A time forever stitched into my heart. From Heaven to Earth.
July 11th, 2019
*Time does not exist here*
Bill sat down in the dugout and started to laugh as little Etta was running at him to play ball, he really enjoyed her energy. He had taught her all kinds of things, including monopoly, so that she could challenge her mama when it was time. Being a grandpa was always something he had wanted and loved kids, something that helped mold him into the man he was. He started to reminisce over memories as he remembered how much dark hair he had and how many hours he was working to put food on the table, always pouring so much into the community. He truly missed being a cop and found himself frequently thinking about how much he took on as he became chief as well as a stepfather. Coming home from long shifts to 3 sassy teenagers wasn't always a walk in the park, but he did love them to no end. He found himself going back to a vacation with Jodie and the kids, they spent the whole day in Wisconsin and didn't fight one time. Timmy, Hillary, and Joey were very close in age and in their relationships as siblings so having them get along was a huge accomplishment for the day. Hillary always seemed to have an attitude, but Bill loved that she was strong in her beliefs and enjoyed her sass from time to time. That day was one of his favorites, he can still hear the laughter as they drove all day and listening to Hillary's Michael Jackson CD.
Bill was deep into his memories when a baseball flew right by his head and about knocked him off of his chair, little Etta stood with the biggest grin while holding her glove. "You know this is our last full day spending time together and I want to play catch with my Papa," she declared. Bill couldn't resist her innocent little blue eyes, how could anyone resist a 9 year old wanting to play catch?
As they started to throw back and forth, Bill was starting to feel so much emotion watching his granddaughter laugh and talk about the game.
"You know, Etta, today is my birthday," Bill announced so proudly.
"Papa, do you really think I would forget your special day?" she asked with a giggle.
Etta put her glove off to the side of the mound and walked over to dugout, Bill followed after her. She sat down and grabbed underneath of the bench, out came a container with a piece of cake inside. Bill chuckled as he grabbed the fork in the container and took a big bite into the delicious treat.
"Chocolate is my favorite, thank you for thinking of me," he said with tears forming in his eyes.
"I want you to have a good day today, I really don't want it to end," she mentioned with sadness.
Bill set down the container and began to realize that this day was going to be just as hard for her as it was for him. He knew that the days at the ballpark were coming to an end and knew that he already had went over his time limit. He grabbed Etta by the hand and started to tear up, he could see how lost she was with what was going to happen to her.
"You know, sweetheart, there is so much that I want to tell you and I know it will all seem confusing to you. See, today is our last day together because you are going to be meeting some very kind and loving people. You won't get to be with me and, trust me, you are going to enjoy them and all the joy they bring you. They are going to love you and take care of you, probably better than I ever could. The two main people will be your Mommy and Daddy, those two have been waiting to meet you for quite some time. You will get to know your godparents, other grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even pets. I promise you, what is going to happen is a good thing and I will be keeping watch," Bill explained carefully.
"I don't want to go anywhere, I want to stay here and live with you!" Etta shouted in tears.
"Etta, your mommy and daddy are going to give you a life that I could never even begin to give to you, I would try to give them a chance," he said quietly while holding her hand.
Etta sat up with tears running down her cheeks and knew that her Papa was right, she knew that things were needing to change. Bill had told her, from the beginning, that this day was going to happen and always made sure to be completely honest with her. She always brushed it off and never really asked any questions, always thinking their time would go on forever.
"Can you tell me about them again, Papa?" Etta asked as she batted her lashes.
Bill got the biggest smile on his face as he replied, "You see, your mom's name is Hillary and she is one of the kindest people. You look a lot like her and you even make some of the same faces as her. She will make you laugh and you will never have to worry about being read to at bedtime, your mom will always be there. She can sing so beautifully and will always show you so many different kinds of music, you will enjoy the show tunes the most. There will be times where you will bump heads and not see eye to eye, I urge you to stay patient and always talk it out. All in all, you are going to have an amazing mother and she always will love you to no end."
He paused as he looked down at his granddaughter who was locked into the stories about her mom, she was listening so patiently. He knew that she would understand more later on, but he loved painting a good picture of her bright future and watching her eyes light up.
"With your dad, I never got to meet him and I really wish I had the opportunity. I can tell you that his name is Cole and that your mom lights up everytime he is nearby, he brings so much love to her life. You look like him when you smile and it warms my heart to get to know a version of him. From all I have gathered, I know he is going to love you and be your partner in crime. He is a huge baseball fan and will play catch with you as you grow, he will always be there to help you. I think that, even if we disagree on baseball teams, he is going to really be a great dad. I wish I could tell you more, but I know he will be the best dad to you and love you," Bill explained with tears running down his cheek.
Etta looked up at her Papa and knew his heart was full of love for her, she knew he was right. Finally being able to have parents and a life sounded like a dream, even if it meant not seeing her Papa for a while. Etta let go of Bill's hand and wiped her eyes, she was trying to stay calm and get her thoughts straight.
"Will I like my other Papa or any Nana?" Etta asked quietly.
"Oh yes, you have two Papas to meet and they are excited to see you! I got to know one of them quite well and he is going to be one of your favorites, the guy is funny and so kind. He will show you a lot of music and you will get to see his cool guitars, you will be the light of his life. With Nanas, you are going to have three and they all are going to love you to like crazy. They will protect you and you will never have to worry about clothes or shoes for quite sometime! As you grow, you will understand more and you will come to love all the family you will get to know. Don't let me forget to tell you that you also have two handsome puppies waiting to meet you and play," Bill explained nonchalantly.
"PUPPIES ...I HAVE PUPPIES!?" Etta asked with excitement.
Bill saw a light ignite in her and the brightest smile he had ever seen, he knew he was starting to cheer her up. He started to realize, early on, that Etta needed a companion that would teach her responsibility and was thrilled to know she had two dogs coming her way.
"Yes, you have two puppies and they are ready to meet you with kisses. They go by Auggie and Yogi, they are going protect you and always want to play. I never got to meet or play with them, but I know that they are going to enjoy having you by their side," he said proudly.
Etta begin to imagine all of the fun she will have with them and really was ready to get to know her new life, she had spent all her time with her Papa. She never really remembered a time without him by her side, it was becoming obvious that it was time for a change.
Bill walked over to the opening of the dugout and began to look out over the horizon, their time together was coming to an end. He began to smile thinking about all the things he had taught his little Etta, he knew that she was going to live such a memorable life. He looked over his shoulder to see her swinging her legs off the end of the bench and knew he had to tell her the hard part, the memory part. He held out his hand and Etta took it as they walked toward the mound, he was enjoying these last moments. He stopped at the mound to turn to her and watched as the light was beginning to fade on the field, it was time.
"Now sweetheart, I need you to let me get this out and trust everything I am going to tell you." Bill explained with great caution and tears in his eyes, "When you get to your new life, your memory of me will not be prominent and you may never gain any of it back. You will have a fresh slate and you won't be familiar with anything for quite sometime, I need you to trust that everything is going to be okay. I want you to know that I will be watching over you and that I will be cheering you on as you grow, I cannot wait to see your mother's face when she sees you. Her world is about to change and so is yours, I truly will miss you here but ready to see you live your life."
Etta hugged her Papa so tight and began to cry, she could not fathom losing any memory of him. He had taught her so many things and really showed her how to love others, that is something she would always carry with her.
"Papa, I don't know if I can live without you," Etta whispered.
"Oh sweetheart, you haven't started living your life yet and I need you to trust me on that," he replied.
Just then, the sky started to change and a breeze started to form, you almost forget that they are embracing on a baseball field. Bill crouched down to wipe away any tears left on Etta's face and kiss her forehead, she really had him wrapped around her little finger. As he was wiping away any sadness from her face, faint voices starting to come through and Etta looked around with confusion.
"Papa, what is that?" Etta asked.
"It looks like our time is up, it is 7:30," Bill replied with a smile.
"7:30?" Etta questioned, "What is 7:30, Papa?"
"You see, that means our time is up and has become your time," he whispered.
"Time?" Etta asked, "Papa, time for what?"
Bill gave her one final hug and started to let go of her hands as she started to fade into the breeze. The faint voices were growing louder and Etta was struggling to keep her Papa in sight. Bill stood up, grabbed a baseball, and started throwing it in the air as he looked at Etta one last time.
"To be born, sweetheart," he whispered, "I love you, always and Happy Birthday."
The world went black.
**** OSF Hospital Labor and Delivery room 5453****
July 12th, 2019
Cole was standing by Hillary trying to help her get through these last few moments, he knew she was tired. She had been in labor for over 30 hours and was ready to be done, this baby had to get out. The doctor bent down to check position of baby and knew she was close, the baby was coming.
"Give me 2 big pushes and she will be here, Hillary!" the doctor exclaimed.
"Baby, she is almost here!" Cole shouted with excitement, "You can do this, I'm right here!"
Hillary smiled and nodded as she prepared for the big finale, she was just about out of energy. She took her deep breath and began to push as hard as she could, gritting her teeth the whole way. One final breath as she began the last push and she let out a battle cry with her big push. A single cry emerged from the hospital room, a baby was born and tears began to fall.
"Time of birth is 7:33 AM on July 12th, 2019!" shouted a nurse.
"Baby, you did it!" Cole cried with happy tears, "You did so good."
Hillary could not help the tears as the doctor laid her baby girl on her chest for the first time, she finally got to meet her daughter. Baby was wailing her first cries as mom looked over a true angel. She counted 10 fingers and toes, her baby girl was pure perfection.
"You are so beautiful," Hillary whispered at her daughter.
"I love you so much," Cole stated as he kissed Hillary's forehead.
Hillary looked up, with exhaustion and love, to smile at her proud husband. She could not have pictured a better moment or partner in her life. Their lives changed in a matter of minutes and their little girl had just begun hers, complete peace and happiness filled the whole room.
A nurse emerged from the crowd and asked with a smile, "Have you thought of a name?"
"Arrieta, her name is Arrieta and we will call her Etta," Hillary stated.
"Beautiful name!" the nurse exclaimed, "I will get that for the birth certificate, I am sorry that your labor took so long."
"I was really wanting her to share a birthday with my stepfather, but I am okay with the day after and am happy she is here," Hillary replied with all smiles.
"Is he excited for the late birthday present?" the nurse asked.
"Well, you see, he went to be with Jesus almost 10 years ago and I have a feeling he has already met her." Hillary explained with tears in her eyes, "I am thinking that he got to know her before any of us did."
The nurse smiled and left the happy couple with their beautiful new baby, you can call her Etta. ❤