Sunday, July 31, 2016

Chapter 49

As if life wasn't stressful enough for parents of three small children and three young adults, they decided to plan both Daniel's and Noah's appointments on the same day.

Luckily Noah didn't go too far away for college, unlike Ava and Caleb had done.

After breakfast they got all three children into the car and ready to head to see Daniel's pediatrician. Over the last three years they had seem him very often, especially when Daniel was late with walking and talking.
It had been a whole week since he had said anything.

Sarah felt disappointed for having missed this moment of his life and Richie knew it even though he tried to console her and assure her that Daniel would talk again.

Once at the doctor's office, Daniel held on tight to his mom's hand, not wanting to let go at all while Richie sat with the twins to let them play until they were called.

"Daniel Sambora?" Was finally called and the family got together and into the office.

"How can I help you today?" The doctor asked once they were settled on multiple chairs and Daniel was happy once again in his mom's arms.
"Daniel finally talked." Richie said. "Only three words but he said them."
"Has he talked any since then?"
Richie shook his head.
"Was it any kind of babbling or correct pronunciations?" The doctor continued to ask.
"He said them very clearly." Richie said. "Made a nice little sentence. He said 'Daddy is home'"
The doctor nodded. "We already cleared out a hearing impairment, this means we can most likely rule out a problem with speech as well." The doctor sighed. "I think it would be a good idea to see a children's therapist again."
Richie sighed, he didn't want to hear this again. "The last time we did that they said he was too young to make a diagnosis about anything."
"I recommend seeing someone that specializes in children with autism."
"Autism?" Richie asked, looking over at Sarah who looked confused as well.
Nodding again, the doctor continued to explain. "He shows a lot of very typical symptoms. Delayed in speech and other developments. Very attached to some people but very shy to others. He's very smart and very sensitive to music at such a young age. In my opinion, he might be on the autism spectrum, a small part of autism but only a therapist can confirm that for us."
"And what if he does have autism?" Sarah asked. "What does that mean for him?"
"There are more and more cases of autism every year. There is no cure for it and he can live a perfect life with is as long as he gets a little bit a guidance when he needs it."

Three hours later they once again sat in an office for another conversation that probably nobody wanted to have.

"Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Sambora, I'm Mrs Murray, I'm Noah guidance counselor. I know Noah is an adult and has all the rights to privacy but I have talked to him as well and we both decided we wanted to talk to you as well. So since we noticed Noah being a little bit of a loner when he started at the beginning of the semester, he's come to me bi-weekly for some talks and in those last 6 months we've talked about many things."
Richie and Sarah both didn't see where this was going. Were they just being caught up on the conversations their son had had with his counselor?
"I'm sure you'd recognize the things we talked about, how Noah is very captured in his books, those fantasy novels are almost like a second world to him. His social skills lack, this is why we started these conversations but so far he hasn't made any new friends. He is very smart though, his grades are amazing and he is doing very well in all of his classes."
"Yes, yes, we know he's a great kid. He doesn't make friends easily, he used to just tag along with his sister and brother but otherwise he just stays home but why would you call us in here just to tell us that he has no friends but hey at least his grades are great." Richie said frustrated.
"A few weeks ago Noah went to see a psychologist and last week we went over the results together and he decided that I should tell you guys the results as well."
"A psychologist? Why would he have to see a psychologist?" Sarah asked concerned.
The counselor nodded, understanding their concern. "We both had a feeling that there might be an underlying reason to Noah's difficulties to making friends and other social skills. As the conversation with the psychologist revealed Noah is on the autism spectrum."
Richie sighed. "We just got told this about our other son. What is autism and how do they both have it?"
"It's a genetic mental disorder, in case of Noah, it's a mild condition. It's also called high functioning autism. Which generally means that he will lack in some skills, such as social skills but excel in others, for some people this means music or maths or almost anything else. Because of the lack of social skills some people with autism prefer to live in their own world instead of the real world, other than the love for his books, this is probably why Noah is always deep into a book."

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Chapter 48

After a few minutes, he picked Daniel up and carried him back to the bedroom where Sarah was getting up.

"When did he start talking?" Richie asked. Sure that the twins their crawling had been a surprise but Daniel talking after three years of silence, Sarah wouldn't keep something that they had worried about so often from him.
Sarah looked confused at him. "He doesn't talk, Richie. That's not funny."
"He does talk. He just talked. He said 'daddy's home'."
"Really?" Sarah asked surprised, Richie nodded vigorously. "Danny? Say daddy again." She asked him, wanting to hear him talk too.
Daniel cuddled closer into Richie's chest, not wanting to say a word.

Sarah looked up at her husband, hopeful. "What was it like? What did he say? What does his voice sound like?"
Daniel grunted, wanting to be let down. Richie understood him and put him down on the floor, Danny ran from the room.
"What was it like?" Sarah asked again, they both knew where Daniel had gone to and didn't worry about him.
"Very sweet and so cute." Richie said happily, a chuckle escaping. "It was a little high pitched, boyish. I guess what a three year old boy would sound like."
"I can't believe I missed his first words."
"He'll say more words." Richie said, trying to comfort his wife. He saw the tears well up in her eyes and pulled her close against him. "He will."
"You don't know that. It took him three years to say anything, who knows how long it'll take for him to say anything else."
"I know" Richie stroked her back, knowing how she felt about the whole situation.
Sarah sighed. "You know what this means."
"We see the pediatrician and announce that our son finally talked."
Sarah nodded against his chest.
"And see the children's therapist again." He added. "It'll be okay. Even if there is something wrong, we'll know what to do. I don't want to face it either honey."

Later that evening Richie was looking through the mail, checking what he had missed while he was gone. So far it was mostly bills.
"That reminds me," Sarah said, "I got a letter from Noah's college, a therapist there has been talking to him and wanted his parents to come in for a conversation."
Richie frowned. "That's odd."
"Yeah but after the last time, I think we should go. I never want to see my son full of bruises because of bullies ever again."
"We'll go." Richie said, completely understanding Sarah's concern.

Chapter 47 sort of

2 years later

Richie walked into the house, happy to finally be home again. "Sarah?" he asked as he walked into the front room, wondering which way he should go to find his wife. Getting no answer, he checked the living room first and continued on to the kitchen, then went up the stairs and to their bedroom.

That's where he found his beautiful wife asleep on top of their bed. He sat on the edge of the bed and gently touched her shoulder. "Sarah?" he asked gently.

She stirred and opened her eyes. "You're home?" She asked confused.
"Took an earlier flight home, was worth a little less sleep. Just to see you."
Sarah smiled and sat up. "Everyone is still asleep though."
"That's okay, I've got you." Richie answered as he moved over to cuddle his wife.

Just until he heard crying from the bedroom.

"Guess nap time is over." He sat as he got up from the bed.
"I can get it, you're tired from travelling."
Richie heard nothing of that. "I haven't done any parenting in three months, this is all for me." He walked out of the bedroom.

Gently pushing the door open, he turned on the light and walked over to the two cribs in the middle of the room.

"Hi my babies." He said to his twin babies as they both happily looked up at him. He picked up his son and cuddled him close before letting him sit on the floor as he got his daughter and cuddled her just as much. As he wanted to pick up his son as well to go back to Sarah, he was already crawling away. Impressed with his skill, he let him do so and followed him to the bedroom where Sarah was still in bed waiting for them.

"I see you noticed Adam started crawling."
"I see, I'm impressed. What about Abbey?"
Sarah chuckled. "You should put her down."

He let his daughter down on the floor and she crawled right over to the bed and pulled herself up on the sheets where Sarah picked her up.

Sitting down again, "They've grown so much." He smiled at them both, so happy of what they were able to do now. "What about Danny?"
"He's doing just fine." Sarah said.
Sarah nodded.
"Guess I'll see when he wakes up." He pulled Adam onto the bed and played with both of them.

He was very happy to his smallest children again, three months had been a long time to miss them. They had grown a lot in the few months, they weren't crawling yet when he left for his tour but now, they were just crawling around, happily, with no care in the world, just happy to see their dad again.

"He still makes me think of dad every time I see him." Richie said, looking at his son who carried the name of his grandfathers. Just like his sister carried the names of their grandmothers.
"I know, Abbey makes me think of mom as well."
Richie looked over her, remembering how hard Sarah's mom passing away had been on her. The whole reason they had decided the names for the twins. She seemed alright right now. He hoped she was.

"Daniel's up." Sarah said.
"What?" Richie asked, not hearing a sound.
"He's up, his breathing changed. I can hear it on the baby monitor and his sheets moved."
"Do you have it on that breathing setting again?" Richie asked, remembering when she used to do that when all of them were babier, just to be sure to hear their breathing.
"It's the only way to know he's awake without checking." She turned the monitor off for the time being.

Richie got up and walked to the room across of them, pushing the door that was always open an inch, open all the way. "Danny?" He asked carefully, making the boy turn around immediately to see his dad.
"Daddy is home." His small little voice said.
Mesmerized and amazed Richie was taken aback. He walked over to his little toddler sized bed and sat down on it, pulling his son into a hug. "Daddy's home." He said, holding him so tight.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Chapter 46

"Richie?" Sarah whispered.

He heard his name from afar, a shady distance that he couldn't quite reach just yet.


She sounded to closer to him, her voice clearer and sweet as it always was. He felt a warm hand cover his cheek, he leaned into it and slowly opened his eyes noticing Sarah looking down at him.

"Alright there?" She asked.
He rubbed his eyes and looked up. "I'm sorry, I fell asleep."
"Yeah," she agreed, "what's got you so tired?"
Moving to face her, he stretched, heard a few joints pop but felt better and more awake. "I don't know, just tired."
"Everyone's tired today. Ava's in her room, so is Noah. Why aren't they in school?"
"Oh Ava got into some argument and got sent home." Richie explained quickly.
"What about Noah? I keep trying to ask him what's wrong, he can barely move but he says he's fine."
Richie nodded, "yeah that's why I figured I'd let him stay home. Muscle pains or something, growing pains."
Sarah let it slide, assuming it was reasonable. "What happened with Ava then?"
He sighed and sat up on the couch. "She defended somebody else and got into trouble for doing so."
A small smile appeared on her face. "Ava's a good girl."

Richie nodded, then grabbed his wife's hand and gently pulled her to sit down next to him. He leaned in slowly and kissed her soft lips, his moving to her belly where their child was still growing.

"Danny taking a nap?" He asked in between kisses and noticed Sarah nodding her answer as they continued their kisses.

After a few minutes, he pulled back, looking down at her, mesmerized by her beauty. The love he felt towards her was still as strong as when he asked her to marry him.

"I love you baby."
She smiled, kissed him gently, "I love you too."
He pulled her close and cuddled. "How's being pregnant today? Resting enough?"
Sarah sighed, "Of course I am, I've got nothing to do all day but play with Danny."
"He's happy with the attention."
Sarah shrugged. "Sometimes he just looks like he doesn't care for it. I'm not sure if he's interested in playing sometimes."
"So he just wants to cuddle and relax."
Shaking her head, she answered, "no not even that. He'll avoid looking at me, like he spaces out and just stares at his toys instead of playing."
"So he's sleepy."
She sighed. "I guess."
"Let him be, he's growing up, almost a year old now."
"Did you get his present yet?" Sarah remembered.
"I thought you wanted to come with me to get it?"
"Bed rest." Sarah pointed out.
"One day out will be fine." Richie answered quickly. "You know what? I'll find somebody to watch him for a day and we'll go out together, get him his birthday presents, get everything for a party and if we're lucky and have some time left over, we could spend it together, just the two of us. No kids, just us."
Sarah smiled. "That sounds nice." She reached in and kissed him gently again. Her husband, still as sweet as always, a little more stressed but still just as sweet.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Chapter 45

The drive to the high school was only a few minutes. Ava at the principal's office, she had always been a good girl at school, it amazed him as to what had happened and what had caused it. He just couldn't believe Ava would get into a fight.

Next to him, Noah was sitting in the car, trying to read a big book but having trouble holding it up as he was holding it to read.

"Alright there?" Richie asked as he drove to the high school, almost there.
"Yeah." Noah said and continued reading.

At school, he parked up at the teacher's parking, not caring for a visitor's parking, he didn't want Noah to walk too far anyway.

Both of them were lead into the principals office right away.

"Ah Mr. Sambora, glad you could join us too." The principal stood up to shake his hand.
"No worries, we just finished at the hospital anyway." He answered sarcastically. "What happened?" He asked as he sat down, noticing more parents in the room and more children than were his.
"Miss Sambora was caught starting a fight with these two boys here. It's very unusual of Ava to do something like this." The principal explained.
Richie nodded, "It is, I'm sure she has a good reason to start a fight then."
"I do."
"Miss Ava." The principal interrupted. "We don't believe there's ever a good reason to start a fight."
"Provocation." Richie interrupted.
"It was." Ava started again.

The principal gave him a stern look, just as she would to any of her students. The two boys' parents started protesting, agreeing with the principal, that Ava was wrong for starting a fight.

Instead of listening to everyone argue, Richie interrupted them all, "Maybe we should listen to Ava and figure out what happened?"
"She attacked my son. That's what happened." One of the mothers answered.
"I hardly believe that." Richie turned to Ava to hear her story.

Ava looked at the principal, who didn't protest this time and started off her story. "I heard them talking about beating up someone Friday night during the game, like it was an accomplishment or something. I just put to pieces together and figured out it was Noah that they had beated up. They were bragging to each other how they throw punches and kicked him while he was down."

"Are you sure of this?" The principal asked seriously.
"Yes, I told them they were lowlifes for bragging about something like that, that's when they came at me so I tried to defend myself."
The principal looked back at the two teenage boys, she didn't need any more explanations than Ava had just delivered.

Richie stood up and helped Noah up, "So I'm guessing you will take the right actions from here on? I think Noah deserves some rest and if you need something to think it over," He handed over the medical report, "two broken ribs. I'm taking Noah home a couple days to recover and it's up to Ava what she wants to do the rest of the day but I hope these two punks get expelled."
The principal nodded. "They will be expelled, this behavious is unacceptable, that is not the morals we teach at this school. If Ava wishes, she may take the day off."
One of the boy's parents spoke up. "His daughter gets a day off and my son gets expelled, where is the sense in that? Is it because he donated more money to the school during the last fundraiser, I think my son has a right to explain himself too." She looked down at her son, who shook his head.
"Be glad I won't send you the medical expenses for this." Richie said as he walked out with his children.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chapter 44

Monday mornings were usually a little more stressful, getting last bits of homework ready, making sure everyone has breakfast and lunch and then get everyone off to school. But this Monday morning, Richie wasn't bothering. Ava was at Heather's, he didn't need to worry about that. He wasn't going to wake up Noah to go to school either. He still needed to figure out what had to happen at school. Noah was still in a lot of pain, he couldn't send him to school like that.

Instead, he stayed in bed, closely snuggled to Sarah's warmth.

Sarah didn't protest and hugged him back, sharing the large bed together but only taking up a small space in it.

"I love you." She said, reaching to kiss his lips gently.
He smiled against her lips. "I love you too."
"Danny's gonna wake us up." Sarah whispered to him.
"Hmm, I know."
"Are you taking Noah to school?"
Richie nodded. "He's got a free period to start with."
"Oh, that's nice on a Monday."

He didn't want to lie, but he knew that stressing Sarah out was the last thing they needed right now. So far, he had everything under control and was handling the situation just fine. Sure Sarah had noticed Noah had been hurt but they didn't give her the exact details. Noah didn't want to tell her anyway.

After breakfast, Richie continued his sceme and got Noah into the car, ready to go. He told Sarah of a few things he needed to handle around the city before he'd be back.

The only planned to finally take Noah to the emergency room. At first, he had figured it wouldn't be so bad but after the weekend and seeing Noah in pain, he started to worry about broken ribs. He didn't know what he had to do when there were actual bones. Those bullies had to be punished.

Noah sat in his seat, trying to hold a book to read as Richie drove.

Richie looked over at him a few times, seeing how he was struggling to move his arm at all, hardly able to hold the book at all.

He sighed and shook his head gently, keeping his eyes on traffic in front of him. It hurt him to see Noah in pain.

A nurse walked into their cubicle, a doctor followed right behind her. They both looked at Richie for a second, then focused on Noah.
The doctor showed the x-ray results. "Two broken ribs."
He continued in medical talk and Richie tried to understand him but all that mattered was that there were two broken ribs. His son had two broken ribs, broken by bullies.

Both the doctor and nurse glanced at him for a second, then back to Noah.

"Is everything okay Noah?" The nurse asked gently, sounding worried.
Noah frowned at her. "Sure."
"Are you sure this happened at school?" She asked.
Richie frowned, starting to get confused at where the nurse her suggestions were going.
"You don't need to be scared." She continued.
Richie spoke up, "What are you talking about?"
"Two months ago he came in with a broken arm, now there's broken ribs. These are obvious signs of violence against him."
"Yeah." Richie agreed. "By bullies at school. That's why I want you to write a medical report on this so I can take it to the principal and make sure those bullies get expelled."

Along with the paper worked, and Noah a little patched up, Richie left the hospital. Keeping a close eye on Noah, he had gotten painkillers but the worrying for his son wasn't solved by giving him painkillers.

He helped Noah into the car and sit comfortably before he got in himself.

"Alright?" Richie asked him, making sure he made eye contact.
Noah glanced away. "Yeah."
"Okay." Richie decided. "Then we're going to school to talk to the principal. You gotta tell us who these bullies are so they can be punished for this."
Noah didn't answer.

Before Richie could say anything more or start the car, his phone started ringing.

"Sarah? Everything okay?" He asked after reading the caller ID.
"Yeah I'm fine. The school just called, Ava's in the principals office."
"What? Why?"
"I don't understand. They wouldn't tell me anything else than she got into a fight."
Richie frowned. "A fight? Ava wouldn't do that."
"I know. Do you have the time to go?"
"I'm on my way."

Friday, March 13, 2015

Chapter 43

He gently knocked on Noah's bedroom door.

No reply, so he knocked again.


He should just tell Sarah, she had known Noah much longer than he had and had a closer relationship with him. Everyone knew that. Sarah had to rest, she didn't need any stress at the moment, for the sake of their baby.

"Noah, please open up."

Getting no answer, once again, he carefully opened the door. Immediately he heard Noah get onto his bed.

"Sorry." Richie said as he walked in.

Noah sat on his bed, sheets pulled up high and holding a pillow closely to his chest.

"What's wrong?" Richie asked, genuinly worried about what he had seen.
"Nothing." Noah answered but his lie didn't sound convincing.
"Right, because the bruises I just saw are nothing. Please tell me what happened."

He was met by silence. Knowing how Sarah used to have trouble with trusting him and telling him stories of her past, he didn't want Noah to hide away. Things needed to be said and fixed.

Richie moved over to the bed and sat down on the end of it, facing Noah.

"Those two kids that wanted to hang out with you during the game, weren't your friends, were they?"
Noah shook his head.
Richie sighed, realizing the mistake they had made earlier that night. "I'm sorry."

A quiet moment, made Noah feel even more tense.

"How long have they been bullying you? Why didn't you talk to us so we could help fix this?" He didn't understand how they had missed this going on in their son's life. "You should have told us. I gotta phone the school and talk about this."
"No." Noah said immediately.
"Why not? Those guys deserve to be expelled. School is for learning, not to beat up other students. I thought a private school would protect you guys a little more and prepare you for real life. There's always going to be assholes in real life but you don't let them just do this to you. You're my son, I can't let them do that to you."
Noah merely shrugged, not feeling the same way about the whole situation.
Richie moved closer on the bed, making sure he held Noah's eyes. "No one can do this to you. No one should make you feel like they can do this to you."

Richie sighed and got up from the bed.

"Please don't tell mom." Noah said quickly.
He sighed again, the thought of Sarah having to rest still in his mind but how could he not tell his wife what was going on with her son? "I'll be right back."
"Please don't tell her." Noah repeated. "I don't want to disappoint her."

On his way downstairs Richie tried to think of what that had meant. How could he ever disappoint his mother?

Back in the bedroom, he gave Noah an ice pack and sat down on the bed.

"How would you ever disappoint your mother? Or me?"
Noah shrugged, realizing how much that hurt him, He did as Richie suggested and held the ice to his ribs. "Ava and Caleb are different, I know they are. They have friends and they hang out and have fun. I don't do that."
"You don't have friends?"
"Not really. Some online. Maybe I like one or two people at school."
"The amount of friends you have isn't going to make a difference in anything. You're a great person. You're incredibly smart, very sweet to your little brother, you always know how to help out. Maybe not the most social person, but a great person." Richie sighed again, collecting a little bit of courage. "That's why I never want you to cut yourself again."
Noah's face froze.
"You think I missed those cuts on your ankles? I know bullies and I'm pretty sure they didn't grab a razor in the shower and cut your ankles."
"Don't tell mom." Noah repeated again.
"I won't." Richie agreed, "But I'm serious, I never want you to do that again, it doesn't solve anything. Hurting yourself isn't a way to deal with how people hurt you and how hurt you feel. There's how many doors in this house?"
"Thirty-six." Noah interrupted.
Richie frowned but continued. "Okay, Thirty-six doors, that's thirty-six doors that you can slam with anger, hit something, break something or tear something apart but never harm yourself. You're too important for that. You have to believe that." Ending the conversations, he paused and took a deep breath. He had never expected he had to have that kind of talk with any of his children in his life but there they were. "Take some painkillers for the pain, keep the ice on and I will talk to the principal at school."

He wished Noah good night and hoped to God that their conversation would have an impact on Noah. He couldn't believe what had happened tonight. How could Noah think he'd disapoint them? They were both very proud of him.

Quietly he checked on Daniel, sound asleep. Suddenly the thought of, little children, little problems and big children, big problems popped into his mind. They've had little problems with their little child and now how big problems with their big child. He loved all four of them as much as the other, and soon to be five.

Across, the hallway, he walked in his own bedroom and joined Sarah in bed.

"Everything okay?" She asked as she snuggled up to him.
"Yeah." Richie smiled down at her and kissed her gently.