Life within Love

January 13, 2011
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“Beautiful 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom cottage–style home,
nice yard, quiet neighborhood, call after 5, ask for Barbara”

This was it! This is what she had been looking for since their wedding 3 ½ months ago. She ran out of their small apartment building as she saw her husband’s old red Ford Ranger pulling in to the apartment parking lot. Her face was lit up with excitement and he smiled at seeing her this way, laughing a little to himself as she approached.

“I found it!” The words flowed out from her mouth as her eyes danced with joy, waving the classified section of the newspaper in the air as they met in the middle of the parking lot. “I found out home!”

The joy in his face quickly matched hers when he heard this. He quickly swept her off her feet and spun her around. Rain fell gently on the pavement around them as they laughed and danced.

“I love you,” he whispered, looking straight into her eyes, “With all of my heart. And I always will.” And with that he gently kissed her on the forehead and both of their faces lit up with smiles.

She was 19. She was petite, yet beautiful. She was optimistic, outgoing, and fun. She could literally make anyone smile with just a few words. Her name was Kelly. He was 21. He was the tall, dark, and handsome kind, but to Kelly he wasn’t just the cliché “tall, dark, and handsome” from the movies. He was strong and protecting. Kelly felt safe with him by her side. Nothing bad would ever happen to her as long as he was around. His name was Noah.

Noah and Kelly had been in love since high school. Everyone told them that they were crazy for getting married so young, but they didn’t care one bit. She was his world, and he was hers. They knew that they would not, and could not, ever stop loving each other, so why not get married? She knew he could always make her laugh, and he knew she would always be the one who made him smile even if the world was falling apart. They knew that no matter what, they would always find joy in life together. At this point, life was a huge open door for the newly married couple, and now that they had found the house they would make their home, their life together could truly start in Royce City, TX.

Three months had passed, and Kelly and Noah were driving a pickup truck load of cardboard boxes that held their belongings to Royce City, TX, eager to see their new home.

“What if it’s nothing like the pictures? What if the little white house in the picture doesn’t even exist? What if it’s nothing like the house we’ve been dreaming of?” Kelly nervously kept bringing up.

“It will be,” from Noah.

“What if the neighbors all hate us? What if the city is tornado prone? What if we live next door to a old haunted mansion??”

Noah laughed. “Quit worrying!” he chuckled taking her small hand in his own, while keeping the other hand on the wheel. “It’s going to be the home we’ve imagined since our first date 3 years ago. It’s going to be the home we raise all 6 of our children in. It’s going to be the home we grow old together in and sit out on the porch and drink lemonade telling stories to our grandchildren. Don’t worry, Kelly.”

All Kelly could do was look at him, with a smile peering through her anxiousness. He always knew just what to say. “I love you,” she whispered and held on to his hand even tighter.

After a 14 hour road trip, the couple finally arrived in Royce City, TX. They stopped at a run-down little gas station on the way in to town to ask for directions to 4685 Oak River Drive, and they quickly found it.

As they pulled in to the drive way of the little white cottage-looking home, they were speechless. This was it. They both knew that everything Noah had said in the car was true. This was their home.

The previous owners of the house, an elderly coupled, had recently passed away. Everything had already been moved out of the house and the key mailed to Noah and Kelly.

As they walked up the stone pathway to the white wooden door of the house, Noah swept Kelly off of her feet and they crossed the threshold to their new home. He set her down as they stood in the doorway of the quaint little house. The couple excitedly began exploring their new home and although the rooms were bare and the walls all the same dull peach color, they imagined the rooms filled with colors and furniture. They only saw the house for what it was going to be, not for what if was. They imagined their future in this home together and how wonderful that future seemed. They imagined little feet pattering up and down the halls. It was all so perfect.

They decided to explore the backyard, so Noah led the way to another little while wooden door with a small window that led to the back porch. They eagerly opened the door, stepped out on to the cold stone porch, and then stopped.

“Huh…” Kelly was puzzled.

“I wonder why they left this…” questioned Noah, also confused.

“How odd.”

“I like it.”

“It’s cute!”

Two chairs. Two cups. Two plates. One table. The table. It held the two cups. It held the two plates. Just sitting there on the porch.

Confused as to why Noah and she were analyzing this so intensely, Kelly noticed a note on the table in between the two porcelain plates, as well as the two porcelain cups. She walked over with Noah by her side and read the note aloud:

“Dear Kelly and Noah,

This house you now live in was the house of my dear parents. They were married for 63 years before they passed away. At this old table, in these two little white chairs, they began and ended every day of their marriage. This was where they started off in the morning, to tell each other of their plans for the day and remind each other how much they loved one another, and this is where they ended each day, laying down their burdens and joy at this table, and again telling each other how much they loved each other. I wanted to leave this gift to you. Let it be a reminder of true love. May your marriage be as strong as my parents’ was I wish the two of you a wonderful life together.


“Wow.” Noah wasn’t quite sure what else to say.


“63 years!”

“We can do it.”

The couple sat down in the two chairs, with the strong, circular table in between, still contemplating the content of what they had just read.

“Lets’s do it!” Kelly’s face lit up with a smile.

“Do what? Be married for 63 years?”

“Well obviously…” Kelly laughed, “But I meant we should start and end every day here like this couple! That way, neither of us will ever feel like we’re in this marriage alone, and we’ll always have that set time where we can come together and share all that’s going on and figure things out. It’ll be wonderful!”

And so they did. Starting that very evening, they sat at those chairs, at that table on the porch, at the beginning and end of each day. Whenever something was upsetting one of them, it was brought to the table. Whenever there was exciting news, it was brought to the table. The table saw joy, and the table saw tears. It was all there.

The table had not seen so much joy as it did that day in May, about four months after Kelly and Noah moved in to that house on 4685 Oak River Drive.

“I have something to tell you,” Kelly told Noah solemnly that afternoon when she called him while he was at work. Noah insisted that she tell him, but she refused. He couldn’t think about anything else for the rest of the day. He was so nervous as to what this news could be.

When he got home that evening, he sat quietly at the round table on the porch, his hands clasped together anxiously. Kelly came through the little wooden door with a pitcher of lemonade she had just made, and she laughed a little inside when she saw how nervous Noah looked. She forced a serious face as she sat down in her chair and laid her hand gently on top of his.

“I have something to tell you,” her eyes looked down at their hands that rested in between them on the table.



“Just say it, Kelly.”

“Fine…” then she allowed her face to light up with a huge smile. “I’M PREGNANT!!!”


“You heard me,” her joy was radiating through her smile.

Noah didn’t even know what to say. He kept trying to find a word to say, but every time he just stumbled over it, and smiled. He got up and swiftly picked up his bride from her chair and spun her around. They laughed and smiled and screamed with joy. It seemed like they had never experienced a joy like this, and didn’t think they would ever find one to match it.

“Isaac!” Kelly tossed out the idea, wide-eyed and excited.

“No, no, no…” Noah teased, “How about Noah Jr.?!”

“Hmm… We’ll see about that! What if it’s a girl?”


“Hmm… Elaina!”

Then both of them at the same time, “Elaina… I like it!”

They spent the entire night at the table, making plans for the arrival of their new baby. How would they decorate the nursery? How would they tell their parents? How would they know that to do with a new life in their hands? Their list went on and on, and as they talked through the night, a smile never left either of their faces.

Several months went by, and getting in to her chair at the table on the porch was no longer an easy task for Kelly. She felt like a whale, but Noah thought she looked more beautiful than ever. The cravings, the moodiness, the joy, and the excitement. The table held it all. No matter how sick she felt, or how tired he was from waiting on her every need, Noah and Kelly never skipped out on their time together at the table at the beginning and end of every day.

Twenty eight weeks in to the pregnancy, the table saw something totally different. Something that overrode the joy it had seen since the day Kelly told Noah about the existence of their soon-to-be baby girl.

Noah and Kelly could say nothing as they sat at the table on that May afternoon. Only a breath every once in a while broke the stillness. Noah’s hands were clasped around one of Kelly’s, resting on top of the table between the two of them. Kelly’s other hand stroked her stomach, where she could feel the restless movements of her baby girl. Their eyes watered, but not a single tear escaped. The words from the doctor that morning would not cease in rolling back and forth in the minds of both of them.

“It’s going to have to be either you or her,” the doctor had told them that afternoon. “You won’t both survive.”

Kelly broke the silence between her and Noah as they sat on the porch.

“I wasn’t going to let them take her away. I don’t care what they say; she’s our daughter, and I’m not going to let anything happen to her.”

“I know,” Noah spoke gently. He didn’t know what else to say.

“I don’t believe it! Any of it! They don’t know what they’re talking about! I don’t believe what they say! She’s going to come in to this world like any other little girl. I’m going to be her mom. We’re going to love her and she’s going to be the best older sister to her siblings that will come after her. I know it! I just do!” She wasn’t holding the tears back anymore, but let them stream down. Noah stood up and lifted her to her feet gently by her hands. He silently brushed a few tears off her cheek, which were quickly replaced by more. He kissed her forehead and put his strong arms around her. She let her face rest on his chest as her tears dampened his gray t-shirt.

“I love you,” he whispered, letting his head rest on top of hers. They stood there with his arms holding her as the hours rolled on and on. All they could do now was hope.

Eleven weeks passed, and Noah and Kelly were bundled up with blankets sitting at the table drinking hot chocolate, when Kelly bent over, holding her stomach with her eyes closed. Noah knew something wasn’t right.

“It hurts Noah…” Kelly whispered.

Without hesitation, Noah scooped her up into his arms and rushed her to the hospital, driving 75 the whole way. He called the doctor on the way there, telling them to be ready. When they arrived at the hospital, the high-risk pregnancy doctor, along a team of nurses, was waiting near a bed, ready for her arrival. Noah gently laid her in the bed and the nurses started rushing her down the hallway towards the emergency room. Noah tried to keep up, pushing his way through doctors and patients. He couldn’t let her out of his sight.

“I’m sorry, Sir, but please stay out here; we have to work quickly,” a nurse said forcefully when they reached the swinging doors of the pale emergency room and were pushing Kelly, in her bed, through the door.

“Just give me a minute!” Noah said brushing off the commands from the nurses and doctors and pushing through to his wife. He grabbed her weak hand and looked her in the eye, “I love you,” he whispered, and tears welled up in his eyes.

“Don’t worry Noah,” Kelly gently whispered, containing the pain for a moment and making out a smile, “I’ll be out there in a little bit with our little Elaina.”

“That’s right,” Noah forced a smile as well, grasping her hand even tighter. “I love you,” he repeated. She mouthed the words back at him as the doctors pushed him away and took Kelly in to the emergency. A nurse led Noah to a small, cold waiting room where he sat down and began counting time in his mind.

5 minutes.

10 minutes.

15, 16, 17 minutes.

Noah sat completely still in the hard wooden chair, his hands clasped together and head bowed. He whispered prayer after prayer, hoping he was being heard.

20 minutes.

25 minutes.

30 minutes.

43 minutes. A nurse walked in to the waiting room, a small pink bundle in her hands. Noah shot out of his chair to her in the middle of the room. With ever shaky step he took towards the nurse, he tried to read the expression on her face, but he couldn’t, it was too confusing. He didn’t understand.

“Meet your baby girl,” the nurse said smiling, offering the bundle towards him. Noah reached out with trembling hands and took his daughter into his arms. She was beautiful. She had her mother’s face but her father’s nose. She was quiet and still except for her little chest that gentle moved up and down with every breath. Noah had never seen anything so precious and delicate as this baby girl sleeping in his arms. For a moment there was nothing else in the world but this precious child in front of him. He felt like all of the love in his heart was for this little one. After a moment, his thoughts began flowing once again. He realized he was missing out on sharing this special moment with the love of his life.

“Where’s Kelly?” Noah spoke gently as to not wake the sleeping infant in his arms, “I want to see her.”

The nurse opened her mouth, then closed it again, her eyes plastered to the floor.

“Where is she?” Noah demanded, “She needs to hold her baby girl!” Now the tears were back and he was choking on his words. “I need to see her!” He was louder now. “WE need to see her!” Louder. “We all need to be together! As a family! We-”

“I’m sorry sir, she didn’t make it.”


“I’m sorry sir,” the nurse whispered, as she attempted to hold back her own emotion. “We did everything we could. We tried to bring her back for almost half an hour, but there was nothing more we could do. Her body just wasn’t strong enough. I’m sorry.” And she turned around and walked out of the small, cold room.

Noah still could not speak a word. The world froze. He fell to his knees and his tears dripped down on to the pink blanket wrapped around his daughter.

“Elaina,” he whispered after a few moments, his teary vision focused on the child in his arms. “I’m your daddy Elaina. I’m your daddy and I love you more than anything.” Elaina continued to lie there, asleep.

Noah didn’t move. He knelt there in the middle of the waiting room, tears dripping down on to the baby he continued to hold firmly. He wasn’t going to let go.

“Daddy! Daddy! Wake up Daddy! It’s time to get up for my first day of school!”

Noah heard little footsteps pattering down the hall towards his bedroom, and then felt the thud of a little girl jumping on to his bed.

“Oh is that so?” Noah smiled playfully, still lying in bed. “Are you sure you really want to go? ‘Cause I heard that a little girl named Elaina is going to be the coolest kid in kindergarten…”

“That’s me Daddy! That’s me!” The little voice squealed with her big blue eyes wide open. A huge smile it up her beautiful face as she attempted to push her father out of his bed.

“No way!! Really?”

“Yes, Daddy!”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes, Daddy!”

“Hmm… Well, in that case… Someone needs to get ready for school!” Noah jumped out of bed, swept his daughter into his arms and started spinning her around. Elaina giggled and screamed as he tickled her and pretended to drop her.

“No, Daddy, no!” She giggled, “We gotta eat breakfast so I can go to school!”

“Fine…” Noah teased as she drug him by the hand towards the kitchen. “What would my big girl like for breakfast?”

“Frosted Flakes!”

“You sure?”


“Well… alright.”

Noah poured her a bowl full of Frosted Flakes, and a bowl of Raison Bran for himself and set both bowls on the kitchen table.

“Why don’t we ever eat out there, Daddy?”

Elaina asked, pointing through the window to the table and two chairs sitting on the patio in the backyard. On it the little porcelain cups and plates still sat. They hadn’t been touched since the day Key passed away. Since the day Noah’s life was completely flipped around.

Noah froze. To him, that wasn’t just a table. It was a reminder of his marriage with Kelly. The relationship they were blessed to have. The place where their lives were laid down before each other.

“No sweetie,” Noah gently replied. “We don’t eat out there.”

“Why not?”

“Just listen to me, Elaina.”

“But Daddy, it’s so pretty…”

“No, Elaina!” Noah looked frustrated, but even little Elaina saw past the irritation. She saw that there was sadness in her daddy’s eyes. They were both quiet for a moment. Elaina slowly walked over to where her father was standing, and she reached up and took his big hand in both of hers.

“I’m sorry, Daddy,” the little voice said looking up in his eyes, “I love you.”

Noah’s heart skipped a beat when she spoke this. He heard Elaina’s words, but Kelly’s voice. Noah saw more of Kelly in Elaina every day.

“You know what… We will eat outside today. In fact, we will every day, Elaina. Every morning, and every evening, we will sit in those chairs at that table on the porch.”

“Yey!” Elaina sang, skipping to out to the table with the bowl of cereal in her hands. Noah watched, smiling, as Elaina climbed up into the chair that her mother had sat in at the beginning and end of every day, and then he went out and joined her, sitting in his chair.

“Tell me about Mommy!” Elaina said excitedly with a mouth full of cereal.

“Oh goodness… Where to start?!” Noah laughed without hesitation. Noah sat out there with Elaina, telling her all about Kelly and how much he loved her. In fact that conversation came up quite frequently in their meals at the table. They would talk and talk, just like Noah and Kelly had before she had to leave them.

Noah never let Elaina forget how thankful he was for her, and that she was the best gift that Kelly could’ve given him before she was gone.

They never missed their time together at the table. Although Noah had lost his bride, she had not left him without a new little life to love; a love that was never forgotten at the table.

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