Three months after they moved into their new apartment, Papa Sam and Sakura got the much anticipated news. She was pregnant. Two months later, they found out it was a girl. Papa Sam wanted to wait till the baby was born to find out, but Sakura wanted to know. Obviously, Sakura won this argument. Some battles are not worth fighting. It really didn’t matter to Papa Sam as long as his Sakura was happy, and the news that she was going to have a baby girl made her very happy indeed.
Sakura’s parents were extremely excited as this was their first grandchild. One thing was for certain, they would never want for a babysitter. The remaining six months went by like a blur. Each day Sakura got more and more beautiful. Papa Sam couldn’t be happier mainly because she was just the opposite of Tammy. She was quiet, soft and demure. She knew from the get-go how to manage a household and that included cooking. Granted, all the food she knew how to cook was traditional Japanese food but that was OK. It was certainly healthier than what he was used to eating. Recently, Papa Sam noticed that he had been putting on a few extra pounds. Now that he was eating better food, that extra poundage was melting right off him.
Another thing he noticed was that when Tammy had insisted on staying in Las Vegas when he was transferred to not only MacDill AFB but other bases, he really wasn’t that upset. Now, he couldn’t imagine being separated from Sakura like that. Another thing that he noticed was that he did not even miss shooting billiards. He couldn’t think of being anywhere else each night after work than with his beautiful bride.
The baby was due on November 10th and like clockwork, the contractions started. This time, there was no need for an induction. Since it was all natural, the pregnancy lasted almost 20 hours. Finally, a beautiful 6.9 lb baby girl was born. They had already settled on Yua for her name which meant “Binding Love and Affection” in the Japanese language. This time Sam was not present for the delivery. Sakura was too self-conscious about that. Her parents took turns keeping him company in the delivery waiting room as he paced back and forth. Finally, it was over and he was able to visit the exhausted mother. The baby was lying in an incubator by her bedside as she slumbered. He didn’t have the heart to wake her up, so he just kissed her lightly on the forehead as she stirred slightly as she repositioned herself.
He quietly let himself out of her room and went to update her parents on their daughter’s status. They each quickly went in to see their daughter and their grandbaby. Both of them remained oblivious of their midnight callers. Since the delivery went off without a hitch, Sakura and baby Yua were discharged the next day. Papa Sam had saved a week of leave to help out with the baby, so he was there to help with nightly feedings and diaper duty. This time, at least, he was at home even after his leave of absence was over. From now on he was going to do his best to be by his family’s side. He knew that he couldn’t guarantee that he wouldn’t have to go overseas again on assignment but he would do his best to limit its duration.
After several months passed and the newness wore off a little, Sakura’s parents kept their granddaughter overnight on occasion to give the new parents a little break and to do a little bond of their own. They did this because they knew it was only a matter of time before Papa Sam would be stationed somewhere else, so they were taking advantage of every opportunity they had to spend with baby Yua. Little did they know what heartbreak lay ahead.
Things went pretty well for Papa Sam at the Misawa Base because by the end of his third year he was promoted to the rank of major. Baby Yua was a delight and was growing like a weed. She was growing into quite the little lady. She reached all her milestones on time or ahead of schedule.
By the time baby Yua reached two years of age, the moment everyone dreaded occurred, Papa Sam received his transfer orders. This time he was being stationed in a pretty cushy location, Andrews AFB in Washington D.C. Papa Sam couldn’t believe his lucky stars. He was being stationed at his nation’s Capital.
This time Papa Sam was not taking no for an answer. Of course, Sakura knew what happened with Tammy in Papa Sam’s previous marriage and as a result would never think of staying behind. Things were going too well with their marriage for her to do anything to jeopardize it. So as soon as they received the news of his transfer, she started packing their belongings. Of course, her parents were devastated by the news. They understood that their daughter’s place was with her husband so they offered no opposition to their daughter’s decision to go with Papa Sam.
The day finally came and they boarded their plane. Of course, Sakura’s parents would not hear of their daughter and granddaughter riding on a military cargo plane so they paid for commercial grade tickets for the three of them to Washington D.C.