Okay, everyone, this is it, the last chapter! It's been a hell of a ride for me to write this. I never expected it to be this long, and I never expected to have so many followers keeping up with Sid and Tanner's journey. I don't know how to even thank all of you for reading, commenting, and hanging with me. You're all amazing and my inspiration to continue writing. Keep tuned to this blog though. In the next week I'll be posting a poll. I'm going to start a new story, but I have a few ideas running through my head and I don't know which I like best, so I'm going to let you decide! I'm still debating whether to put who the leading male in the story will be, because I don't really want that to affect the poll. I want it to be about the story line. What do you think? Should I put who he is, or should I leave that out and surprise you? Thanks again to everyone! Here we go.....
Sidney felt the nerves even before he walked out of the house. Something was just telling him that tonight was the night. He walked over to Tanner, who had been on bed rest for the better part of the last month now, and gave her a kiss before saying goodbye. He smiled and waved over at Grace, who was now Jordan’s fiancée. At least having someone with Tanner made him feel a little better. She was scheduled to be induced in two days when he didn't have a game, but when had anything with him and Tanner gone according to plan?
He drove in to the rink and went through his typical pre-game ritual. Another season had just recently started and there were new faces this year. Even so, Sidney felt like this could be the team that would bring the cup back to Pittsburgh. He skated out onto the ice for warm ups and tried to focus on the upcoming game. He couldn’t help but be distracted. He just felt it.
The first period passed without a problem. The team was up by 1 and they were playing well against last year’s Cup winners. The second period, however, changed everything. That’s when it happened. The period was hardly going when he felt the tap on his shoulder, and he was already standing up when Dana gave him the news.
“Get to the hospital, Daddy,” he joked with a smile.
Sidney rushed off the bench and ran as fast as he could down the runway and to the locker room. He could hear the congrats and well wishes being yelled at him by his teammates as he went, but he didn’t have time to stop and respond. Well, he probably did have time, but he wasn’t going to risk it.
He ripped off his uniform and equipment before hopping into a 30 second shower just to get the stench of sweat off of him. He threw on the jeans and shirt he’d kept in the locker room, just in case this happened, so he wouldn’t have to deal with a suit and tie. Car keys in hand, and a wildly beating heart, he jogged out to his car, smiling and waving to the security guards who called out their congratulations too.
Sidney immediately called Grace to tell her he was on his way and find out what room Tanner was in. He made it to the hospital in record time, and ran all the way to the room number Grace had given him. Tanner grinned up at him as soon as he was through the door and he grabbed her hand as he placed a kiss on her forehead.
“How are you feeling?” he asked.
“Nervous. Giddy. Painful,” Tanner joked. Sidney heard a commotion from behind him and turned to see that the Penguins game was on TV. He smiled when he saw that the team had scored another one while he was gone.
“I can’t believe you’re watching this right now,” he commented.
“Hey, my fiancé is playing,” Grace chastised him.
Sidney took the seat next to the bed and greeted the doctor who came in to say hello. They talked a bit about what to expect, procedure, and such before they were left to watch the remainder of the game. Sidney and Tanner laughed when they heard the announcement during the game about why he was no longer on the bench and playing. Tanner gave his hand a squeeze and he gave her another kiss.
Lisa, Kelly, and Hailey, who had flown in just for this occasion a few days ago, joined them a little later on to say hi. Tanner’s brother and his family weren’t too far behind. Tanner’s parents would be there in the morning, and his the next afternoon since they were coming in from much farther away. He’d had to make his teammates promise to hold off the visits until after the baby was born because he didn’t need the chaos they would bring.
Sidney sat there through the wee hours of the morning as Tanner went in and out of pain and waited for the time they could meet their son. He was trying to be patient and supportive for Tanner, but he just couldn’t wait to hold him. Finally it was time, and Sidney stood by Tanner, giving her words of encouragement and telling her how much he loved her.
Despite all the waiting they'd done the last 9 months, and the last 18 hours here in the hospital, it seemed the birth itself went by in a whirlwind. He watched the doctors take his son to check him out and make sure everything was okay as he kissed Tanner and told her he loved her. He half held his breath as he waited, and let it out in a big relieved sigh when they were told that they had a healthy 7 lb 4 oz baby boy.
Their son was handed to Tanner who immediately teared up at the sight of him. Sidney watched her tell him how much they loved him while marveling at how tiny he was. He couldn’t keep the smile off of his face as he saw as much love in Tanner’s eyes that he felt.
“Welcome to the world…..”
“Jackson,” Tanner interrupted him. Sidney looked at her in surprise. That was not the name they had decided on. She glanced up at him.
“Jackson? Where did that come from?” he questioned.
“I decided I like it and it’s going to be our son’s name. You really want to question me after I went through 18 hours of labor and pushed a son who has the same broad shoulders as you out of my vagina?” Tanner was giving him a look that dared him to argue. He rolled the name around his head for a second before smiling.
“I like Jackson,” he decided. She smiled up at him before glancing back down at the little boy squirming in her arms.
“It’s a boy! Jackson Patrick Crosby,” Sidney announced walking into the waiting room where both of their parents now were. He smiled and accepted all the hugs and handshakes from everyone before making his way back in to see his wife.
Sometimes in life, things don’t always go the way you’ve hoped or planned. There are always tangles and forks in the road with no machete or map to guide you. You take one path, beat back the overgrowth, and hope it was the right decision. There are always times that you look back at a fork or two and wonder what life would have been like if you’d taken the other route, but then again, what’s the point? You can’t go back and take it, so you should just move on and make the best of the road you did take.
When I look back at those forks in the road I look back in much different ways than a lot of people. I look back in fear. What if I’d taken the other road? Would it have gone as well as the one I did take went? There’s just no way. There’s no way I made any wrong decisions.
If I’d chosen a different road I may no longer be alive. Just imagine. If I’d chosen to forgive Sidney for lying to me on the spot, through a long list of intertwined events, I may have found the cancer too late. That would have meant that I wouldn’t be standing here, looking through the window in the hospital at my beautiful baby girl. That’s terrifying.
“Jesus, can you two make an ugly child?” Hailey asked from her position next to me. I laughed.
“Because you and Ryan have done so poorly,” I pointed out when mentioning her two children.
“Yeah, but this is child number four for you guys. You’d think one in there would get a negative gene or two.”
“Gee, thanks a lot!” I shot at her. She wrapped her arm around me and laughed.
“How’s she doing?” Sidney asked, making his way towards us.
He placed a kiss on my forehead before joining us. I watched the look in his eyes change at the sight of her. Of course he was thrilled at having three sons, but this was his only daughter, his little girl. I could already tell he was going to spoil her and she was going to be a daddy’s girl.
“She’s perfect,” I replied.
We stood there in silence for a while after Hailey had moved off, just watching her sleep. Despite having three children before her, it was never any less moving or exciting just to watch them. I’d do anything to be able to just be around all of my kids. A short time later, our three sons rushed over and Sidney lifted our youngest so he could see through the glass as he pointed out their little sister. I glanced down at my family and tears filled my eyes.
“What’s wrong?” Sidney asked when he saw.
“I’m just so…..”
“If you say lucky one more time, I’m going to be forced to leave you,” he joked.
I rolled my eyes at him, but laughed anyway. I guess I had overused that word in our relationship. I couldn’t help it though, because it was true. I’d somehow managed to not take a single wrong turn in my life. I couldn’t have if my life had ended up like this. I had everything I’d ever wanted and more than I could have ever expected. There just wasn’t another word to describe it all. I was lucky.