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"Do you want to take the string for awhile?" she offered.

"And let go of you?" chuckled Jake. "Not a chance."

Just then, a baby's cry filled the air and Abby shoved the roll of string into Jake's hands.

"I'm coming, Ricky!" she called, running and quickly kneeling on the blanket to look him over. When the concerned mother saw that he was all right, she silently thanked God and lifted the infant into her arms.

"Are you hungry?" she cooed to the child.

From the beach, Jake watched as Abby nursed Ricky in the shade under his father-in-law's canopy. A surge of gratitude flooded the young man's soul. Now that Abby wasn't there to enjoy it with him, his interest in the kite quickly waned and he rolled in the string until it safely landed.

With kite in hand, Jake walked back to the canopy and stretched out on the blanket while Abby busied herself with the baby. Listening to the surf, he lazily closed his eyes, and smiled at the cry of gulls out enjoying this perfect weather.

"I think Ricky's had enough of the outdoors," remarked Abby, after the boy had finished nursing, and was wriggling in her arms. "He's a little cranky right now."

"Okay," nodded Jake, "I'll start packing things up. You go ahead and take him inside."

"Hush, hush," Abby whispered to the infant, as Ricky began to cry. "You've had a big day, haven't you," she smiled. "You're all tuckered out."

Abby carried him back to their little yellow house, while Jake gathered the picnic blanket and took down the white canopy.

It took a moment for Abby's eyes to adjust to the indoors, but she easily found her way to the bedroom and changed Ricky into a fresh diaper before putting him into his crib. Then she heard the front door open and shut as Jake returned home with the remnants of their outing.

Abby wound the music mobile above Ricky's crib and sighed lovingly as her tiny son closed his eyes.

"Is he sleeping?" whispered Jake, coming to her side and peering down at the babe in the crib. "Isn't Ricky amazing?" marveled the new father. "Sometimes, I just stand here and watch him breathe."

Abby yawned and smiled happily at Jake.

"Are you tired?" he asked in surprise, for she had taken a long nap before the picnic, and though they had spent several hours out on the beach, it was only early evening.

"Not really," she replied, at little taken aback at her own weariness.

Fearing that their time together was over, Jake picked up the baby monitor, and tugged at Abby's hand, leading her through the front room and out to the porch swing.

"Just a little while longer?" he pleaded, sitting down on the small suspended bench and pulling her close beside him.
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