Thanks to all who reviewed Celebrations of the Heart. I plan
to make this story part of a series so any suggestions, comments,
criticisms or thoughts are very much
Disclaimer: All belongs to the great flanneled one, I am just borrowing.
A/N: A billlion thanks to ZMD forall her useful comments and suggestions.
This was one of the greatest moments of my life. This was what we have been waiting for nine months and now they are here. Standing in the delivery room with my newborn children in my arms and my beautiful wife smiling at me, it was a time etched in eternity.
My heart multiplied in the amount of love it could carry as these two pieces of my soul looked up at me. I felt as if all the stars and moons revolved around me in their eyes. It was a truly humbling moment.
However, my profound joy at this momentous event came to a crashing halt when I realized, I didn't know the first thing about taking care of children.
Oh sure, my Master would send to help out in the crèche whenever I either got into trouble or needed a lesson in humility; But, there were healers always ready to assist whenever I got into a bind. Now, Padmé, Luke and Leia were returning to our home in Varykino with me, and all the wonderful healers from the hospital weren't coming.
Thank the Force, Padmé's mother Jobal, took mercy by offering to stay with us for our first night 'alone' with the twins. While the nurses and my mother-in-law were helping my wife and our children prepare for the trip home, a sudden moment of clarity struck me as I wondered what in the blazes did we get ourselves into? And the real fun had not even begun.
Upon returning home, I carried Padmé out of the speeder and up into our bedroom. She looked at me tiredly as I sensed through our bond how exhausted and sore she was. Force bless her. She was a real trooper throughout the entire labor and delivery.
And she didn't even curse me for putting her into the situation, although Obi-Wan did have to put me into a slight healing trance to repair my broken hand. Why couldn't she have squeezed the mechanical one? I would have been really impressed had she damaged that one.
My deliberations were broken when Padmé nervously asked, "Where are the twins?"
I gave her a reassuring smile. "Your mother is bringing them inside as we speak."
Padmé slightly grimaced as she tried to wiggle out of my arms. "I need to get their room ready and get some of the formula heated up and…"
Gently, I placed two of my fingers on her lips as I looked into her brown eyes. "Remember what the healer said. No overexertion for at least a week. Besides, your mother and I can handle them until then."
"But Ani" she said in a fatigued attempt to argue.
I shake my head as I answer, "No buts."
Finally reaching our room, I placed her down and removed my cloak which I draped about her before I tucked her into bed. Being an especially cold night, I walked over to the fireplace to throw in several logs to help warm up the room. As I turned back around, I saw my angel attempting to get out of bed.
"Where do you think you're going?"
My wife frowned at me as she paused at the edge of the bed. "I want to check in on the twins."
"Angel, please lie down and I'll bring them to you. Deal?" I asked with a deep sigh.
Making it obvious that she was not pleased, Padmé finally agreed. I then went into the next room to see Jobal with my children who were dancing about on their backs as she was about to change them. :
"Ah! Anakin you are just in time. How about you help me change your son and daughter?" How about it indeed, I thought as I gave her a weak smile. Despite my concern, I managed to sheepishly say, "Alright." I then headed over to the changing table to see my infant children gazing at me with curiosity.
Jobal gave me a half smile. "Why don't you start with Luke?"
I nod as I fumbled to remove his diaper. While I did help the crèche masters a couple of times with some of the new infants, it was a few too many years ago and whatever lessons I learned have completely left my memory.
Knowing I was going to face this dubious task sooner or later, I did spend some time on the holonet during my breaks from making furniture for the nursery, which included a double bassinet and a pair of rocking chairs. I figured they would be good to have for the nights that the twins would need a little extra encouragement to go to sleep.
The holonet articles about changing diapers could never fully prepare one for the real thing. Getting the dirty diaper off was no big deal if you discount the smell factor. Trying to properly place the new one on so it wouldn't slip off was the trick and an amazingly difficult one to boot. Being the skilled engineer that I supposedly was, I folded the cloth diaper into the appropriate right angles before I carefully wrapped it around my son's backside.
Proud of myself, I held up Luke to show Jobal of my accomplishment when I was given a rather rude greeting. As my mother-in-law smiled at us, I felt Luke wiggle which resulted in the diaper falling to the floor. I only looked away for a split second when my son then decided that his father needed a shower.
Jobal, bright red from laughing so hard, grabbed Luke from my hands. "Here Anakin, let me
help you with him while you go change."
As I returned to my bedroom, my angel stared at me as I silently made my way to our closet.
"What's wrong, Ani?"
Since the huge urine stain on my tunic wasn't clue enough, I answered "Your son decided that my outfit was dry and needed to be graced with his presence."
Turning away from Padmé in order to pick out a clean shirt, I heard stifled laughter coming from my bed. With the Force, I gently removed the covers only to see my wife turning an assorted shade of red as she was cackling at my mishap. Shaking my head, I returned my focus into the closet.
After her giggling fit subsided, she smiled at me happily. "Well if nothing else, you get an A for effort."
Rolling my eyes, I blew her a kiss as I headed off to the refresher to take a quick shower so I could return to help my mother-in-law. I again sent my undying thanks into the Force for having Jobal stay with us while she finished my son's preparations for bed. As I approached, I could hear her humming a soft lullaby to both Luke and Leia which they seemed to be enjoying.
"Am I interrupting?" I asked with a slight grin on my face.
Jobal smiled as she handed me Leia, wrapped up in a pink blanket. She then returned her attention to Luke to finish bundling him up for the night. While still facing away from me, she said, "Now, let's get these two little angels to their momma, otherwise she will not get her rest."
I nodded as we walked back to the bedroom. As we entered, I saw that my wife had propped herself up against several pillows, ready to take Leia from my hands. Meanwhile, Jobal followed me inside, still cooing and gushing incomprehensible gibberish to Luke, who seemed to be answering her back.
Both mother and grandmother were completely focused on their respective twin, leaving me standing in the middle of the room with nothing better to do. Although I was quite entranced by the shear beauty of my wife and daughter revealing in one another, my focus was diverted by a slight draft of cold air I felt coming from the nearby window. I would have to work on that when the weather outside improved.
My contemplations were broken by my Padmé blowing me a kiss. "Ani, why don't you come and sit with us?"
Thankful that I, once again, served a purpose, I laid gently next to them. Meanwhile, my mother-in-law remained in deep conversation with Luke, with no apparent intention of handing him over anytime soon. My complete contentment was rudely interrupted when I suddenly remembered that I forgot to bring in the double bassinet.
Quickly, I rushed out to bring the heavy piece of furniture into our bedroom. However, upon my return, Padmé's eyes welled up with tears.
"What's the matter?" I asked with great concern.
Padmé attempted to relay what she was feeling to me, but the words were broken sniffles and gasps as she began to cry. "She's just so... They're both so..." She sought the words slowly. "They're beautiful! I always dreamed... I never thought..." Again at a loss for words, the new mother whimpered softly and looked up at me. "...two of them"
Looking at her worriedly, I gently reached into her mind to make sure she was alright. Big mistake. It was almost like trying to watch a podrace in accelerated motion as I attempted to piece together her thoughts. Will I be a good mother? Will I be a good wife? What am I going to do when Anakin has to go away on missions? What if I do something wrong? What if someone tries to hurt them? What if I can't protect them?
A slow, dull pain stretched across my head as I quickly withdrew from Padmé's mind. I don't think I will be doing that again soon I mused as I reached up to rub my forehead. Immediately, I joined my wife to hold her hand in mine. My angel then looked up at me with sorrowful eyes and cried even louder.
"Why are you crying?" I asked gently.
"I don't know."
"Why don't you know?"
"Because…" she said, as she sniffled.
"Because why?" I asked, while trying to evoke my Jedi trained patience as not to get enervated.
"Sometimes…I just need to cry."
"What did I do?" figuring everything has to be about me.
"Nothing…" responded Padmé as her eyes continued to well up.
"Are you sure?"
After furiously rubbing at her nose, she answered, "Yes…" as another deluge of tears came rolling down.
I winced as I attempted to understand her logic. Unfortunately, my male brain was incapable of such an action, but fortunately some of those holonet articles I read warned me about the changes a woman goes through post-partum. Trying to be the good, supportive husband that I was, I said "It's alright angel, just cry to your heart's delight."
As if needing my approval, Padmé sobbed inconsolably, which caused Leia to stir awake so she could follow her mother's example. And of course, my son couldn't be left out of the loop, so he joined in the family fun. As I looked to Jobal for some kind of guidance, she just flashed me a look that screamed; 'Welcome to fatherhood.'
With the help of my mother-in-law, after an hour of cajoling and outright begging, we finally got Padmé and the children to sleep. Jobal quickly retired to the guestroom where I felt her fall asleep within minutes. I, on the other hand, while physically exhausted, my mind was running about a million kilometers a second. After sensing Padmé's fears earlier, I was beginning to become worried about my own abilities to be a good father.
It's not like I would ever torture or inflict bodily harm on either of my children, but what if I do something that would irrevocably mess up their minds? Would they ever forgive me? Or would they take up with a Sith Lord in rebellion against us?
I was broken away from my nervous deliberations when I heard a soft whimper from the bassinet. Not even bothering to see how long I had been lying awake, I stumbled over to see my daughter becoming increasingly agitated. Carefully lifting her up, and being ever thankful that I did not wake up her twin, we quietly walked out of the bedroom.
Looking up at me with her mother's deep brown eyes, my little princess let out a tiny whimper as her little tummy made a gurgling noise. I didn't need Force sensitivity to know that little Leia was hungry. Here was my chance to prove my worth as a father without causing a house-wide emergency due to my ignorance.
I reached into the storage vats to pull out one of several formula filled baby bottles that needed to be warmed up. Once ready, I placed the nipple end towards her mouth which she readily took. I chuckled as my little girl smacked loudly while her early morning treat quickly disappeared. Apparently she seemed to enjoy it.
After she was finished, I put away the bottle and we started to head back to the room when she let loose a loud cry. I tried to rock her back and forth, but to no avail. She was not happy and Leia was getting near the point of screaming. Her face was turning scarlet as I tried everything in my repertoire to calm her down.
I walked around the living area, humming one of my favorite tunes from my childhood, anything I could think of to relax her. The thought of waking up either Jobal or Padmé was not option. I was going to handle this, even if I had to take her for a speeder ride. It then dawned on me that perhaps my daughter needed to be burped.
Shifting from cradling her in my arms to over my shoulder, I gently patted her back as I continued to rock her in my arms. After several minutes of this, I finally heard the tiniest, cutest little burp pass from her lips. I was so excited I immediately ran up to our bedroom. Not wanting to wake up my son, I gently shook my wife.
"Angel? Darling, are you awake?"
A slight snort answered as I shook her a little harder.
"Padmé? Light of my life?"
Stirring awake, Padmé rolled over to face me and gave me a curious look. "Is something wrong? The babies? Is something wrong with them?" She asked as she sat up quickly.
Keeping my voice down, I replied "No, nothing's wrong. I just wanted to tell you that Leia burped. It was so cute!"
At first, my bride gave me a perplexed look. It then turned into one of annoyance as she muttered through her teeth, "And you woke me up at….0430 to tell me this?"
"Yeah, isn't it great?"
She sighed loudly as she shook her head in disbelief. "Ani, as much as I'd love to hear all about the twins' bodily functions, please put our daughter down and then come to bed."
As I then realized that I disturbed my wife's rest, I offered her a shrug in apology. I guess my excitement got the better of me. Quietly making my way over to the bassinet, I held my daughter out before I tucked her in. A different gurgling noise bubbled from her causing me to pull her closer so I could investigate. That move turned out to be most unfortunate. Before I could react, I heard a brief gurgle followed by an eruption that launched at my face.
Seems like my offspring wish to grace me with their bodily outputs, I thought while I tried my best not to get sick myself. If these are hints of what is to come, we're in a lot of trouble.