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Always willing to be helpful, Terry pitched in wherever he could. He was constantly pulling one baby or another out of her crib and dandling her in his arms as if she were his entire world. He babytalked and made faces to amuse the girls, and was always ready to baby-sit when the parents needed to catch up on some much needed sleep, though he often was not far behind John in insomnia. While John and Izumi napped, Terry would bathe the girls and dress them in clean sleepers. Sometimes, he would spread out a quilt on the living room floor and let the girls lay on their backs, looking up at him while he introduced them to the newest baby toy he had bought, even though the infants were still much too small to do anything with it than stare and grasp.

Through it all, Terry's camera was ever present. Abby remembered growing up with Terry behind a camera, and these triplets would be no exception. John and Izumi would wake up from their nap, only to be called over to his computer to see the latest photo slideshow of what fascinating thing the girls had been doing while their parents had been asleep.

But Terry wasn't the only member of John and Izumi's support team. Jake was doing more and more around the house, as the men were too busy with their home business and the babies to do as much as they usually had in the past. Jake worked hard to keep up with the tide of laundry that flowed from the nursery, sometimes doing as many as two or three loads a day. John and the others had thought Jake was helpful to have around the house before, but now, he was proving himself indispensable. No matter how hectic or tired everyone was, they could always count on a hot meal waiting for them, on time, at the kitchen table. Carpets stayed vacuumed, bathrooms remained spotless, and Terry's toys were kept neatly swept aside on the living room floor.

With such helpers as these, Izumi's house was in better running order than it should have been. Jake was so helpful, that Abby had jokingly asked her father if she could buy Jake back from him when she gave birth to her own baby.

One early March morning, Abby was awakened by something tenderly stroking her cheek. Blinking her eyes open, she found Jake lovingly staring down at her, his face only inches from her own.

"Good morning," he whispered, so that she could feel the soft caress of his breath on her skin.

"What time is it?" she asked, with a tired yawn.

"I don't know," he shrugged, twirling a small lock of her raven hair around his finger. "It's early, I suppose."

Realizing that it wasn't time to get up yet, Abby closed her eyes and snuggled under the covers close to Jake.

"Are you going back to sleep?" he asked, disappointedly.

"I might," she sleepily mumbled.



"Are you awake?" he asked, studying her closed eyelids and trying to detect any signs that she was listening. "Could we talk for a minute?"

"What about?" she yawned, rolling onto her side and pulling up the warm blanket under her chin, for it was still winter, and even though the bay was thawing, the temperatures were low enough to keep the house quite chilly.

"Are you sure you're awake?" asked Jake, not being able to see her face anymore, for her back was turned to him.

"I'm awake," sighed Abby, trying to focus her bleary eyes on the fuzzy numbers of their alarm clock. "What time is it, anyway?"

"Would you forget about the time?" he pleaded, carefully rolling her onto her back so he could see her face once more. "I want to talk to you."
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