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Chapter Twenty-nine
When Heaven Sings

"The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing."
~ Zephaniah 3:17 ~

Ricky was proving to be a very fussy baby. To Jake's credit, he tried to let Abby sleep as long as possible, by being the first to get up and answer Ricky's cries in the middle of the night. That baby boy did his level best to keep his young parents awake, and nearly brought Abby to tears on several occasions, herself. Short on sleep, but not short on love, Jake did all he could to quiet Ricky and comfort Abby.

Both Abby and Jake had thought Ricky's cries were only louder and longer, simply because everyone wasn't getting enough sleep-- and that would be enough to make anything seem worse than it actually was. But when Terry observed that what amused the triplets, only frightened and terrified Ricky, they began to realize that his behavior wasn't exactly normal. What made this even worse, was the thought that Ricky might have been influenced by the flashbacks he had heard while in Abby's womb. Jake had suggested the possibility to Abby, and she had absolutely refused to even consider it for a moment. After all, Ricky hadn't shown any abnormal signs of distress inside her womb. In the past, as long as she tried to remain calm during Jake's flashbacks, then Ricky seemed to do just fine. But that was when he was safe and snug in her womb. The outside world was altogether a different matter.

This was not a thought Abby liked to entertain, and it pained her to see Jake's downcast face as he pondered the possibility while their son continued to cry at the top of his lungs. She knew Jake was struggling with guilt, and prayed to God for help.

In answer to Abby's prayer, help arrived, but not in the manner she had been expecting. On one especially trying day, Jake had a revelation: if he were Ricky, and the world continued to frighten him at every turn, what would calm him down? Jake immediately thought of Abby, and the comfort he often felt whenever they were together. During those times when he struggled with his past, her continual presence was reassuring to his senses that he was loved and wanted. Jake wondered if all Ricky needed was that same feeling of belonging and love that he had experienced since meeting Abby.

Determined to do all that he could for his son, Jake started his days with a baby sling strapped to his chest, even keeping Ricky with him when he worked at the Johanneses' house. Safely tucked against Jake, Ricky could hear the large world around him, and even glimpse strange faces that occasionally peered down at him-- all within the security of the strong voice that continually kept him safe. When Jake was unable to hold Ricky, he would pass him to Abby, so that either of the two parents was always with their son.

From the start, John had been uneasy about this arrangement and had warned that it might spoil Ricky. One week passed, however, and the newborn began to settle down in many small ways. Noises didn't startle or frighten him as much, for his mommy or daddy was always with him. The only times when they were not, was as at night, when Ricky slept by himself in the crib at the foot of their bed. But, even these times were improving. As Ricky's confidence continued to grow, his fussiness dramatically subsided. He was learning that his little world was safe, and that he was loved. Even the clatter of dishes when Jake set the table at mealtime, wasn't enough to frighten the boy.

One day, while John was visiting the little yellow house, he went to the bassinet in the living room to check on his grandson, for the baby had been unusually quiet. The wisdom of AJ's decision was evident on Ricky's precious face, for when John looked down at the infant, he found Ricky beaming up at him with one of Jake's contented smiles. Whatever fear and trepidation Ricky had been experiencing, was completely gone.

"That is the happiest baby I've ever seen," declared John. He even remarked that Ricky was now quieter than the triplets, and seemed quite content to let out small cries to get attention, instead of stirring up enough fuss to bring down the walls of Jericho, as he often had in the past!

continued on next page...
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