Two Years later
Noah and Josie had been eagerly anticipating this day for months. They dressed their little one in a beautiful white gown, with lace edging and a matching bonnet. They packed a small bag with extra diapers and a change of clothes, just in case. They made their way to the local church where their child was to be baptized.
The church was a large stone building with a tall steeple and stained-glass windows. Noah and Josie could hear the sound of the organ playing as they approached. They could see the congregation gathering inside, dressed in their finest clothing. Everyone was excited to welcome the new addition to the community.
The baptism was to be a traditional one, following the customs of the time. Noah and Josie would be standing at the front of the church with their child, surrounded by family and friends. The priest would perform the baptism by pouring water over the child’s head, symbolizing the washing away of sin and welcoming the child into the Christian faith.
As they entered the church, Noah and Josie were greeted warmly by their neighbors and friends. They made their way to the front of the church and took their seats, cradling their child in their arms. The priest began the ceremony by leading the congregation in prayer and singing hymns. Noah and Josie joined in, their voices rising with the others in the church. Josie could hear the sound of the organ music and felt it reach her very soul. The church was a large stone building with a tall steeple and stained-glass windows. In between hymns, they were greeted warmly by their neighbors and friends. They probably shouldn’t be chatting in church, but Josie was glad to see her friends again.
“Good morning, Noah and Josie! We’re so excited for today,” Mrs. Jones, their neighbor, said with a big smile.
“Thank you, Mrs. Jones. We are too,” Josie replied, beaming with pride. After the hymns, the priest welcomed the parents and their child to the front of the church.
“Noah and Josie, I am honored to baptize your child into the Christian faith. Do you affirm your faith in Jesus Christ and promise to raise your child in the Christian tradition?”
“We do,” Noah replied firmly, while Josie nodded her head in agreement.
The priest then turned to the congregation and asked, “Do you, the members of this church, promise to support these parents in their commitment to raise their child in the Christian faith?”
“We do,” the congregation replied in unison.
The priest then took the child from Noah and Josie’s arms and held them up for the congregation to see.
“What name have you given your child?” he asked.
“Jacob,” Josie replied, her eyes shining with love and pride.
“Jacob, I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” the priest said, as he poured water over the child’s head.
As the priest continued with the ceremony, the congregation watched with reverence and awe. Some whispered prayers, while others wiped tears from their eyes. Noah and Josie were filled with joy and gratitude, knowing that their child was now a member of the Christian faith.
After the ceremony, they were greeted by their friends and neighbors, who congratulated them on this special occasion.
“Congratulations, Noah and Josie! Jacob is a beautiful baby,” Mrs. Johnson said, holding Jacob’s hand gently.
“Thank you, Mrs. Johnson. We’re so grateful for the support of our community,” Noah replied, his eyes shining with happiness. The clock in town chimed then, and they realized they were out of time.
Noah and Josie hurriedly made their way out of the church after the baptism, wanting to catch the train that would take them back to their hometown. They had been away for nearly two years, and they were eager to return home and start their new life as a family. However, they were not alone. Behind them, helping with the luggage, was a young girl by the name of Emily whose life they had helped changed. She was an orphan who had come to them looking for work when she turned 18 and was kicked out of the orphanage. Noah and Josie had taken her in, offering her a home and a job as their nanny. She had become an important part of their family, and they were grateful for her help in taking care of Jacob.
As they walked towards the train station, Noah turned to Emily and said, “Are you excited to go see our other home, Emily?”
Emily smiled and replied, “Yes, sir. I have been in that part of the world before, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it.”
Josie nodded in agreement, “We’ve missed it too. It’s been too long since we’ve seen our family and friends.”
They arrived at the train station just in time to catch the next train heading towards their hometown. The train was already crowded, with people bustling about, trying to find their seats. Noah led the way, carrying their bags and looking for their seats. They finally found their seats and settled in, with Emily sitting beside Josie and Jacob.
As the train pulled out of the station, the scenery outside the window changed from the bustling city to the quiet countryside, Noah spoke up. “We couldn’t have managed without you, Emily. You’ve been a real blessing to us.”
Emily blushed, “Thank you, sir. I’m happy to be of help.”
As the train chugged along, they chatted about their journey and their plans for the future. Noah and Josie talked about their plans to expand their farm, while Emily shared her dreams of opening a small bakery someday. As they approached their hometown, their excitement grew. They could see the familiar sights of their town, the church spires, the town square, and the houses lining the streets.
Finally, the train came to a stop, and they gathered their bags and got off. As Noah, Josie, Emily, and Jacob stepped off the train, they were met by the sight of Travis, and Sarah, waiting for them on the platform. Sarah held a small baby in her arms, her second, and she smiled as she saw her sister-in-law and nephew.
“Welcome back!” Travis greeted them warmly, giving his brother a firm handshake.
“It’s good to be back,” Noah replied, smiling at his brother.
Sarah stepped forward, holding out her arms to take Jacob. “Let me hold him,” she said, her eyes sparkling with joy.
Josie was equally excited to hold her new nephew. She passed Jacob to Sarah, who held him close, cooing softly. “He’s so big” she said, looking at him with love.
Noah and Travis loaded their bags onto a waiting wagon, and they all climbed aboard, settling in for the ride back to Travis’s ranch. As they rode, they chatted about their journey and their experiences over the past two years. Noah and Josie talked about the challenges they faced in starting their farm, while Sarah shared stories about her own struggles with motherhood.
“We’ve missed you all so much,” Josie said, looking at Sarah and Travis.
“We’ve missed you too,” Travis replied, smiling at his brother and sister-in-law.
Noah added, “It’s good to be back in town. We’re excited to see everyone and catch up on what’s been happening.”
Sarah nodded, “Everyone’s been asking about you. They can’t wait to see you again.”
As they approached Travis’s ranch, they were met with the sight of a sprawling homestead, surrounded by fields and pastures. They climbed down from the wagon, and Travis showed them around the ranch, pointing out the different fields and livestock. Sarah took Josie and Emily into the house, showing them around and making them feel at home.
Over the next few days, Noah and Josie settled back into their old routine, catching up with old friends and family members. They visited Josie’s family, who were doing quite well, and Josie was proud to say that her family had paid Noah back for the loan he had given them. Noah spent his days tending to the farm, working hard to make it prosper. Josie helped with the housework, and Emily took care of Jacob, who had become quite attached to his nanny.
As the weeks turned into months, Noah and Josie realized that they were truly happy to be back in their hometown. They had missed the familiar sights and sounds of the town, and they were grateful to be surrounded by the people they loved.
As they sat around the dinner table, Josie’s mind drifted to thoughts of her ex-fiance, Brady. She hadn’t thought about him in a long time, but now she couldn’t help but wonder how he was doing.
Travis noticed the change in his sister-in-law’s expression and asked, “Is something bothering you, Josie?”
Josie hesitated for a moment before replying, “I was just thinking about Brady. I haven’t heard anything about him in years.”
Noah raised an eyebrow, “What about him?”
Josie sighed, “I heard he lost everything. He married poorly and ended up in the tenements. He has a job in a factory now.”
Travis frowned, “That’s too bad. I remember when he used to come around here, trying to win you back. He was always so full of himself.”
Sarah chimed in, “He always seemed like such a selfish person. I’m not surprised things didn’t work out for him.”
Josie nodded, “I can’t help but think that he brought it on himself. He always wanted more than he could afford, and he never seemed to think about anyone else’s feelings.”
Noah put a hand on Josie’s arm, “You don’t need to worry about him, Josie. You have a good life now, and you’re surrounded by people who love you. Brady made his choices, and he has to live with the consequences.”
Josie smiled, “You’re right, Noah. I’m happy with the life we’ve built together, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Travis cleared his throat, “Speaking of which, have you two thought about expanding your farm? I heard that the Johnsons are looking to sell their land, and it borders your property.”
Noah looked thoughtful, “That’s something we should consider. We’ve been doing well, and it would be nice to have more room to grow.”
Josie nodded in agreement, “Yes, it would. We’ll have to talk to the Johnsons and see if we can come to an agreement.”
The next day, Noah and Josie set off to visit Josie’s family. They were greeted with open arms by her parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews. Josie was overjoyed to see her family again after so long, and it was clear that they were just as happy to see her.
As they sat around the dining room table, catching up on all that had happened since they were last together, Noah and Josie proudly introduced Emily to the family. Josie’s younger brother, Todd, was immediately taken with the young girl, and they spent the afternoon playing games and getting to know each other better.
“Todd seems to really like Emily,” Josie’s father remarked, smiling at the two young people.
“Yes, they hit it off right away,” Josie replied. “Emily has been wonderful with our little girl, and we’re so grateful to have her with us.”
“It’s good to have someone to help out with the baby,” Josie’s mother added. “I remember when you were a baby, Josie, and I had to do everything myself. It’s nice to have an extra set of hands around.”
Noah nodded in agreement. “Emily has been a godsend,” he said. “We couldn’t have made this trip without her.”
As the conversation continued, Josie’s family wanted to know more about how Noah and Josie had been faring in their new life in the West.
“It’s been a challenge, to be sure,” Josie admitted. “But we’ve learned so much, and we’ve met some wonderful people.”
Time flew too quickly.
After spending a month with their families, Josie and Noah decided it was time to bring up the subject of their departure. As they broke the news to the family, they could see the disappointment in their eyes. Josie’s parents had grown fond of Emily, and they knew they would miss her when she was gone.
However, the mood quickly changed when Todd announced that he and Emily had fallen in love. Josie and Noah were thrilled for them, but they also knew it meant they would need to find a new nanny when they returned home.
Despite the bittersweet news, Josie and Noah decided to extend their stay for another week so they could attend Todd and Emily’s wedding. They spent the next few days helping with the preparations and getting to know Emily’s family better when they came to town. After all, she was a part of the family now too.
The wedding day arrived, and it was a beautiful ceremony. The couple looked radiant, and Josie couldn’t help but feel a sense of joy and contentment for them. It was clear that they were meant to be together, and everyone could see the love they shared.
As the week came to an end, Josie and Noah said their goodbyes to the family and promised to keep in touch. They boarded the train back to their own town, feeling a mix of emotions. They were sad to leave their family behind, but they were also excited to return home and start a new chapter in their lives.
As they settled into their seats on the train, Josie turned to Noah and said, “I can’t believe how fast time flies. It feels like just yesterday we were boarding the train.”
Noah smiled and replied, “I know, it’s hard to believe it’s been a month already. But it was worth it to see the happiness on our family’s faces.”
Josie nodded in agreement. “And I’m so happy for Todd and Emily. They make a wonderful couple.”
Noah squeezed her hand. “Yes, they do. And we’ll find a new nanny when we get back. We’ll find someone almost as good as Emily.”
Josie smiled. “I have no doubt about that. And who knows what other surprises life has in store for us.”
As the train pulled away from the station, Josie looked out the window, feeling a sense of contentment wash over her. She was grateful for her family, her husband, and the new friends they had made along the way. She knew that no matter what the future held, they would face it together.