"What would you like for your first meal home?" Janet asked Eddie who was sitting in the living room with Jocelyn on his lap. Sharon had dropped her off fifteen minutes ago and she went straight to her daddy's arms.
"That's a loaded question. There are so many delicious meals that you make that I want to eat."
"All in good time babe." Janet sat on the arm of the chair next to Eddie. "In anticipation of your return, I have the makings of most of your favorite meals so pick one and slowly but surely, we will get through everything you want."
"What do you think little one?" Eddie asked his daughter. "What does daddy want for his first dinner home?" Jocelyn cooed, giggled and smiled at her dad. "Really? That sounds good to you?" More cooing. "Okay bay girl. I'll tell her." Eddie looked at Janet. "Jocey recommends tacos."
"Tacos. Really?" That was the last requested meal she expected. "Why tacos?"
"I haven't had a good taco in a long time and besides the boys love them don't they? Do they still like tacos?" At that moment Janet knew why Eddie chose tacos. It was one of the boys' favorite meals and he wanted them to enjoy his first meal home as much as he was going to.
"Yes. The boys still like tacos. In fact, they love tacos."
"Good. Can we have tacos?"
"I believe that can be arranged."Janet leaned down and pressed her lips to his until she heard the sound of the boys' bus outside the house. "The boys are here." She stood up and took Jocelyn and walked towards the door. "Prepare yourself." Thirty seconds later the door flew open and the boys raced inside.
"Hi mom." That was Jackson.
"Hi mama." That greeting came from Jake.
"Hi mommy." And the last greeting came from Josh.
"Hi boys. Go put you backpacks away and I'll get your snack."
"Yes ma'am." They replied and ran upstairs. Eddie was impressed on how well the triplets behaved.
"They didn't even see me."
"They will. It's nothing personal. As far as they are concerned you are still in the hospital. They had no reason to look around here. Why don't you come into the dining room in a few minutes while they are having their snack?"Eddie grinned.
"Count on it."
"I'm glad you're home."
"Me too babe."
A couple of minutes later the boys bounded back down the steps and into the dining room where Jocelyn was strapped into her highchair and there were three glasses of milk set out with a Twinkie next to each glass. Every day after school Janet allowed them a "junk food" treat; either a Little Debbie snack or Twinkies with the latter being a favorite.
"Yipee. Twinkies." Jacob cheered. The boys found their seats.
"Excuse me but isn't there something you need to say?" She asked as they were opening their treats.
"Thank you." They said at the same time.
"You are very welcome." At that moment Eddie walked into the dining room.
"DADDY!" Josh was the first one to see his father Jackson and Jacob looked up from their milk and Twinkies and the surprised look on their faces was priceless. Twinkies were quickly forgotten as the boys ran over to Eddie.
"I sure am Josh."
"I knew that." Eddie smiled at his son so he would know that he was being teased but Janet knew, by the look on his face that he had actually mixed up the two boys up which is actually easy to do considering she did it herself often. Eddie glanced at her and she sent him an encouraging smile, letting him know it was all good.
"Do you have to go back to the hospital?" Jackson asked.
"Nope. I am home for good." Six arms were wrapped around his legs and Eddie ruffled the tops of each of their heads. "I'm home boys." Janet wiped her eyes at the site before her. Their lives were finally complete again. Daddy was home.
"Hi boys. I'm home." Janet called walking into the kitchen from the garage. She didn't have everything for the tacos so she had to run out to the store and left the kids with Eddie. It was so nice to be able to leave the kids home and go to the store in peace. She actually enjoyed her trip to the grocery store.
Setting the groceries down she glanced out the window and saw Jocelyn sitting on the deck in her bouncy seat and Eddie and the boys were in the yard tossing a football around or more accurately, Eddie was standing in one spot while the boys threw him the ball. They all looked like they are having a blast.
"Hi guys." She walked out on the deck.
"We're playing football."
"I see that. Are you having fun?"
"Yeah." Just then, Janet noticed the clothes the boys were wearing.
"Why are you still wearing your school clothes?" The boys froze and looked at the ground. "Well?" They didn't answer her because they knew better than to play outside in their school clothes. "Get inside and put on your play clothes and you better hope your school clothes aren't ruined."
"Go." They ran past of her into the house.
"What's the big deal about play clothes?" Eddie asked.
"They ruin every pair of clothes they own with food, mud and grass stains or ripping them. They are rough on their clothes and I can't afford to replace their ruined clothes and I will not have our boys going to school looking like scrubs."
"I'm sorry Janet. I should have made them change."
"You didn't know. Last time you played outside with the boys they weren't in school."
"Now I do know and I promise that it won't happen again." Janet walked out into the yard and wrapped her arms around his waist and laid her head on his chest. He immediately wrapped his arms around her and rested his head on top of hers.
"You being home have made the boys so happy." She mumbled.
"How about you?"
"It has made me very happy. Grocery shopping was so great."
"Really? Grocery shopping was great?"
"Yes because I was alone." She lifted her head and looked at him. "You have no idea what a pain it is to shop with four kids. Today, it was peaceful." Eddie lowered his head and kissed her softly.
"Ewww. Gross." The boys cried and their parents pulled away from each other.
"See what I mean? Peaceful." Eddie laughed as Janet returned to the deck and Jocelyn. "Jocey and I are going to cook dinner."
"Jocelyn is too little to cook dinner." Josh informed her.
"I know. She is going to keep me company. You boys have fun."
"We will." Eddie assured her with a grin. "Come on boys. Let's throw the football."
Janet was in heaven. She was actually in the living room and all of them expect for Jocelyn who was in her swing napping, were playing on the WII and they were having fun. Because Eddie helped her with the after dinner cleanup it went much faster than it normally did. When she was without Eddie, the after dinner cleanup took forever because she had to stop every few minutes because one of her children needed her for something. Tonight when one of the kids needed something she wasn't the one who had to stop and take care of whatever it was and if she did then Eddie could continue to work on kitchen cleanup and it got done quickly and now, she was relaxing and enjoying her children, something she hadn't been able to do in a very long time.
"We won. We won." Jackson taunted his parents. "We beat the pants off of you."
"You have had more practice than I have."
"Let's do it again." Jacob said.
"Janet." Eddie hollered from their bedroom. "Come here please."
"You boys play the next game. I'll be right back." Janet left the boys and went into their bedroom. "Eddie?"
"I'm in here." He answered from the bathroom.
"Are you okay?" She walked into the bathroom and gasped. There were glowing candles everywhere and the bathtub was full of bubbles.
"I'm fine." He told her with a grin.
"What is all of this?"
"I know you haven't had a lot, well actually any time for yourself and now that I am home, that is going to change. I have made up a bath for you and it's time for you to relax and do a little homemade pampering."
"This is so thoughtful."
"You deserve it. The kids and I are going to hang out while you just relax."
"The boys need their bathes."
"I can handle that."
"Are you sure?"
"I got it babe. Now let's get you in the tub before the water gets cold." He reached out, pulled her to him and shut the door to keep out any unwanted intruders. Janet reached for her shirt but Eddie stopped her. "Allow me." With a tender smile, Eddie slowly removed Janet's clothes and then helped her into the tub.
"Ahh. This is wonderful; just perfect."
"I'm glad you like it." She motioned Eddie down to her and willingly complied with her request.
"I love it and I love you. Thank you so much." She sat up out of her wonderful bath, closed the short distance and kissed him softly. "I have the best husband in the world."
"That you do." He grinned proudly and turned to the bathroom counter grabbing a book. "I took this from your night stand." He told her, handing her the book. "It doesn't look like you have gotten very far." Her book mark was placed in the beginning of the book.
"I haven't. Every time I try to read it, I just ended up falling asleep."
"Well read now and don't fall asleep."
"Mommy, Daddy, Jackson isn't letting me have a turn." Jacob whined from the other side of the door.
"I will take care of that. You enjoy yourself sweetheart."
"I'm planning on it." Eddie turned on the jets, turned on the music and left her in peace and quit to relax; she deserved it.
An hour and a half later, Janet finally got out of the tub and wrapped herself up in her big fluffy rub. She was thoroughly relaxed and not once did she worry about the kids. She knew they were in excellent hands; they were with their dad.
Heading upstairs Janet could hear Jocelyn crying. It was her bedtime and she was tired. When she got tired, she cried. Before rescuing Eddie went into the boys' bathroom to check on them.
"Having fun?" They all nodded. They still loved bathing together but they were getting bigger and probably wouldn't fit in the tub together for much longer. "Ready to get out?"
"No." Janet reached into the water.
"Tough. The water is cold. It's time to get out." Reluctantly the boys climbed out of the tub. "Now please, go put your jammies on."
As the boys went to the room to dress Jocelyn's cries increased in intensity. She followed the cries into Jocelyn's bedroom where Eddie was struggling to dress her on the changing table.
"Need some help?"
"She is squirmy and mad at me. I forgot how hard it can be to dress an unhappy baby."
"Welcome to my life." She walked over to the changing table. "Allow me." Eddie gratefully stepped aside and watched in awe as Janet easily diapered and dressed their daughter.
"You'll get the hang of it again."
"Or this is a sign of things yet to come." He smiled. "Maybe this is the first of many battles between our daughter and me." Janet laughed.
"Good point." Janet picked up Jocelyn. "Shhh. I know you are hungry. Mommy will feed you." Janet positioned herself in the rocking chair and removed a breast from her robe. Jocelyn eagerly latched on.
"That's amazing." Eddie whispered.
"It really is. This is my favorite time of day to nurse her. I love it when she falls asleep in my arms." Eddie leaned down and kissed Jocelyn's head.
"You are such a great mom."
'You're not such a bad dad yourself."
"Well in that case, I better go wrangle the boys in bed."
"Tell them I will be in to tuck them in." Eddie walked out of Jocelyn's room and then paused outside to listen as Janet sang a lullaby to their daughter. It was a beautiful sound.
"Are you okay?" Eddie was limping down the stairs after everyone was tucked in and sound asleep and Janet was concerned.
"My legs are killing me." He grunted his way down the steps. "The physical therapists said this would happen." He explained once he collapsed on the couch. "I haven't been on my legs this much since I woke up and that's why they hurt. The more I walk, the less the pain I will have. I'm still building my muscles back."
"What can I do?"
"Honestly, I'm exhausted. I just want to take one of my anti-inflammatories and go to bed." Janet could tell he was tired so she went and got him his medicine. He gratefully accepted it. "I will be so glad when I don't have to take medicine anymore."
"I don't think that's going to happen."
"Yeah. I know." Dr. Weber had told them that Eddie would have to be on the medication for the rest of his life to inhibit the tumor growth. If he didn't want brain tumors he would have to stay on the medication.
"I know you that you are tired but…" Janet straddled Eddie's thighs; hovering over them because she didn't want to add to his pain by sitting on his lap.
"But what?" He asked with a grin.
"Well, I was wondering if you had the energy to make out for a little while?"
"I think I can muster up the energy." As Janet leaned down to kiss him Eddie reached behind her and slid his hands under her shirt. Kissing her while he ran his hands over her soft skin was pure perfection.
"I love you." She whispered just before her lips met his in the first of many kisses.
Janet and Eddie were curled up together sound asleep when a cry came through the baby monitor. Jumping Janet sat straight up. "What?" Eddie grumbled sleepily. "What's wrong?"
"It's one of the boys." She quickly untangled herself from Eddie and climbed out of bed. "I'll be back.
Before Eddie could respond she was rushing out of the room to their crying son. Janet knew all of her kids' cries very well and the cry coming from the boys' room was a scared cry. Someone is having a nightmare. Entering the room, she found Jackson, her toughest little man, sobbing on his bed.
"Mommy." He cried. Janet rushed over to his bed and pulled him into her arms.
"Did you have a bad dream?" He nodded into her chest. "Do you want to tell me about it?" He shook his head. "Okay honey. It's okay. Mommy's here."
"I'm here Jackson." Eddie couldn't just stay in bed and listen to Jackson cry. He thought of all the nightmares he had probably missed during the last fifteen months and he couldn't miss another.
"Daddy." Jackson broke away from Janet and threw himself into his father's arms.
"Mommy?" Came a voice from the other side of the room. Janet left Jackson and Eddie and crossed the room.
"It's okay Joshie. Go back to sleep." Janet whispered, kissing his head.
"He had a bad dream. Go back to sleep honey." She tucked him in. "Good night baby."
"Night mama." He whispered sleepily. After another kiss, she went over and fixed Jacob's blanket while Jackson and Eddie whispered quietly. Seeing Jackson talking to Eddie about his dream when he wouldn't talk to her about it sparked a surge of jealously. Shaking it off, she kissed Jacob and left room to tend to her little angel who had just woken up for an overnight snack.
The next morning, Janet was awakened again by the sound of crying coming through the baby monitor. Jocelyn was up and hungry which meant that even though she was exhausted, it was time to begin her day. Her children didn't care that after they got Jackson and Jocelyn back to sleep she was the one who couldn't fall back asleep. She wasn't comfortable with the jealousy she was feeling towards Eddie and the boys and that kept her awake for hours.
"You stay and sleep. I'll get her." Eddie told her as she began to sit up.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. After we came back to bed, you spent the rest of the night tossing and turning so I know you must be tired."
"So you sleep. Jocey and I will hang out together."
"There is breast milk in the freezer."
"Don't worry. We'll be fine. You sleep in."
"I won't argue." She lay back down and buried herself under the covers. Eddie kissed her softly.
Four hours later, a little after ten Janet was standing in the doorway of the living room watching her family. Eddie was seated in the middle of the couch with the boys on all sides of him and Jocelyn in his lap watching cartoons in their pajamas. They all looked so happy without her.
"Morning honey." Eddie smiled when he saw her.
"Good morning." She walked over and kissed her daughter and all of her boys, saving the biggest one for last.
"Are you hungry? I saved you some pancakes."
"And bacon." Josh added.
"Wow. You made pancakes and bacon?" Janet was impressed.
"You sound surprised."
"It was the bestest breakfast ever." Jacob informed her and for the second time in two days a flash of jealousy rose within her but she quickly pushed it away. She was being ridiculous.
"I guess I need to try the bestest breakfast ever." Eddie stood and placed Jocelyn in her swing and then led Janet to the dining room.
"Please darling, have a seat and I will be right in with your breakfast." Smiling, Janet did as Eddie requested and he returned a few minutes later with her pancakes, bacon, a glass of orange juice and a cup of coffee.
"Now I am impressed. It's been awhile since I have been served breakfast."
"You deserve it." Eddie kissed her and then sat down next her, anxiously awaiting her verdict as she took a bite of the pancakes. "Well?"
"It's really good." Eddie smiled proudly.
"I'm glad you like it."
"So how did you sleep?"
"Better. Thanks for letting me sleep in."
"Daddy. Sponge Bob is back on. You are missing it." Jackson had come into the dining room.
"I'll be in there in a few minutes." With his head hung Jackson slowly walked back into the living room. "Those boys are pros at the pouty face. How do you manage not to give in to everyone of their requests?"
"Lots of practice. As much I wanted to say yes to their every request and give them everything that they have ever wanted, I couldn't so I learned to harden myself to their pouty looks."
"Ow. Give it back. It's mine." They heard Josh yell at one of his brothers. Automatically, because it was habit Janet started to stand but Eddie stopped her.
"I got it. You stay and enjoy your breakfast."
Eddie went into the living room and dealt with the fighting boys. It was quickly handled and it wasn't long before Janet heard laughter from all of them. She wasn't used to this. Saturday morning was her cuddle time with the kids. The five of them always enjoyed breakfast in her bed and now the Eddie was back it had changed. They were having another good ol' time without again and she didn't like the way it made her feel and that bad feeling didn't sit well with her. She was so happy Eddie was awake and home but she felt like she was losing her kids to him and losing him to the kids. She was so confused. What kind of person did that make her? What kind of person is jealous of her husband's relationship with their children? Apparently, she was that kind of person.