Hello again, Sam!
Thankfully, I never had to leave my kids behind in the hospital. Granted, there were those nights after we brought them home when I sort of wished we could take them back just for the night. ;) Overall, though, I think you did a good job of letting Lexi and Albus sort of wear themselves out with the grind of rarely leaving the hospital so that it felt pretty natural when they settled into a rhythm of coming home to sleep -- albeit not well -- at night. You maintained just enough of the nervous tension while not letting yourself get overly melodramatic about things. They felt like normal human beings.
Breathing on their own is a huge thing for premie babies. Huge. I felt this immense sigh of relief right along with Al and Lexi.
Zac is okay.
It's the best feeling in the world. -- I can only imagine...
All of my friends, including Ewan, Will and, er, Rose, are here by the time Erik comes into the staff room -- I think you should call her "er, Rose" from here on out, including the sequel. It feels appropriate somehow.
I guess compared to all of the problems that Isaac could have had, deafness is relatively benign. It will make his life more difficult in some ways, but he'll still have one. He'll grow and learn and run and play and mostly experience life like other children. I think it added a bit of gravity and realism to the story, going this route. It's a happy ending, but not a cliche happy ending.
Aww, it's so awesome when Lexi gets to hold him for the first time! I remember that feeling, although I didn't have to wait very long for it. About three minutes, as I recall, but that's neither here nor there. It's a pretty amazing feeling and I think you captured the moment beautifully. And you threw in just a touch of Theo-based dry humor to keep the scene grounded.
The only thing I remember from our first homecoming with the boys that's missing from this scene is that befuddling sense of "OK, what now?" I guess Lexi has had a lot longer to mentally prepare for it than we did, plus she has a list of things that she needs to be keeping track of, like Isaac's asthma. Still, I will never forget sitting the boys' car seats down in their crib with the boys in them and stepping back -- quietly, because they were asleep -- and thinking, "OK, what do I do now???"
I really love the ending scene, with Al explaining all of these things about the family that Isaac can neither hear nor understand. I think it's a very common thing that new fathers do for especially sons. You feel like you can't get starting on that process of raising the child soon enough. It's completely ridiculous if you stop and think about it, but the instincts kick in way before they're needed.
I saw but a single typo:
I've just finished feeding him when Al comes home, sweaty and dirty. He push him away when he tries to kiss my cheek.
One more to go! It's bittersweet...
Author's Response: Hey!
As I've said before, a lot of this story is due to research and imagining my characters as people going through this to figure out how to write it, because I don't remember anyone in my family needing to stay in hospital, but I do know what it's like to sort of wish to take them back. Not as a parent, though, as a sibling and a cousin who babysits. :P
Er, Rose - Haha. I probably will when writing Lexi; it's Lexi trying and failing to think of her as part of her group of friends. Not just for Will and Al, but for the rest of the group and their family. She stuck with Rose now.
Isaac being deaf was something I had planned from the very beginning; lots of research was involved. I genuinely started to question what people would think if they ever saw my Internet history, not just for this story but for all my stories. With everything I had planned, all the problems, it seemed unrealistic to have him completely fine.
That moment were Lexi gets to hold him was one of the first 'scenes' in my head. I'm glad you think it worked out because I so wanted it to be as perfect written down as it did in my head. :P
Yes, Lexi has had over a month to prepare for bringing the baby home and figuring out what to do, thanks to Erik and Annie, her dad and the rest of the family, and with everything she still has to do, she won't let herself think 'what now?' because then she'd probably freak herself out. Albus, if the chapter had been in Albus' PoV, you definitely would have got 'what do I do now?' :D
Aww, I'm glad you love the end. It wasn't planned, but it just seemed like the thing to do, not just for Albus but in general. For Albus, it seemed like a good way of getting out that he does actually like his family even when he tries to avoid them. :)
Thank you so much for leaving a review!