From the moment JR found out he was going to be a Daddy, he dreamed of having a boy to teach about super heroes and sports and all things "boy". Luckily for him, Oli was a boy... and Athan too! When we found out we were having a girl this time, we started walking up and down the aisles of "girl toys" when we went to the store, instead of looking only at "boy toys" and then quickly scurrying away from the girl aisles, like we used to do. "What," he asked me one day, "do you do with girl toys?" I laughed at the look of apprehension and confusion on his face. "It's really not much different than boy toys, except girl toys don't fight. They play and dance and have tea parties." "Tea parties?" he asked, as if this was the craziest idea ever. "Yes, babe, tea parties."
Ever since we found out about Jillian's heart defect, and especially since the "official" diagnosis, I've had trouble sleeping. I'll wake up in the middle of the night and usually won't fall back to sleep for a good 2-4 hours. I spend that time thinking over the millions of things I feel like I need to get done, the "what if's?" and the "why's?". I try and try and TRY to go back to sleep, but, for some reason sleep continues to elude me.
A couple nights ago, I woke up just before 2 am. About 10 minutes later, Athan woke up crying. He couldn't find his Robin (Batman and Robin, Robin). Yeah, our little guy takes inventory in the middle of the night, and if something's missing? End. Of. The. World. So, as is the way it is, JR got up to help Athan find Robin and go back to sleep- if I try to rescue him in the middle of the night, Athan just screams more. He is a Daddy's boy. Once Robin was found and the inevitable end of the world crisis was (once again!) averted, JR came back to bed. I was wide awake, reading a book. Because really? What else am I going to do at 2 in the morning?
JR came and sat by me and I looked at him and realized, I haven't really looked at him in what felt like a long time. I realized that I've been so involved in my own exhaustion and my own feelings that I haven't taken the time to really spend time with him or talk to him or just see him. He looked tired and worried. I could tell that he, too, was exhausted and just worn out. And it seemed like maybe something was bothering him. I asked him if he was okay. "Yeah..." he said, but he's never really been a very good liar. I prodded him some more and finally he told me he was scared and worried and confused. He wanted to hope that this was all just a mistake, but knew he needed to be realistic. He wanted to believe that, in the end, everything would work out like it should. Everything would be okay. He said he didn't like admitting the possibility that this could turn out so much worse than we're hoping for- admitting this, he said, made him feel like he was giving up on Jillian. And so we talked- at 2 in the morning- about our worries and fears and our frustrations. It felt good to talk and not be interrupted.
JR told me it just wasn't fair. Not so much that it wasn't fair for him or for me or for Oli or Athan, but that it wasn't fair for Jillian. "She's a baby," he said. "She's so innocent. Just like when Athan was born, she hasn't even had a chance to do anything wrong." And then he said, "I just want my little girl. I want her to be happy and healthy. I want to hold her and cuddle her and I want her to know her Daddy. I just want the little things for her. Every night before I go to bed I pray for tea parties."
I can't wait for the day that JR's prayers are answered- when he sits awkwardly with Jilly and has a tea party with her. I can't wait for the day when we look back at this time and say to ourselves, "It was all worth it. All the worries and fears and prayers and sleepless nights. They were worth it."