Clap-clap-clap. Mary had Sammy's tiny hands enveloped in hers, and she was making silly faces and pretending he was applauding entirely of his own volition. "Who's Mommy's baby boy?" she asked happily. Clap-clap-clap.

Big, strong hands surrounded hers, then warm arms slipped around her waist. John's mouth was hot on her neck. "Come outside," he said; "you don't want to miss it."

She couldn't think what he could be talking about, but she scooped Sammy up and settled him, gurgling contentedly, on her shoulder. His hair smelled so sweet.

John led her through the house, out the back door and onto the porch. Dean was waiting there, a small, weighted baseball bat dangling from one dimpled hand. When he saw her, his eyes lit up and a huge grin streaked across his face. "Mommy!" he cried, making her stop short guiltily. Had it really been that long since she'd reminded him how much she loved him?

"She's here to see the home-run champ," John said solemnly, taking the back porch steps with a deliberate swagger. "Is that you?"

"Yeah, Daddy," Dean said earnestly, turning away from her with a determined frown of concentration wrinkling his little face.

"Alright then," John said, positioning the ball carefully on the T-ball stand and dramatically hurrying out of the way.

Thwack! The baseball sailed high in a perfect arc, landing in the Winslows' back yard.

John made ahhhh! and the crowd goes wild! noises as Dean carefully ran the bases, touching each tree or rock in turn with his small sneakered foot. When Dean came back to home, the three of them were grinning at him. Clap-clap-clap went Sammy's little hands.