“Try a different tool, buddy,” I tell my three-year-old son who’s playing with the woodworking toy set. Hudson is attempting to work the screw loose with a hammer. I’m in the den with my three boys, watching over them as they play.
“I’ll help,” Declan, my six-year-old, confidently proclaims. He’s lost his front teeth now and everything he says has the cutest whistle at the end.
Declan leaves the block tower that he and I have been working on. I’m pretty sure this kid is going to be some type of engineer based on the intricate city designs he’s always building.
Beside me on the carpet, Carson nudges my leg. He’s my four-year-old and the one that’s always drawing and coloring. He’s my little artist. “I drew you, d-d-daddy. See? That’s your gray fus..fuzzy hair.”
I fight a laugh. Having boys is the best thing ever. They keep me humble and remind me not to take life so seriously. “You should sign that. I’ll put it on the fridge.”
He beams at my praise just as Hudson and Declan get into a fight over the tools. Hudson is strong and independent while Declan is a micromanager that prefers to take over projects.
I separate them before it can dissolve into a physical fight and glance at the clock. It won’t be long before my beautiful wife is home. Brooke is one of the founding members of the Courage County Welcome Committee. Their goal is to beautify the town and bring in new tourists that will appreciate our quaint Main Street and beautiful farmlands.
Even though we’ve been married for seven years and she’s only been gone for the evening, I still miss her. I always miss her when we’re apart. My arms feel empty until she’s in them.
“Put on your PJs and dad will read you a book before bed,” I tell the kids while I pick up the toys that have been scattered across the floor. Not long after we had Declan, we became interested in adopting and that’s how Carson and Hudson joined our family.
Brooke still wants more kids, and I’m happy to give them to her. Especially with the way she’s always crawling into bed at night and insisting that I breed her. My wife and I might be busy raising our kids, but we still find ways to get our sexy moments in too.
“The book with the f-f-funny dog?” Carson asks as he adds the squiggle that passes for his name and tears out the sheet for me.
“The book with the funny dog,” I reassure him as I pad into the kitchen with Carson and Luna on my heels. He watches with pride as I hang it along with his other pictures. The other two have already gone to get ready for bed.
“Musezzzz…” he says excitedly. He’s the one that trips over his words. He started speech therapy a few months back and he’s getting easier to understand. But he still has problems with some words.
“Museum,” I repeat softly.
“Yeah, some day, all of your work will be in one,” I reassure him. Ever since Brooke and I took him to the museum last week, he’s been obsessed with the idea of getting his work featured in one.
I’ll do whatever it takes to help make that dream come true for him. I want my boys and my beautiful wife to do things that make them happy. I’ll always be their biggest cheerleader and loudest supporter. The way I see it, I’m the luckiest man in the world. I’ve already had my dream come true—a beautiful family I can call my own.
“Go get ready for bed,” I remind him, ruffling his hair. “I’ll let you do the bark when I read the book.”
While he’s gone, I take a few minutes to neaten the house, so my wife has an inviting space to come home to. We’ve added more bedrooms onto it and I’m hoping that pretty soon we’ll have an excuse to add yet another.
I love it when my wife is pregnant. There’s something sacred about watching her body grow to accommodate a little life.
She’s an amazing mom. She’s always focused on what’s best for our boys and how she can help them grow into strong young men.
As soon as I’m done with the house, it’s time for one of my favorite parts of the evening—snuggling with my boys and Luna.
Three sleepy little ones and my favorite furry friend crowd around me as I read the story of a purple dog who just wants to find where he belongs in the world. It’s my hope that each of my boys will always know where they belong and more than that, just how very loved they are.
The story is done and it’s another round of hugs, kisses, and glasses of water before the three of them are settled. Even still, I know they won’t sleep through the night. They still wake me to charge in and send away the monsters. But I don’t mind. I’ll run to protect my kids always, whether their foes are imaginary or real.
I just got Hudson to fall asleep when Brooke opens the door and Luna ambles over to her. She’s starting to have hip problems as she’s aging, but she’s still just as happy as ever.
My wife stoops to pet our dog and I can’t help smiling. They share such a beautiful bond, comforting and loving each other through the years.
To see our marriage and family today, you wouldn’t believe the things we went through a few years ago. There were a lot of hard days, plenty of tears, and some pretty intense therapy sessions for a while. But we’re doing so much better now.
As soon as Brooke stands, I press a kiss to her lips. “Hey, beautiful.”
Her cheeks pinken and I love this. I love that even after our time together, I can still make her feel beautiful and cherished. I plan to do that every day for the rest of our lives.
“I want to hear all about your day,” I tell her, meaning it. I love spending time with Brooke. I love listening to her share all of her ideas and hearing about her days. She’s not just my wife. She’s my best friend.
“Daddy!” Hudson calls from the bedroom.
“It’s OK.” She gives me a patient smile. We both know these years when they constantly need us won’t last forever. One day, they’ll be older, and the house will be empty. We’ve both committed to treasuring this season and all of the ones after it.
“Be right there,” I call out before turning my attention to her. I press a gentle kiss to her forehead. “You go start the shower water and I’ll be there in a moment.”
Her eyes sparkle with excitement as she heads for the master bedroom.
It only takes me a few minutes to get Hudson back to sleep. Then I’m stepping into the shower with my wife. Seeing all of her makes me feel like a king. She’s stunning and she’s mine. Only mine.
I wash her hair as she tells me about her day. I love sexy time with Brooke, but I also love moments like these when I get to take care of her.
After the shower, I help her into her PJs, and we snuggle together in bed. With her head on my shoulder, everything is right in my world again.
Sometimes, I try to remember life before I had Brooke and the boys. All I can remember is a cold loneliness that I didn’t even realize was there. Now, it’s different. There’s warmth and kindness and love. So much love between the five of us. Six if you count Luna, which I do.
My eyes drift closed. The day has been long, and my body is tired from running after three kiddos while keeping up with my farm chores. Besides, there’s just something about being in bed with Brooke. She comforts me in a way nothing else ever has.
Brooke strokes a hand down my chest. The thin material of my t-shirt is a barrier between us but that doesn’t matter. Her touch still electrifies me. It always will. Even just a look from her is enough to get me going. “Do you remember yesterday when we were talking about expanding our family again?”
I make a sleepy sound of agreement and force my eyes open. If she wants to play, I’ll do whatever she wants. Her happiness means more to me than a good night’s sleep. Hell, it means more to me than anything else in the world. All I want is for my beautiful woman to know every single day just how loved and treasured she is.
“You want to make another baby together?” I whisper, pressing a kiss to her temple.
“We’re already pregnant,” she whispers.
Awe and gratitude flood me at her words. Our children are miracles, every one of them and I can’t believe we just got lucky enough to get another one. I slip my hand down to her stomach. “You’re giving me more babies.”
She chuckles. “It wasn’t a solo operation.”
I grin and roll above her, careful to keep my weight from squishing her. “Maybe you could remind me of how it happened.”
Just like that, I spend the next few hours making love to my wife before she drifts to sleep in my arms. She’s my best friend, the mother of my children and the woman I’ll love forever. She’s all mine.
As a single dad firefighter, I was only looking for a quick fling. Then the curvy woman from last night shows up. Turns out, she’s my new nanny.
If you enjoyed Ryker and Brooke’s story, you’ll love Lincoln’s in The Firefighter’s Curvy Nanny. Pre-order The Firefighter’s Curvy Nanny for a funny, sexy firefighter romance with a tattooed single dad.