Jim wasn't in the delivery room when his only son was born. In fact, as Lara, his wife, gave birth to their first child, Jim wasn't even in the same country. Instead, he was half a world away, waiting anxiously to receive a phone call letting him know that his wife and son were doing just fine.
Sitting on his bunk in Afghanistan, he tried to keep himself calm by staring at the wallet-sized photo of Lara that he kept on him at all times. Unfortunately it wasn't working. His leg was shaking so badly that his boot threatened to put a hole in the floor.
"Calm down, Marine."
Jim looked up at Chase, the only person he had known before either of them began this military life. He gave his friend an extremely nervous smile, then looked back to the image of his wife.
Chase sat down next to Jim and put a hand on his shoulder. "You know, women have been giving birth for a long time. It's a pretty routine thing from what I understand."
Jim tried to laugh, "I know, but something could still go wrong. And it's not routine. It might be something that happens every day, but it's still a miracle."
"Well, yeah, there is that..." Chase stood. "I'll go see if there's any word yet. Be right back."
Jim nodded and closed his eyes. Silently, he prayed for his wife, whose hand he was unable to hold, whose nerves he was unable to calm. He prayed that, in his absence, God would do those things for her.
In the small town hospital in the middle of Iowa, Lara held her newborn son in her arms. She stared into the baby's tiny face and smiled and cried all at once. She wished so badly that Jim could be here with her to see their son.
Just then, her father brought a laptop computer that would serve as the next best thing, considering the circumstances. Within just a few minutes, Lara was looking at Jim's relieved face on the screen. Thousands of miles away, Jim looked into the eyes of his exhausted bride. Through tears they said hi to each other. Lara lifted up their baby so that he could be seen on camera. She smiled and said, "Happy Father's Day."
She laughed when she heard the applause coming from somewhere behind her husband. He laughed and wiped a tear away from his eyes. He only had enough time to tell Lara that he loved her and he loved their son. He told them that he would see them soon before saying good-bye. Lara cried all over again, mixing sadness with joy as she looked back to her little miracle. She kissed little Jamie on his tiny forehead, then laid her own head back against her pillows, ready to finally rest.