Howie spotted his sister holding Jesse as they watched the nurses with the newborns. A warm feeling filled him as he watched his daughter watching the newborns. There was no doubt in his mind what so ever that Jesse was ‘cool’ about having a new brother and sister. She had been just as anxious for Caroline and DJ to be born as he and Sarah had been and watching her now, he could see her excitement.
“There’s my beautiful princess!” greeted Howie.
Jesse’s eyes lit up and she practically jumped out of Pollyanna’s arms into Howie’s. “PAPI!”
Howie laughed as he caught the little bundle of joy. “When did you decide to call me ‘Papi’ instead of Daddy?” he asked as she hugged him tight.
“This morning. Aunt Polly told me that ‘Papi’ is the Spanish word for ‘Daddy’ and that you are very proud of your Spanish her….”
Jesse struggled with the word so Pollyanna helped her out, “Heritage.”
“Yeah….heritage. Thank you, Aunt Polly.” Looking Howie in the eyes while her little fingers played with his hair behind his head, she asked, “Do I have a Spanish heritage too?”
“Sorta. You aren’t Spanish but you are my little girl so you can share my heritage,” smiled Howie.
“Why ain’t I Spanish?”
“Don’t use ‘ain’t, Jesse,” corrected Pollyanna. “Aren’t.”
“Okay…why AREN’T I Spanish?”
“Because your father wasn’t Spanish, Princess. You remember the talk we had over the summer….when your mom told you about your father?”
“I guess….when Mami said you didn’t help make me like you did the twins but that you loved me just the same?”
“Then what am I?”
Howie gave a sigh, “I’m not sure about your father, Jess, but your mother’s side of the family is English which means they came from England a long time ago.”
While Jesse thought over what Howie had said, Pollyanna asked, “How’s Sarah doing?”
“Amazing!” beamed Howie proudly. “Both babies were born naturally and she’s sleeping now.”
Looking through the window, Jesse said, “I don’t see any Doroughs. Where are our babies?”
“They have a special room away from the windows, Princess.”
“Everything okay?” asked Pollyanna with concern.
“Security…to keep the fans from disturbing the other patients. How about I get the nurses to let us in and I’ll introduce you to your little brother and sister?”
“Please?” begged Jesse as she bounced in Howie’s arms.
“Let’s go then.”
Howie, Jesse, and Pollyanna were allowed into the nursery, given gowns, and taken to the room where the twins were. As Howie held Jesse to see Caroline and DJ, a camera was pulled out and the first tender moments were captured for others to see later. Jesse obediently followed every instruction as she was allowed to hold each one. When it was time to change a diaper, she stuck close to Howie to make sure he was doing it correctly.
The most precious moment though came as Caroline began to fuss in Pollyanna’s arms and Jesse moved quickly to her aunt’s side. Placing her hand on her tiny sister, she began to sing softly, “Hush little baby, don’t say a word, Papi’s gonna buy you a mocking bird….and if that mocking bird don’t sing….Papi’s’ gonna buy you a diamond ring…” As the baby stopped to listen, Jesse looked up at Pollyanna, “See, all you gotta do is sing. They’re use to hearing Mami and Papi singing all the time.”
“What would I do without your help?” praised her aunt.
“You’d have Papi. He knows EXACTLY what to do to take care of us,” boasted Jesse.
“Thank you, Princess,” smiled Howie as he pulled her to him with his free arm to hug her. Looking at the clock, Howie said, “You need to tell Caroline and DJ ‘good-bye’ so you won’t be late for school.”
“You two behave for everyone and after school, I’ll read you a story,” said Jesse as she gave each infant a kiss on the top of their head. Watching as Howie placed DJ back in his bassinet, she asked, “Can I see Mami before I go?”
“’Princess’, Mami had a really tough night and she’s sleeping right now,” explained Howie but putting her off was the wrong thing to do. Jesse was terrified of hospitals and the fear quickly showed in her eyes as her tears popped up. Realizing that she needed to see Sarah, even if it was for a quick peek, Howie said, “You have to be extra quiet…more than in here.”
“Cross my heart!” replied Jesse making an ‘x’ on her heart.
Depositing their gowns, the three made their way down to Sarah’s room where Jesse insisted that Howie pick her up so that she could get a better look at her mother.
Whispering, Jesse asked, “Can I give her a kiss?” Howie moved to the bed and held Jesse so that she could give Sarah a kiss and she whispered, “I love you.”
Sarah sighed sleepily and opened her eyes half way to see her daughter and husband. “I love you too, baby.”
“Go back to sleep, Mami. I’ll be back after school.”
“Ummm, okay,” and Sarah looked to Howie. “’D’?”
“Shh, I’ll be right back, Angel. I’m gonna walk them to the elevator.”
Howie walked down the hall to the elevators with his mother and sister and Jesse where he gave each one a kiss. “We’ll see you all later?” he asked.
“I’m bringing Jesse back this afternoon for you,” answered his sister as she took Jesse’s hand.
“I’ll be back around lunchtime. You need your rest too,” scolded Momma D. “You’re going to go home and sleep this afternoon.”
Howie knew there was no use arguing with his mother. She was set on him going home and there was no getting around it. “Yes ma’am.”
Jesse tugged at Howie’s hand pulling him down to her level so that she could hug him again. “I’m happy to have a brother AND a sister.”
“Me too, ‘Princess’. You have a good day at school today.”
Howie waited for the elevator doors to close before rushing back to Sarah. Entering the room and seeing her sleeping peacefully, the exhaustion finally caught up with him. Knowing that his surprise for Sarah was going to be taken care of later in the morning, it was time to join her so he slipped off his shoes and his shirt, and then carefully slipped into the bed taking Sarah in his arms. She moved closer, nestling her head on his shoulder and placing her hand on his chest. How he loved the way she fit next to him, her body melding with his. Softly, he kissed her on the forehead and closed his eyes. His world was perfect.
Chapter 60 Index