It was a rainy Saturday night, and Justin and Rebecca Walker had put their three children to bed hours ago, and were now trying to fall asleep in their own bed amidst the rain pounding on the roof and windows. Both of them just a few years over 30, with 3 kids all under the age of 8 in house, sex was rare and wasn't usually possible, especially with their youngest, Lily, still waking up multiple times in the night. So, much to both of their dismay, sex was out the question. The two were actually surprised that the girls weren't still awake- since the rain was coming down hard, and that, to them, was an excuse for a slumber party in Mommy and Daddy's room.
Rebecca, unable to sleep, sat up and turned the TV in front of their bed on, keeping the volume on low, as she thought her husband of 8 years, Justin, was asleep. Little did she know, Justin was wide awake, and was just thinking. He did a lot of that right before falling asleep, usually making lists in his head of what he had to do the next day, or thinking about the girls. Lately, Justin had been thinking a lot about them. What his life was like before them, before Rebecca- how they changed him. Each of Justin and Rebecca's little girls- 7 year-old Addison, 5 year-old Emma, and 2 year-old Lily, changed them further into the people they were today. They were all so beautiful and so different, and thinking about them warmed Justin and helped him to fall asleep- despite the pouring rain coming down on their house outside.
There was Addison- their oldest. She would be turning 8 in 2 months, much to both Justin and Rebecca's disbelief. She always insisted she was a big girl, and she acted like it, but to Justin, Addie would be his little girl forever. Addison loved when Justin would tell her the story of how she was actually there the day her parents got married at City Hall- since Rebecca was about 4 months pregnant with her at the time. She'd often brag about that to her little sisters- which always put a smile on her parents' faces. Justin always thought that Addison had saved their marriage- after the car accident of 2009, in which Robert, Kitty's husband, was killed, Justin had this calling- this calling to go back to the Middle East. Like he couldn't be a doctor anymore, like he had to go back to fight for his country. Like he had to do something. Of course, with Rebecca 7 months pregnant with their first baby, he wasn't going to leave so soon. But he wanted to… he wanted to. Rebecca avoided the subject- she couldn't handle Justin going back to Iraq, not after they were just married, not when they were expecting a baby. Then, after Addison Claire Walker was born, everything changed. It wasn't about what he wanted anymore, it was about her. It was about Addison and Rebecca. It didn't matter that 7 months ago when Rebecca told Justin she was pregnant he wasn't sure he even wanted to be a father. It didn't matter that he was a struggling med-student who wanted to go back to the war. It didn't matter that he and Rebecca almost broke up over it. All that mattered was Addison. Justin swore that he would never let anything happen to her, ever. She was his everything. Ever since Addison was born, it was all about her and her sisters. She had soft, wavy, light brown hair that was just past her shoulders, and dark brown eyes- like Rebecca's. Of all of the Walker girls, Addison was the most like Rebecca- with both looks and personality. Unlike Rebecca, however, she often wore tortoise-shell colored glasses that always rested on the bridge of her nose, since she couldn't see well far away. She was only in the 2nd grade, but to both of her parents, she was the smartest little girl in the world. She had so many questions and was curious about everything. Like Rebecca, Addison cared about the people she loved. She liked to help take care of her little sisters, and she was extremely close to both of them. Addison fit the bill as being the oldest child well- she was mature, caring, and sometimes even a little bossy. She could be sneaky and lie sometimes too, which would get her into trouble from time to time. But overall, Addie was a good girl. She took care of the people she loved, and she wasn't even 8 years old yet.
Then there was Emma- their middle child. Rebecca had speculated that Emma was conceived on Justin and Rebecca's second marriage anniversary, as she was born precisely 9 months later. Having two children would be tough on the Walkers- they already had Addison, who wasn't even three when Emma was born. Emma, like Addison, wasn't exactly planned – but she was everything Justin and Rebecca could ask for in their little girl. Now 5 year-old, Emma Grace Walker was just a ball of energy. She was always running around the house playing with her sisters, or usually causing trouble. Rebecca would often refer to Emma as her "father's daughter", because of her bodacious personality and her eyes, which she shared with Justin. Emma had light, caramel brown colored hair, which Justin would insist was blonde, and which Rebecca would insist was brown, and big light brown eyes, just like her father. She looked similar to her older sister, though Addison looked more like Rebecca, and Emma looked more like Justin. Emma was the tomboy- she liked to wear Justin's caps backwards and play outside all day in a tee-shirt and jeans. She was very friendly- Emma had made lots of friends in pre-K, and Justin and Rebecca were sure she would do just fine in Kindergarten the following year. Though Justin was more than happy with his 3 daughters, in the back of his mind, he would have liked to have a son- and Emma was the closest thing he was ever going to get to having one. They would kick a soccer ball around in the backyard together, or Justin would teach her how to hit a baseball. Emma was definitely a Daddy's girl. Though, she was also very close with Rebecca as well. Emma could get jealous easily- if she felt like either her older sister or younger sister were getting more attention than her. When the youngest of Rebecca and Justin's daughters was born, Lily, Emma was jealous for a long time, and could not get over to the fact that she wasn't the baby of the family anymore. After she understood that her parents still loved her, Emma was more or less satisfied. Though she secretly looked up to her big sister Addison, Emma was her own person- young, wild, and free, and Justin loved Emma for that.
Last but not least, there was Lily – the youngest child of Justin and Rebecca. Of all of the girls, Lily was the biggest surprise of all. Justin and Rebecca had agreed that after Emma, they wouldn't have anymore more children, but to their surprise, a few months before Emma turned 2, Rebecca got pregnant with the couple's third child- the one they both swore would be the last one. When Lily Jane Walker was born, and Justin got to hold her in his arms, he felt as if he were truly complete. He had a beautiful wife who loved him, and three perfect little girls. Years ago, he was a recovering drug and alcohol addict who was sure never to find love and happiness. Now, here he was- a 2nd year resident at one of the best hospitals on the west coast, the husband of a beautiful photographer who stole his heart, and the father of three amazing girls. Justin couldn't ask for anything more- Lily had completed this family. Lily had light brown hair, the same color as Addison's, and very light, almost hazel, brown eyes. Neither Justin nor Rebecca could tell who exactly Lily looked like, but they and everybody else all agreed she was a beauty. Lily was the quietest of the three girls- her older sisters did most of her talking for her. Rebecca and Justin had agreed that Lily was their "easiest" baby- she almost always slept through the night as a newborn, and in her first year of life, she was very well behaved- all the time. Though she was now 2 years old, she could only say a few words and sentences, and she only did so rarely- since Addison and Emma had no problem speaking for her. As a mother and a photographer, Rebecca loved to photograph her children, but Lily was the best model of all of the girls- always staying still and smiling for the camera. Because she was such a good little model, Rebecca often called Lily the family "superstar", since Lily, at her young age, already liked to be in front of the camera. Lily's big sisters loved to help take care of her and play with her- they'd carry her around and like to feed her, and they'd take her outside and play with her there. It always made Justin and Rebecca happy, to see all three of their girls playing happily with one another. Lily drew the family closer together. Like Justin was the heart of his family growing up, Lily was the heart of hers.
Thinking about his daughters and his wife, though peaceful, didn't really help Justin fall asleep with the rain coming down as hard as it was. He knew of people who could sleep peacefully when it was raining- his sisters being just a few of them. But Justin couldn't, and he knew Rebecca couldn't either. But he still wanted to try to sleep, so he kept his eyes closed and continued to think of his family.
That day, a Saturday, Justin and Rebecca had taken the girls and their dog Buster (which Justin had named, as Rebecca had come up with each of their children's names), on a hike. Only Addison really walked with her parents, however- Justin carried Emma on his shoulders, holding Addison's hand while he did so, and Rebecca pushed Lily in a stroller, holding Buster's leash with her free hand as the family trudged up and down hiking trails. Though neither Justin nor Rebecca thought necessary to bring it up in front of their girls, they had decided to picnic at the very place where they had first kissed- and Justin could remember it like it was yesterday. It was a good, stress free day. It was the first one that both Justin and Rebecca had had in a while. It was at that very moment he realized that his dream had come true. His dream, the one he discussed with Rebecca the day he proposed to her. Justin's dream was to go hiking on the weekends together, with their dog named Buster, and their children. But not even that, was his true dream. His dream, was his family. His life together with Rebecca. His family that he and Rebecca had made for themselves- their perfect little family. That was his true dream. Justin only didn't know why it had taken him so long to realize that.
Just as Justin was about to fall asleep, he was slightly startled by the sound of their bedroom door creaking open. In the doorway stood 5 year-old Emma, dressed in red footsie pajamas, looking at her parents with sympathetic eyes.
"Muh-muh, there's loud noises outside. I'm scared!" Emma said, scampering up to the side of Justin and Rebecca's bed, as Rebecca smiled and ruffled with Emma's hair.
"It's just rain, baby, it'll pass." Rebecca said softly, as Justin sat up in bed beside her. Emma looked at him now, giving him the puppy-dog eyes.
"But I can't sleep with the rain in my room! Can I sleep here with you?" The little girl asked softly, which caused Rebecca to look over to Justin and smile.
"Oh, alright." Rebecca breathed, lifting Emma into the bed. Just then, Addison appeared with Lily on her hip in the doorway where Emma was just moments ago, looking at her parents as she bit her lower lip, waiting until they noticed her. "You scared of the rain too, Addie?" Rebecca asked, noticing her other two daughters in the doorway.
Addison cleared her throat. "Well, since it's raining- I decided to go check on Lily, since she's probably scared of the rain. When I went to see her, she told me that she wanted to come sleep in your bed with you guys. So I had to come with her." She explained with a nod, confidently. Justin started cracking up as Rebecca smiled at her oldest daughter, just before looking at her husband beside her.
"Addie, come here- you and Lily can sleep in the bed too, since we all seem to be scared of the rain." Addison smiled, walking to the other side of the bed to her father's side, where she handed him Lily and then got into the bed after her.
"Addie scared." Lily said softly, looking over Rebecca as Emma and Addison settled into bed next to her. Justin had Lily lay down on his chest for her to sleep, just like he had when each of his daughters were born, and at Lily's words Rebecca looked over to her and smiled.
"Addie's scared, huh?" Rebecca said, turning the TV off as she laid her head down on the pillows, turning her attention over to her youngest daughter Lily.
"Am not!" Addison defended, looking over to her mother.
"Am too!" Emma threw in, with a smile.
"Alright, girls. It's time to go to sleep. You all can stay here with Mommy and Daddy tonight if you go to sleep. Okay?" Justin said softly to his daughters, the oldest two nodding as Lily's eyes started to close softly.
"Okay, Daddy." Addison and Emma in unison, as Rebecca put her arm around them.
"Goodnight, girls." Rebecca said softly, smiling in the direction of her daughters.
"'Night, Mommy. 'Night Daddy." The oldest Walker girls said, one after the other. Lily had already fallen asleep on Justin's chest.
"'Night girls." Justin said, stroking Lily's back as he watched Addison and Emma close their eyes to sleep, only being able to see them vaguely from the light the window shades let in from outside. A bolt of lightning appeared from the window, neither of the girls seeming to notice it.
In just minutes, all three of the Walker girls were fast asleep in their parents' bed. Just before drifting off to sleep themselves, Justin and Rebecca looked at each other, past the heads of their three daughters, smiling at one another as Rebecca whispered. "I love you."
Justin smiled towards his wife, just happy to be where he was right now- with his four most favorite people in the world. "I love you, too." He whispered back to her, as both he and Rebecca both fell asleep next to their daughters.
Maybe people really could sleep when it was raining.