.
Coming up empty handed, Gabe slides off the bed again. He's grown. A bit taller and a whole lot better looking. He's not as thin as he was, thankfully.
Sarah presses a kiss to my neck. "He gone again?"
"He'll be back," I say. "He forgot his book."
"Ah." For a while we lay there, waiting for Gabe to return. This is how we spent most of our mornings. Wrapped up in each others arms. We're always awake before the alarm goes off, and we'll just lay here awake, enjoying each other's company. Most of the time, not saying anything. Knowing that the other one is close is enough.
A little while later, Gabe comes back, but this time, Noa is with him. Clutching to her own stuffed Minnie Mouse. Gabe has brought his favorite book, I can tell. Saturday morning means that we'll read Shall we be friends?, Gabe's favorite, and The Little Mermaid, Noa's favorite.
I think I can come up with a reason why Gabe likes Shall we be friends? so much. It shows in a very simple way that in fact, everybody is alike, and should be treated equally. Even when someone is not being nice to another person.
They climb up and crawl over to us. "Daddy!" Noa dumps her little body right over me and I grunt.
"Did you really have to do that?"
I get a very wide smile in return. Right. I fell in love with those green eyes and now she has me wrapped around her little finger. And the worst thing is that I'm loving every minute of it.
"Mommy?" Gabe tries to wiggle his way in between us. Why does he always have to do that? I like this position.
"What is it, baby?" Sarah rolls over and rubs her eyes.
"Read to me?" He holds his book up. Finally, he has his wiggled his way in between us.
But before Sarah can start reading, (before we've positioned ourselves comfortable enough) we hear Shireen over the baby monitor. Sarah and I trade looks and I know what time of the day it is. My turn. I flip the covers back and make my way over to the nursery. "Good morning, little Princess. Are you hungry?" I ask, flipping on the lights and making my way over to her crib.
Apparently, she's more than hungry. She's in bad need of a diaper change. Well, I've been doing for a while now, so changing her diaper shouldn't take more then three minutes if I'm really lucky. This little worm is growing fast too. Seriously, when I think about how small she was when she was just born and how big she is now…
I change her diaper without too much fuss, and she looks at me with her big green eyes. The same eyes Noa has. Yep, I have to confess that she has me wrapped around her little finger too. I'm such a sap sometimes. If my mother could see me now… Well, not now, wearing just my boxers, but when I'm fully… Oh, never mind. So, we're done changing. Shireen looks a bit relieved. Yeah, I bet. If I were lying around in that stuff… brrr. Preferably not. I pick her up and take her downstairs to prep her bottle. She happily sucks on her own little fists, and keeps making all these sounds. She's such a sweetheart. Only cries when she's really hungry or when her diaper needs to be changed. I can only pray that when Sarah and I have kids, they'll be this easy…. When Sarah and I have kids? Where the hell did that come from, Hammer?
"I think I'm losing it a little here, Reen. Care to help me out?" I only get more sounds in return. Nope, she's not gonna help me out. On my way back upstairs I almost trip over Gabe's backpack. Sighing, I pick it up and hang it on the rack. I told him to clean it up… Almost dropped Reen. Phew, we're finally back upstairs. "Look who's awake!"
Sarah and the kids look up and they all smile. Blessed family life. Sar and I decided that a king's size bed was probably best, especially since the kids still had nightmares when we bought it. Now it's perfect because they spent Saturday and Sunday morning in it.
"Reen!" Gabe is always excited to see his little sister. When I get back under the covers (I realized that I should've thrown a T-shirt over my head when I got downstairs) he kisses her head. "Morning, Reen!"
"Want me to take her so you can read?" Sarah asks. God, she looks so beautiful. Even with slightly sleepy eyes and messed up hair, she's still the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.
I nod, and she takes Shireen over. Okay, I'm gonna throw that T-shirt over my head now anyway. Finally settling back under the covers, we're ready to start reading. Noa sitting in my lap, Gabe in between and Shireen lying with Sarah, we spent the next two hours reading, giggling and laughing.
Around nine, we decide to get all the kids washed and dressed. They've been showered last night (early discovery: shower the kids before they go to bed, it'll save you a lot of time in the morning) so all we need to do is brush teeth and get their faces cleaned up.
Half an hour later I walk down the stairs with an all cleaned up Gabe and Noa in my arms. "You guys want to watch cartoons while Sarah and I go get dressed?"
That's not a question I have to repeat. We don't let them watch a lot of TV, the thing is more turned off then on, but they can watch for half an hour while we get dressed. On my way back upstairs the doorbell rings. Yep, very glad that I decided on the T-shirt.
I open up the door with a wide grin on my face. A grin that doesn't even disappear when I look into my mother's eyes. It does disappear, however, when her eyes drift to the stairs behind me. When I said earlier that I wanted my mom to see me like this I didn't mean like this. Not with Sarah standing on the stairs, wearing nothing more then a dress shirt. A gray button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up that reaches down to her mid-thigh. Not with her wearing my shirt.
When I see my mother's look I know it. There will be no more Saturday morning with the kids, no more reading stories, no more talking to Shireen, no more admiring Sarah playing with Gabe and Noa. No more flipping pancakes in the air just to hear them laugh, no more waking up with Sarah in my arms.

I'm a dead man.

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