The Lernier Family
© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved




Chapter 17: Josh at the Pool

Todd asked, "Have you finalized the purchase of your new house in St. Catharine?"

"No, we have to return to St. Catharines in a few weeks to sign the paperwork.   We will be staying with Aunt Hannah for a while as we get things organized.   We want to get the house remodeled before we move into it," I said.

Todd smiled, "You must be happy that Rick finally gave in to you."

"I am happy about getting the house in St. Catharines but I am not happy that we are still basically where we have been for years," I said looking over at my handsome friend.   Todd wore bright blue Speedos that stood out in sharp contrast to the dark tan of his skin.   He looked like a Norse god with his long flowing blond hair and dark blue eyes.   I could see why Zach was so attached to Todd given his perfectly sculpted body.  

Todd's eyes twinkled with merriment as he laughed and said, "You are starting to drool, Glenn."

I looked into Todd's eyes and laughed as well, "I can't help admiring how beautiful you are."

"The feeling is mutual, Glenn," Todd said with a wicked grin.   He looked me over placing a finger on his chin as if in deep thought and started to enumerate what he saw.   "Hmmm…..bright white Speedos, extra tight, showing off your nice ass and leaving no doubt that you are well hung," he paused and rubbed his crotch before continuing.   "Let's see….the bright white of the swimsuit against deeply tanned perfectly smooth skin, a lean and well-muscled swimmer's body, a rakish grin with a small dimple in the left cheek, a small pert nose, strikingly beautiful grey-blue eyes, dark brown eyebrows and short blond hair, combed so it sticks straight up.   I think you qualify as wet dream material for any gay man who lays eyes on you!"

I was blushing by the time he finished, "Thanks Todd.   Now you have gone and embarrassed me!"

Todd laughed, "I love to see you blush, Glenn.   It adds to your charm and beauty.   I hope you never change!'

We were interrupted by Cameron who had joined us as we sat on the edge of the kiddie pool watching the children splashing in the water.  

Cameron looked at us and announced, "We are pretending to be whales.   Watch me!"   He scampered off and splashed into the water.   We watched as Cameron and Skye were entertaining JJ and Josh by pretending to be whales and letting them ride on their backs in the water as they scooted around in the shallow water.   

Then they decided that twins needed to pretend to be whales, too.   The boys chased each other around putting their faces in the water and then lifting their legs in the air and bringing them down so the water splashed everywhere.   JJ looked over at me and shouted, "Daddy, we have whale fins."

Skye corrected him, "JJ, they are called flukes not fins."

JJ looked at Skye and then shouted to me, "I have flukes."   He demonstrated them for me by putting his face in the water and lifting his feet out of water and splashing with them in the water.  

Todd said, "I am glad they are enjoying themselves."

I agreed, "I am, too."   I watched Josh go under the water but he didn't lift his legs out of the water as before.   I looked closer and saw that his legs weren't moving normally and that his arms seemed to be jerking sporadically.   It hit me like a lightning bolt that Josh was having a seizure.   I jumped up and grabbed Josh around the waist, pulling him out of the water.   As his body continued seizing, I held him face down to let the water drain out of his mouth and nose.   I turned to Todd, "Call 911.   Josh is having a seizure."   I turned Josh sideways and laid him across my lap.   I checked to make sure his airway was clear and that he was breathing.   Much to my relief, he seemed to be breathing okay; however, his limbs kept flailing about uncontrollably.   His eyes rolled back in his head showing the whites of his eyes.   Then he went totally rigid in my arms as if he was being stretched by some unseen force.

 Todd ran over yelling at the lifeguard who jumped down from his station and ran over to us.   The young man looked scared as he approached us.   I said, "My son started having a seizure in the pool.   He is still having convulsions."

The lifeguard signaled to another lifeguard to call 911.   A couple of minutes later, we heard the sirens and the paramedics arrived on the scene.   I looked up and saw that it was my neighbor, Barry.

Barry asked, "What happened?"

I related what had happened.   "How long was he under the water?" Barry asked.

"I am not sure but it wasn't more than a minute or two," I replied.

Barry asked, "How long has he been seizing?"

"It's been about 5 or 6 minutes now," I said.   "It's a good thing you arrived so quickly."

Barry nodded his head and relayed the information he had gathered about Josh's condition to the emergency room doctor.   Barry turned to me, "We need to transport him as soon as possible.   Since he was in the water when it happened, there may be damage to his brain due to lack of oxygen."

I nodded my head numbly as I processed what he had just told me, "I don't think he was underwater long enough to cause that kind of damage."

Barry put his hand on my arm, "Let's hope you are right, Glenn.   Please let me take him from you while you get your clothes on.   We will wait for you in the ambulance."  I looked into Barry's eyes for a moment.   Seeing my anxiety, he said, "I promise to take good care of him.   Be quick though."

I nodded my head and relinquished Josh into Barry's arms.   Barry laid him on the stretcher the paramedics had carried into the pool area.   The lifeguards were holding back the crowd of onlookers back so the paramedics could do their work.   I looked over at Todd who was comforting JJ, Cameron and Skye.   I got up and walked over to them.   "Can you take the boys home?"

Todd nodded his head, "Yes, I will take care of everything.   You go ahead with Josh in the ambulance.   I will take Kyle, David and Ashley home to their grandmother's as well."

I leaned over and gave Todd a quick kiss on the lips, "I love you, Todd."

Todd smiled up at me and said, "I know."

I grabbed my stuff and walked through the crowd and into the men's changing room.   I quickly pulled on a pair of dark blue board short over my Speedos.   Fortunately, I hadn't been in the pool yet so they were dry.  Next, I pulled on white tank top and pushed my feet into my black flip flops.   I trotted out the door and over to the ambulance.   Barry held the door open for me and I climbed inside.   He climbed in beside me and closed the door.   We were soon under way with sirens blaring and lights flashing. 

Barry put his arm around my shoulders, "Glenn, I am sure he will be alright.   The doctors are acting out of an abundance of caution because he started seizing while he was under water."

I nodded my head as I reach over to hold Josh's hand.   Josh was still rigid.   I stroked his face with my other hand.   As if by magic, Josh's body suddenly relaxed and he went limp.

Barry said, "Let me check his pulse."  I released Josh's hand and made room for Barry to work.   He smiled, "I think he is through the worst of it now."   He picked up the radio and called the hospital to relay the new condition of his patient.   When he was finished, he watched Glenn gently stroking his son's hair.   He was struck by how much they looked alike.   He had always noted how much the two boys looked like their fathers but it was especially apparent to him at close range.   He asked, "May I ask you a personal question?"   Barry watched as the expression of love and extreme concern quickly change to one of suspicion.   It truly looked like a solid brick wall had been raised between them in less time than it takes to blink your eyes.

I responded, "You can ask but I can't promise to give you an answer."   I heard the hardness in my voice and tried to soften it as I said, "I am sorry, Barry, I didn't mean that to sound so harsh.   Go ahead and ask you question."

"Are you the boy's natural father?   He looks so much like you," Barry asked.

I looked at Barry for what seemed a long time before I answered, "I don't normally discuss such things with strangers, Barry.   Are you asking for medical purposes or purely out of curiosity?"

Barry looked like I had punched him in the face.   He quickly recovered and said, "I am sorry for asking.   I shouldn't have tried to pry into your personal life."

I reached over and touched his arm, "Barry, you have to understand that Rick and I have been through so much because of people who hate gays.   They have tried to take our children from us more than once.   As a result, I don't trust anyone.   In particular, I don't trust county employees because they have done the most damage to our family.   I know that you have come to our rescue twice now but that doesn't change the fact that you work for the very governmental entity that tried to take our children from us based on someone else's religious beliefs."

Barry nodded his head in understanding.   "I am sorry that you have been treated so shabbily."

"Shabby doesn't even begin to describe the way we have been treated," I said harshly.

Barry flinched at the sound of my voice.   "I am sorry, Glenn."

I could see that he was being sincere.   "Barry, you have to see it from our perspective.   We have learned from sad experience that so called "Christians" are our worst enemies.   You and your family attend church every Sunday do you not?"

Barry nodded his head, wondering where Glenn was heading with his question about his religious activities, "Yes, we do."

"We have seen your family decked out in their Sunday best as you have headed off to your church services.   You have a very good looking family, Barry," I said.

"Thank you, Glenn.   We try to teach our children to treat everyone with respect," Barry said.

"I think that is admirable.   However, many times those good intentions or teachings don't translate into reality.   Does your church approve of gays?" I asked.

Barry looked away from me, "No, they don't.   The church teaches us that it is a great sin to be a homosexual."

"Exactly!   That is what is taught by most "Christian" churches.   In fact, many of them advocate violence against gays even to the point of committing murder," I said.

"Our church teaches us to respect the rights of others," Barry said.

"Does that include allowing gays to be married?" I asked.

"No, it doesn't," Barry said.   This time he looked into my eyes as he said it.

"Does your church encourage you to take actions against gays and gay rights?" I asked.

Barry looked away from me, again, "Yes, it does."

"Now do you understand why I don't trust you or anyone else who professes to be a "Christian" or belongs to any other religious denomination that promotes anti-gay activities among its members?" I asked.

Barry nodded his head.   Fortunately for Barry, we arrived at the emergency room and we didn't have time for any more discussion.   The paramedics took Josh inside and I followed them.   While they were getting Josh comfortable, I pulled out my cell phone and rang Rick, "Rick, I am at the emergency room at the Mount Vernon Hospital."

Rick asked, "How is Josh?"

"I don't know.   He hasn't regained consciousness since his seizure started at the pool," I responded.

"I will be there in about 30 minutes," Rick responded, his worry apparent in his voice.

"Okay, drive carefully, sweetheart.   Josh and I will be fine until you get here," I said.

"Love you," Rick said.

"Love you, too," I responded and ended the call.

Next, a nurse showed up with a clipboard full of paperwork.   She said, "Mr. Lernier, we need you to complete these forms."

I nodded my head, "I understand."   I spent the next few minutes filling in the forms she handed me.   One form was about Josh's medical history another was the health insurance paperwork.  I reflected on how quick the hospital was to make sure they got paid.   The rest of the papers dealt this permission to disclose information for their purposes.    Afterwards, she came back into the emergency room to retrieve the clipboard.

She smiled, "Thank you.   Dr. Bingham will be in shortly."

I sat down next to Josh's bed and took his hand.   I looked into JJ's face and saw the traces of a smile playing around the corners of his lips.   I was glad he was resting but it had me worried that he hadn't recovered consciousness since the seizure.

Dr. Bingham came and introduced himself.   "Hi, I'm Dr. Bingham.   You must be this boy's father."

"Yes, I am," I said.

"Were you with your son when the seizure started?" he asked.

"Yes, I was," I replied.

"Can you tell me a little bit about what happened?" he asked.

I recounted what had happened at the pool.   "Josh has had a seizure once before," I said.

Dr. Bingham nodded his head, "Yes, I found that in our records.   That happened only a few weeks ago."

I nodded my head, "Yes but I thought the seizure was brought on by a high fever.   He hasn't been running a temperature today."

"Was he overheated in any way?" Dr. Bingham asked.

"I don't think so.   It was hot but he was splashing in the pool with the rest of the children," I said.

"It's possible that the difference in temperature could have caused the onset of his seizure," Dr. Bingham said.   He started checking Josh's vital signs.   When he put his stethoscope on Josh's bare chest to listen to his heartbeat, Josh's eyes fluttered open.   Dr. Bingham said, "Hello, little guy.   We are glad you are awake."

Josh looked around with his eyes wide with fear.   I said, "Josh, Daddy's right here."

His eyes focused on me and he said, "Daddy."  

I don't know how he managed to pack so much into that one word but it hit me like a freight train.   Josh climbed out of the bed and onto my lap.   I smoothed the hair on his forehead and said, "Everything is okay, Josh.   You had a seizure at the pool."

Josh said, "I was being a whale Daddy."

"I know, sweetheart.   You were doing a great job, Joshua," I said.   "You scared Daddy when you started having a seizure in the pool."

Josh looked up at me and asked, "Why are we here?"

"We need to make sure you are okay because you were under the water for a minute or so before I pulled you out of the pool," I explained.

"Can we go home now?" Josh asked.

"We have to wait until Dad gets here," I said.

Dr. Bingham's eyebrows rose in surprise, "You are the boy's father, aren't you?"

"Yes, I am.   My husband will be here in a few minutes," I said.

Dr. Bingham smiled, "I am glad to finally meet a married gay couple raising a family.   I can't wait to meet your husband."

His positive attitude towards us was so refreshing that I couldn't help but smile back at him, "Like I said, he will be here shortly."

Dr. Bingham looked at Josh and asked, "Josh, can I listen to your heart?"

Josh shrunk away from Dr. Bingham and clung to me as if his very life depended on it.   I hugged him and kissed the top of his head.   "Josh it's okay to let the doctor check your heartbeat."  

He shook his head and wouldn't let Dr. Bingham touch him.   Dr. Bingham handed me his stethoscope and suggested, "Why don't you put the scope on his chest?  You can pass it to me after he's comfortable with you doing it."

I nodded my head in agreement.   I took the stethoscope from Dr. Bingham and demonstrated how it worked for Josh.   "It won't hurt you one bit.   May Dr. Bingham listen to your heart?"

Josh nodded his head and turned around in my arms so Dr. Bingham could put the stethoscope on his chest.   Dr. Bingham asked, "Can you take a deep breath for me, Josh?"

Josh smiled and nodded.   He took a deep breath and puffed out his cheeks as he exhaled.   Dr. Bingham looked at Josh and said, "You are a natural, Josh.   I am glad you know exactly what to do."

Josh's smile grew wider as he seemed to warm up to Dr. Bingham.   "I am pretty good at swimming like a whale."

"That is pretty impressive.   I am glad to know you can swim like a whale," Dr. Bingham said.   "I am going to look inside your ears and then your nose.   Is that okay, Josh?"
Josh turned to look at me, "It's okay, Josh," I said with a reassuring smile.

Josh nodded his head and said, "I'm ready."

Dr. Bingham checked his nose and ears and then said, "Josh, I am going to ask you to look at my finger and I want you to follow it with your eyes.   Remember not to turn your head.   Use only your eyes."  Josh nodded his head in understanding.   Dr. Bingham proceeded to have him follow his finger with his eyes and then he asked, "Josh, how many finger am I holding up?"

Josh replied, "Two."

"Okay, how many now?" Dr. Bingham asked.

"Four," Josh said.

Dr. Bingham said, "Josh appears to be fine but I would like to have another MRI done of his head so we can compare it to the one done a few weeks ago.   Our assumption was that the seizures were caused by a high fever.   The one today could have been caused by Josh becoming overheated at the pool.   I think that taking a second look might reveal something we missed last time.   I can't promise that we have any more answers than we do now but it will give us something to compare against the last MRI and we can note any changes."

"I am okay with having the MRI," I said.   "I would like to wait and see what my husband says about it."

Dr. Bingham nodded his head, "I can go ahead and order the MRI while we wait for him to arrive.   If you don't agree to have the MRI done, we can always cancel it."

As Dr. Bingham started to leave, the nurse appeared with Rick.   Dr. Bingham looked up at Rick and smiled.   He shook Rick's hand and said, "I am Dr. Bingham, Mr. Lernier."

Rick said, "Nice to meet you.   How is Josh?"

Dr. Bingham gave Rick a quick summary and then asked if he would agree to have an MRI done of Josh's head.   Rick said, "I'm okay with that.   How long will it take?"

Dr. Bingham said, "The MRI won't take long but given how busy we are I would guess another hour or so."

"Can we schedule an appoint to return another time?" Rick asked.

"Sure.   I can write you a prescription for the MRI and you can schedule it for tomorrow.   However, I would recommend we get it done now since Josh is just recovering from the seizure," Dr. Bingham said.

I looked up at Rick and said, "Let's get it done now.   Todd dropped the children off with the Mrs. Reed and he took JJ home with him."

Rick thought for a moment and then nodded his head, "Okay, Dr. Bingham.   Let's get it done.   Is there any way we can move things along?"

Dr. Bingham said, "Yes, but you know as well as I do that things can get hectic around here if we have severe injuries arrive.   I can't promise you that you won't have to wait for a few hours."

Rick sighed in resignation, "Okay.   I guess we will settle in for a bit of a wait."

Dr. Bingham left and Rick asked me to relate to me everything that had happened to Josh.   When I was finished, I said, "Thank you for taking off of work to be here with me and Josh."

Rick smiled and leaned over to give me a kiss on the lips.   "Nothing would have kept me away."

Josh took the opportunity to put his arms around Rick's neck and said, "Hug me, Dad."

Rick lifted Josh off of my lap and wrapped his arms around our little boy.   He said, "How is my little buddy?"

"I am just fine, Dad.   Did you know that I can be a whale?" Josh asked his father.

"No, I didn't know you could be a whale.   Why don't you tell me more about what it's like to be a whale?" Rick asked his son.

Josh proceeded to expound upon the virtues of being a whale.   He had just finished talking when the nurse arrived.   "It's time for your MRI, Josh."   She looked at me and asked, "Are you going to accompany Josh?"

I looked at Rick, who shrugged his shoulders.   I asked, "Josh, who do you want to go with you to get an MRI?"

Josh said, "I want both you and Dad to come with me."

"Is that okay?" I asked the nurse.

She smiled, "Of course, you both are welcome to come with Josh."

We followed her into the depths of the hospital.   Rick assisted the nurse while she prepped Josh.   Josh said, "This machine is noisy.   I remember it from last time."

She laughed, "You are right, Joshua.   It can be very noisy but it won't hurt you."

Josh looked at her and said, "I know.   It didn't hurt me last time."

Rick asked, "We will be just over there, okay?"

Josh said, "Okay."

We stepped out of the room and waited.   A few minutes later, the nurse opened the door.   Josh came out and lifted his arms up to Rick who picked him up.   We followed the nurse back to the emergency room where we met Dr. Bingham, again.   He said, "We will call you with the results of the MRI.   Here are some instructions about what to watch for just in case Josh starts to have another seizure or exhibits any odd behaviors over the next few days.   You are good to go."

"Thanks, Dr. Bingham," I said.  

We left the ER and headed for home.   Rick reached over and put his hand on my thigh, "How are you doing, Babe?"

"I am fine, now," I said smiling at my husband.   "I am just glad Josh is okay."

Rick squeezed my leg reassuringly, "So am I.   I was pretty worried when Todd called me with the news.   He told me not to worry since you were watching Josh pretty closely and pulled him out of the water as soon as he went under."

"It was a good thing Todd and I were right there when it happened," I said.   "I am still worried about Josh.   I think he is okay but we have to watch him even more now than we did before today's events because we don't know when he will have a seizure again."

Rick nodded, "That is so true.   I thought the seizure Josh had a few weeks ago was a fluke.   Now, I am thinking it is more like what your sister had when she was his age."

"I agree.   I think we should take him to see the pediatrician about it.   There might be some medication or therapy we could get for Josh to help him," I said.

Rick looked in the rearview mirror and saw that Josh had fallen asleep in his car seat.   "Josh is out."

"I am glad he's asleep.   He has to be exhausted from all the excitement.   I know I am," I said.

"I think I know just the thing to take care of my sweetheart," Rick said giving me a wickedly provocative look that sent shivers of anticipation down my spine.

I responded with a grin of my own, "As long as it includes a special engagement in our bedroom, I am all for it!"

Rick nodded his head and then proceeded to tell me about his day.   I love listening to the details of Rick's work life.   It helps me stay connected to him.   I have come to know his co-workers through his eyes as well as the type of work he does.   Most of all, I make sure he knows that I am interested in everything about him no matter how mundane it might be.

I waved to our new guard, Jimmy, as we passed through the gate and pulled the car into the garage.   I got out of the car and then opened the back door to unbuckle Josh.   I picked him up and laid his head on my shoulder.  

When we entered the house, we were mobbed by three young boys.   JJ looked up at us and asked, "Is Joshy okay?"

"Yes, JJ, your brother is just fine.   He just fell asleep in the car that's all," I said.

Cameron asked, "Can we wake him up now?   We want to play army and we need him to help us set up the battlefield."

"How about we wait a bit before we wake him up?" Rick asked.

"Okay, but not too long," Cameron agreed.  

Skye said, "Our Dads are making dinner.   They said to send you into the kitchen."

Rick ruffled Skye's hair and said, "Okay, sport.   We will join them in the kitchen."

The three boys ran off into the play room; leaving us to make our way into the kitchen.   Todd looked up from the table where he was chopping vegetables.   He asked, "How is Josh?"

"He is okay," I responded.   "Thanks for taking care of the children for me."

"Not a problem!   That is what family does for family," Todd said with a smile.

Zach turned off the stove and removed the skillet from the burner before he turned to greet us.   "Hey guys!   I hear you had a little excitement today!"

"Yes, we did," I said.  

"What happened after you got to the hospital?" he asked.

I related everything that went on at the hospital.   I sat down opposite Todd with Josh on my lap.   Josh opened his eyes and asked, "May I have cookies and milk?"

I looked at Rick who nodded his head in approval, "Okay, but only one cookie because Uncle Zach and Uncle Todd have dinner cooking and we will be eating soon."

Zach retrieved the milk and poured a glass for Josh.   He handed the milk and one homemade chocolate chip cookie to Josh both of which disappeared as if by magic!   When he was done, Josh looked up at me and asked, "May I go play, now?"

"Sure but you have to wipe off the milk mustache first," I said with a smile.

Josh wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and announced, "There!   All gone!"

"Okay, little buddy, you can go play until dinnertime," I said.

As soon as Josh disappeared from the kitchen, Todd said, "There is a message from you lawyer on the answering machine.   He called while we were at the pool."

Rick and I looked at each other and then back to Todd.   "I wonder what has happened now," Rick said.   He stood up and walked over to the answering machine and hit the button to play the messages.

We listened closely to the message and then looked at Todd and Zach.   I asked, "What do you think about that?"

Todd and Zach looked just as surprised as I felt.   I looked at Rick who had a frown on his face.   "What are you thinking, Babe?"

Rick said, "I think we have them running scared.   That's what I think.   The fact that we were illegally held at the Canadian border for hours when we returned from our trip to St. Catharines due to falsified reports filed by their social worker must have caused the county to rethink their position.   It took quite a while to get the mess cleared up that Fairfax Child Protective Services created.   It was pretty demeaning to be handcuffed and held in a jail cell like common criminals.   It was even more traumatic for the twins since they were separated from us and placed in protective custody.   We have asked that criminal charges be filed against the social workers involved in the creation of falsified reports to Child Protective Services in addition to our civil lawsuit against the county."

"The whole situation is really ugly," I said.   "If I were the county, I would look to settle as quickly as possible."

"I think that is what this is all about," Rick said.

"I wouldn't let them off too easily if I were you," Zach said.   "They could just as easily renege on any agreement they make with you."

"I am aware of that," Rick said with a slight edge to his voice.

"I am just pointing out the obvious," Zach said.   "I don't want to see you hurt in any way."

Rick looked over at me, "I guess I will need to take off tomorrow so we can visit with our lawyer about this whole thing."

I nodded my head, "Yes, we need to find out what they are offering us to settle our court case against them."

Todd said, "I will take care of the children while you two are gone."

I looked at Todd and smiled, "You are the best!"

Todd grinned, "I know it."

Zach leaned over and kissed Todd, "We all know you are the best!"

Rick laughed and said, "I believe Zach chose very well."

Zach winked at Todd and said, "I did choose wisely when I married Todd."  

Rick walked over and stood behind me.   He put his hands on my shoulders and started to massage my neck and shoulders.   I leaned into his hands as he kneaded my tired and aching muscles.   "I love you, Rick," I murmured as I closed my eyes and let myself enjoy the feel of his hands on my skin.   When I was completely relaxed, Rick reach forward and ran his hands down inside of my tank top and tweaked my nipples causing me to moan in pleasure.   I opened my eyes and saw Zach and Todd had left us alone.   I was so lost in my enjoyment of Rick's massage that I didn't even hear them leave.

Rick pulled his hands out of my shirt and reached down to pull it over my head.   He then took my hands and pulled me to my feet.   He looked deeply into my eyes and said, "I love you, Glenn."   He kissed me and then he led me upstairs to our bedroom where he showed me how much he loved me!

*** ***
We were enjoying the heavenly bliss that making love always leaves us when we heard a knock on our door.   I kissed Rick and then reached down to pull up the sheets over us.   "Come in!" I called out.

The door opened and Josh walked in.   He came over to our bed and climbed up next to me.   His deep blue eyes looked into mine as he said, "I am tired Daddy.   Can I take a nap with you?"

I ruffled his blond hair and said, "Sure, sweetheart."   I pulled back the sheet to let him in.   He snuggled up next my chest and laid his head on my arm.   Rick spooned up next to me and wrapped his arms around both of us.     

I felt a hand on my shoulder and I heard someone talking to me.   I opened my eyes and saw Todd standing over us with a camera in his hand.   He grinned, "I snapped a picture of you three sleeping.   It was just too adorable to pass up.   It's time for to eat.   Dinner is on the table waiting for you."

I smiled and said, "Thanks for letting us take a nap, Todd.   I owe you big time."

Todd smiled, "I am sure you will have plenty of opportunities to pay me back.   Don't take too long making your way to the dinner table.   Cameron and Skye are absolutely ravenous."

I woke Josh first and gave him a kiss on the cheek.   "Time for dinner, Josh."

He opened his eyes and stretched his arms as he yawned.   "Okay, Daddy."  

He clambered down off of the bed and was out the door as if following the pied piper.   I rolled over and faced Rick who was already awake, "Are you ready to get up?" I asked.

Rick smiled, "I am hungry if that is what you are asking."

"Okay, let's go," I said.   I kissed him on the lips and then got out of bed.   I turned to help Rick get up and pulled on our clothes.   We made our way to the kitchen to find a delicious meal waiting for us.   Todd had made our favorite:   Baked Ziti with garlic bread and a green salad.

I looked at Todd and said, "Thank you for taking such good care of us, Todd."

"You are welcome.   Please take a seat," he said.  

Rick and I sat down across from Zach and Todd with a set of twins on each side of us.   I said, "I will say grace."   We reached out and held hands with person next to us on either side.   I said, "God, we thank you for saving Josh today.   We are also thankful for everyone who helped us today.   We are grateful for our food and ask a blessing on it, Amen."

Everyone said, "Amen."

I said, "I am glad that Josh is still with us.   I am especially grateful that Todd and I were watching the boys playing their games or I am afraid things would have turned out very differently."

Todd agreed, "Yes, we were very fortunate today."

After the boys were bathed and dressed in their pajamas, we read stories with them and then we took them upstairs to bed.   Rick and I knelt down beside their beds with them to listen to their prayers.    We both had tears in our eyes as we heard JJ say, "God, thank you for saving my brother.   He is my best friend and I really need him to be with me.   Watch over him and keep him safe.   Bless Dad and Daddy so they can help you watch over us.   Oh, and thank you for Uncle Zach, Uncle Todd, Cameron and Skye.   They are part of my family, too.   Bless all of us so we can be together forever.  Amen"

Josh hugged his brother and then he said his prayers.   We kissed them both on the cheek and gave them a hug before we tucked them into their beds.  Rick said, "Good night, boys.   We will see you in the morning."

"Good night Dad and Daddy," they chorused.

I turned on the monitor before I turned out the light.   We walked across the hall to our bedroom and I turned on the received so we could hear them across the hall.

We heard them talking to each other.   Rick was about to return to their bedroom and tell them to be quiet when I put a hand on his arm and a finger to my lips.  

Josh said, "I saw an angel today, JJ.   He was standing next to me when Daddy pulled me out of the water."

JJ responded, "I know.   I saw him, too."

Josh asked in amazement, "You saw him?"  

"Yes, I did.   He smiled at me and said, "Josh will be alright."   I knew then that you would be okay," JJ said.

They continued talking to each other as I looked into Rick eyes.   I said, "Todd said someone was watching over us today.   Now we know for sure that it was true."

Rick pulled me into his arms and held me tight.   He said, "We have been truly blessed today."

Prev To be continued . . .