I remember the moment that Abby asked me if one child would be enough for me. We had nearly lost Joe, her own life had been in danger, and she was worried that I would somehow be disappointed in finding out that she could no longer give me another child. How do you answer someone when they ask you something like that? She had already given me the gift of a son, a son I never thought I would have and of all the things she should be worrying about, her concerns were for me. How do I tell her that her decision to keep Joe meant more to me than anything she's ever done? How could I possibly show her how much I love her?
For as long as I can remember I've wanted to be a father. In the two years before we married, Danijela and I often spoke about the size of the family we wanted, how quickly we'd start trying after we were married, and how important it was to both of us that we stay close to our families. I'm sure it was no surprise to anyone when within a month of our marriage, we broke the news that Danijela was pregnant with our first child, and nine months later Jasna was born. It would be almost three years before Danijela became pregnant again, and while we had desperately wanted Jasna to have brothers and sisters, in the years she was our only child, she was loved and spoiled by grandparents and great-grandparents on both sides of our families.
When Marko was born, we knew we had been twice blessed and the joy we had felt at being parents of our daughter were now doubled with the birth of our son. At 3 1/2, Jasna delighted in her new role of big sister, and where once she was content to spend her time mothering her favorite doll, it soon became clear, especially in those early months, that none of them compared to her new baby brother.
I wish I could say that our lives from there only continued to get better. I wish I could say that all of the hopes and dreams Danijela and I had for our future, and that of our children's came true, but I can't, and they didn't. I had 7 years with my first love, Danijela, 5 with our baby girl, Jasna, and only a mere 18 months with our little boy before the war stole them all from me. After 17 years all I have left of them is a small black and white photo of my wife and daughter, my memories, and the gaping hole that seems only to grow larger with each passing year as time steals away pieces of those memories.
So, as Abby asks me if Joe will be enough for me, she may as well be asking me if life itself is enough for me, for in a sense that is what she is giving me, she is giving me back the part of life I thought was lost to me forever. Every moment I spend with Joe, no matter how small, is a gift to me, and if my life were to end tomorrow I can now say I am once more whole, I am once more a father and of all the things I might be in my life, I can think of none that makes me prouder.