Summary: On St. Patrick's Day, Jack gives the Munchkins their first introduction to their Irish heritage.
"We're going to have a fun day," Jack told his six-month-old triplets as they looked up at him from their oversized crib. "B'gosh and begorrah, it's St. Paddy's Day, or St. Patty's Day, take your pick." He grinned and sighed, "Okay, I'm taking liberties here, but you've got Irish blood in you, and today, we're gonna party."
A big yawn distracted the silver-haired father. He turned and grinned at the sight he beheld. It was his husband, still in his pajamas, arms reaching towards the ceiling as he stretched, and another big yawn escaping his throat.
"Jack, get real. Right now I am anything but beautiful." Daniel stopped walking forward. His eyes blinked rapidly as his brain engaged what he'd just said. "Did I just say that?"
Chuckling, Jack walked over to his lover, embraced him dramatically, and kissed him hard. This elicited a sensual moan that had both men a bit tingly. Before anything could get out of hand, though, Aislinn giggled.
"Jack, the babies."
Looking over at the crib, Jack nodded and affirmed, "Yep, those are babies all right, and you know what, Danny? They're ours."
"Yeah, I, uh, know that," Daniel sighed, leaning his head against his husband's secure shoulder. "Isn't it amazing, Babe? Those three beautiful lives are actually ours. I'm still not sure I believe it."
"Well, believe it, Angel." Just then a rather distinct sound was heard, along with a rather strong odor. "That'll help you," Jack mused as he kissed Daniel quickly on the lips and headed out of the nursery.
"Hey, wait! Jack, where are you ... going?" Daniel's shoulders dropped some as he heard a couple more follow ups to the first noisy interruption. He looked over at the Munchkins and queried, "Do you really all have to do it at the same time?" He stared, swearing he could see a mischievous expression on Jonny's face. "Yeah, well, okay. Let's get to it." As his nose crunched at the foul odor, he sighed, "I really do love you, but try to space it out next time."
"Jack, where have you been?" Daniel barked as he carefully entered the kitchen.
As Jack turned to face his husband, he let out a laugh and remarked, "You're getting good at this, Angel."
"Survival," replied the younger man. "A little help would be nice."
Daniel was wearing a baby holder on his chest. Secured inside was Aislinn, the smallest of the triplets. Her brothers, meanwhile, were firmly ensconced in their daddy's arms.
Jack quickly made his way to his lover's spot and took the boys into his arms while saying, "You get Ash in her highchair and then we'll split the boys."
"Fine," Daniel agreed. "I'll take the tops and you can have their bottoms."
"Cute," Jack groaned.
"Consider it payback for the bottoms you left me with this morning," Daniel retorted, getting a snicker from his husband. "Ah, what are you cooking?" he asked at the same time he was tending to his daughter.
"We're having green eggs and ham," Jack answered. "They're having split pea puree baby gunk."
Daniel rolled his eyes at the response, but didn't bother to make a retort of his own. Once Aislinn was properly placed in her highchair, he took hold of his namesake and then both men made sure the boys were seated correctly in their highchairs.
"Gotta check the eggs."
"Na-huh?" Jack echoed, speaking the phrase playfully.
"I have to do what you say."
"Now that would be a first."
Aware the babies were present, Daniel gave his husband a loving kiss and then patted him on the chest.
Laughing, Jack responded, "Oh, yeah, and I like your clovers."
The parents were both in jeans and wearing T-shirts. Jack's was green and had the phrase, "Kiss me - I'm Irish," on it, which is why his husband had just obliged and kissed him. Daniel's shirt was white with three solid green clovers on it. He chose that one because his lucky clovers were his three babies.
With breakfast completed, Jack decided he wanted to get a picture of the babies in their holiday attire before the family headed downtown for the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
"I'm not sure I should have let you pick out their clothes," Daniel expressed with some doubt about the three outfits.
"They're perfect," Jack rebutted as he made some final adjustments.
While the older man was busy with Little Danny and Aislinn, Jonny began to laugh. It was joyful and full of play.
Not able to resist, Daniel snapped a picture that captured the delight of the moment, with Jonny's feet actually up in the air a few inches as his hands reached forward to touch his toes. His smile was big and bright, and his eyes were alight with laughter, just as his puffy cheeks were rosy as could be. The baby was wearing a tall emerald green hat with a wide brim. It matched perfectly the long-sleeve romper that had green arms and white over the chest and back with a white, green-trimmed bottom.
"Jack, look," Daniel instructed.
"That's it, Jonny," Jack praised, sharing a happy smile with his husband before finishing with the other two Munchkins. "Done!"
As Jack backed away, Daniel smiled and waved at their triplets. He thought they looked positively adorable.
Little Danny was dressed in a sky blue bodysuit that had a green tuxedo imprinted on it. It made him look quite dapper for a baby.
Aislinn, the youngest of the triplets, had on the same style of bodysuit, only hers was kiwi green with a colorful rainbow on it and the words, "I was born at the end of a rainbow!" printed on it.
For the next ten minutes, the parents took a variety of photos, even managing to take a couple of themselves in the process. Then it was on to the next part of the day, the parade.
"Munchkins, time for the parade," Jack announced brightly as he and Daniel began the process of removing the babies from their infant car seats. "This is a first, too."
"A first?" Daniel questioned, glancing up at his husband.
"Yeah. This is the first time the parade is being held downtown," Jack explained. "Every year since it started in '85, it's been in the Old Colorado City district."
"Oh," Daniel returned. "I wasn't sure what you meant. I mean, uh, this is a first for us, too."
"The best first," Jack acknowledged with a grin as he removed the stroller from the back of the truck.
The stroller had been decorated for the occasion, with green four leaf clover garland and pinwheels. Jack had even managed to find some hanging leprechauns which were placed on the sides of the handle. Daniel had gotten into the decorating spirit as well and had attached green paper shamrocks to each wheel.
With the babies in their triplet stroller, Jack and Daniel set out to find the best spot for them to watch the parade that would begin at noontime.
"If we get a spot at the beginning of the route, we'll get a headstart leaving and beat the traffic," Daniel put forth as he considered the tens of thousands who were certain to attend the event.
The parade was set to begin at Tejon and E. St. Vrain Streets and continue south on Tejon to Vermijo.
"How about trying to find a spot by the park?" Jack suggested.
"I think we're here early enough," Daniel replied as he continued to push the stroller.
The parade was a smashing success for the Jackson-O'Neill family. The babies loved the marching bands and floats, not to mention the jovial leprechauns who roamed through the crowds as the parade progressed. There were lots of smiles and giggles. Jack especially loved some of the classic cars that were seen, and Daniel just loved being there with his family.
"I can't believe they made it through the entire parade," Daniel noted as his husband pushed the stroller toward the area in which the truck was parked.
"I'll bet you five dollars they're asleep before we get to the truck."
"Oh, no," Daniel refused, shaking his head and waving his right hand from side to side at the same time.
"Oh, no what?" Jack asked.
"They're already asleep," the archaeologist mused, having just glanced inside the covered mode of transportation.
"I wouldn't mind a nap myself."
"I'd better drive," Daniel chuckled, his head bowed slightly. "Uh, how many hot dogs and corned beef and cabbage sandwiches did you have, anyway?"
"I didn't count."
Amused, Daniel just sighed with happiness. He couldn't even describe the joy he felt. Once, March 17th was just another day, but now it was a family event. Life just did not get any better than this.
"Mom!" Jack exclaimed gleefully, opening the front door wide to let in Kayla Armentrout, the surrogate mother of the Munchkins who was also pregnant with another child of Jack and Daniel's.
"Good afternoon, Jack," the warm and loving woman greeted as she entered the home with a wide smile. "Are they up?"
"In the kitchen with Danny," Jack answered about the babies. "We're making rainbow streamers."
"Can I help?"
"Are you Irish?"
"I'm not sure," Kayla laughed.
"You can help anyway," Jack responded. "You're family."
The two chatted lightly as they ambled their way toward the kitchen. It was around the table in the nook that Daniel and the three babies were situated.
"Hey, look! It's Mommy," Daniel told the triplets upon seeing the woman.
"Hi, Daniel," Kayla responded with a smile, giving him a hug and kiss when he got up to meet her. "Hey, Munchkins!"
Jack and Daniel, standing side by side and with their arms around each other, watched as Kayla said hello to the little lives she had given birth to last September. The children were bright and bubbly with her, all recognizing their mother. Aislinn reached out for her, so Kayla picked her up and began an impromptu mother and daughter chat that made sense to only them.
"How was the parade?" Kayla asked as she sat down with Aislinn still in her loving hold.
"Awesome," Jack answered.
"I heard on the radio that there was an altercation."
"Missed it," Jack assumed, shrugging since he hadn't been aware of any disturbances.
"Apparently, it was at the beginning of the parade. I'm really not sure what it was about, except that some people were not allowed to march in it."
"Ah! Politics," the general returned as he and Daniel sat back down in their chairs and continued working on the streamers. "How about some yellow?" he asked Jonny, who reached out for a piece of the ribbon. "I'll take that as a yes."
The happy group continued working on their project until the babies began to fall asleep. Each of the three adults carried one of the Munchkins upstairs, placing the wee ones into their extra large crib and ensuring they were sleeping soundly.
"I know I'm not supposed to say this," Kayla spoke in a whisper, "but they are the most beautiful babies in the world."
Smiling, the parents quietly exited the nursery and went downstairs with Jack holding the portable baby monitor.
"I wish you would have come to the parade with us," Daniel imparted as he sat down on the sofa.
"Daniel, we've talked about this. I will not interfere with your special times with the babies," Kayla reminded sternly. ~I have to stick firm with this, even though a part of me wanted to be at the parade with them as well.~
"You're their mother," Daniel rationalized.
"I gave birth to them, and I love them, but they are your children, yours and Jack's."
"We just want you to be a part of everything, too," the archaeologist maintained.
"What he said," Jack added from his seat in his armchair.
"I appreciate it. I really do, but this was fun," the woman insisted. "Besides, I have this other life inside of me to take care of."
Jack and Daniel both grinned. Kayla had announced last month that she was pregnant with the next Jackson-O'Neill child. All were pleased with the way things were going.
The mention of the new baby started a long discussion about the pregnancy that lasted until Kayla excused herself to return to her home. She hugged the two men who she had grown to love and admire and then went on her way, leaving Jack and Daniel to continue their St. Patrick's Day celebration with the children.
"Kids, pay attention. This is real music," Jack told the Munchkins early that evening. The family had enjoyed a traditional Irish meal and now were listening to a variety of Celtic music and partying Irish tunes. "The Irish Rovers -- oh yeah!"
Daniel laughed as his husband whooped and hollered to the festive tunes that played on the CD. He looked over at the babies and saw their happy faces. Six eyes were glued to their dad's antics. It made the archaeologist feel tremendously happy.
The long day was about over for the weary babes, and Jack and Daniel were putting the Munchkins into their sleepers.
"Okay, so, today was fun, and we celebrate the day because Dad is part Irish, and he loves it. His heritage is very important to him, so it's important to me, and, uh, we both want you to treasure your Irish ancestry, too," Daniel told the babies while he helped his namesake into his nightwear.
"Daddy's going to prattle now," Jack mused.
"Hey, I'm just giving them the 4-1-1."
"The ... " Daniel just sighed and mumbled, "You're incorrigible."
With a chuckle, Jack told the babies, "Daddy's prattling is gold in this house, so listen up."
Daniel felt himself smile in spite of wanting to give his husband a loving smack.
"Go ahead, Daddy," Jack instructed with a smirk. ~Geez, he loves me. How'd I get so lucky?~
"Well," Daniel spoke, his eyes rolling a bit as he sought to recall where he'd left off. "There was a man Succat, which in Celtically speaking means victorious. He was born in roughly 389 A.D. in Britain, not Ireland. At the time, Britain was part of the Roman Empire. You know, the funny thing is that we really don't know all that much about his life, but at one point, when he was about 16, he was taken a prisoner, transported to Ireland, and lived in captivity as a slave herder for about six years. He wrote that a voice, believed to be God's, told him to leave the country. He escaped and returned to Britain, only then he said that an angel came to him in a dream and told him to go back to Ireland."
"The man was a ping pong ball," Jack teased.
"He didn't go right away, though," Daniel continued. "He studied religion for over 15 years and was ordained to the ministry before going back. When he did, he wanted to covert the Irish people to Christianity and minister to those who already were practicing Christians."
"Lesson, kids," Jack interrupted while putting Jonny into the crib. "Don't always believe what you hear or read. There's a lot of guessing games out there about our man, Patrick, and a lot them credit him with converting the country to Christianity. Like Daddy just told you, though, there were already Christians in Ireland when Patrick started doing his thing."
"Exactly," Daniel affirmed. "Ireland loves legends and myths, and they have many, many stories about Patrick that are mostly ... creative tales. Um, so, anyway, Succat eventually decided to take the name of Patrick. He became much beloved as time passed and that is why he is referred to as the patron saint of Ireland. No one really knows when he died, but tradition holds that it was probably on March 17th."
"No one really knows much of anything about the man," Jack pointed out, the general now putting Aislinn into her sleeping attire.
"Dad's right," the cultural expert asserted. "I guess all we really need to know is that very early on in history a man had a ... a great ministry that ended up affecting an entire country. He was so revered that he became a saint and is remembered throughout the world by this day of celebration. For a lot of people, it's more about their love of the Irish than it is one man."
"Don't worry about not remembering all of this. Daddy will repeat it when you're older," Jack remarked.
"Time to sleep," Daniel stated, carrying Little Danny over to the crib. "Happy dreams," he encouraged softly, kissing the baby before settling him among his siblings.
Little yawns and squiggling limbs had Jack and Daniel smiling. Jack put his arm around his soulmate's waist as the two stood over the crib, watching their amazing miracles until Aislinn's final yawn had her following her brothers into the beginning of what their parents hoped would be a long night's sleep. Then Daniel walked over to get the baby monitor and picked it up before leisurely strolling out of the room to go downstairs with his husband.
"Grrrrr!" Jack uttered from his throat as he pulled taut on the tug toy.
"Get him, Katie!" Daniel urged.
"Hey!" Jack objected. "Whose side are you on?"
"Katie's," Daniel smirked.
"Traitor," Jack whined. "Grrrr!" he exclaimed again, his gruffness returned with some deep utterances from the younger beagle as well.
Watching, Daniel patted Bijou as she rested comfortably in his arms. He gave her a kiss on the top of her head, prompting her to lick his hand twice before letting out with a supportive woof for her baby in the tug toy battle.
Finally, Jack uttered a loud "Ahg!" and Katie broke away, the tug toy secure in her mouth. She pranced around the backyard to the proud woofs of her mother.
"She cheated," Jack whined.
"Sore loser?" Daniel wondered as he spoke into Bijou's ear.
"When she'd get so strong?" the general groaned, shaking his right hand from the ache it felt.
"Must be that Special Ops training you put the girls through."
"Show off," Jack groused, walking over and taking Bijou from Daniel. "I need some love."
Obliging, Bijou gave her human a slew of happy kisses and settled down into his arms, content to let her baby get all of the exercise on this night.
Laughing, Daniel stood and called out, "Katie, let's check out your play yard."
Katie had a special area where things could be buried and dug up. She loved to go on digs with Daniel because when she did, she always found a new toy to play with.
"Maybe it'll be an Irish charm," Jack whispered to Bijou as he scratched her behind the ear, much to the dog's approval.
Over at the play yard, Daniel was on his abdomen, digging with his fingers through the sandy area.
"Try over there," the archaeologist suggested to the beagle, smiling when Katie repositioned herself and began to dig with her paws.
Katie dug with passion and then paused. Her snout let out with a sniff.
"Got something?" Daniel questioned.
"Grr," was the abbreviated canine response as Katie went to town with her digging, her paws fervently moving the sand until a deep hole emerged. "Woof!" she barked before her nose disappeared into the hole.
A few seconds later, Katie's tail wagged victoriously as she pulled out a green, leprechaun stuffed toy.
"Way to go, girl!" Jack called out.
"Another successful dig, Katie. I'm proud of you," Daniel praised as he stood up and brushed himself off.
At that point, Bijou jumped off Jack's lap and decided to run around the yard with her daughter.
Daniel rejoined his husband and the two watched the girls play by themselves for a while.
"We're so lucky, Babe. Three beautiful babies, another on the way, and Bijou and Katie. We're ... charmed."
"Happy St. Patrick's Day, Love," the older man wished, leaning in for a kiss. "I love you."
"I love you, too, Jack. Thank you."
"It's not that I believe in luck, but, uh, I do believe in you, so in a sense, you're my lucky charm."
"I know you're mine," Jack responded, kissing his husband another time.
Eventually, the couple ended up inside, sipping on green champagne as Daniel surprised his Love with an Irish toast:
"May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.
May you have warm words on a cold evening,
a full moon on a dark night,
and a smooth road all the way to your door."
Jack smiled, sealing the toast with the kiss, and then claiming, "I have an even better one for you."
"Oh, yeah. This one is tailor made."
"Let's hear it," Daniel demanded.
"You got it." Smiling, Jack recited his toast, embellishing it with his charming Irish brogue accent. "May your feet never sweat, your neighbor give you ne're a treat. When flowers bloom, I hope you'll not sneeze, and may you always have someone to squeeze!"
Daniel just stared until he couldn't refrain from laughing out loud and opining, "Gawd, Jack, that was bad."
"It's a legitimate toast," the older man insisted.
"Well, I guess it's okay as long you are here for me to squeeze."
"Angel, you can squeeze me and do anything else you want to me."
"Anything," Jack promised.
"You got it," Daniel responded as he began the arousal that would lead to a magical night of lovemaking for the soulmates.
The first Jackson-O'Neill family celebration of St. Patrick's Day had been an astounding success. The Munchkins had learned a bit about their Irish heritage while having a day full of fun with their parents, and even the beagles had enjoyed special time with their humans. Life in Colorado Springs just didn't get much better.
~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
Author's Note: Please feel free to email me with your comments or suggestions; constructive criticism, things you'd like to see, etc. A chronological listing of my universe is at http://orrymain.com