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Children of the Night

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Chapter 5 – Epilogue – October 2000

"Zachariah Anthony David," Ziv proclaimed as he held his eight day old son up for the gathered friends and family at the baby's bris. His eyes sought out the only two others in the room that mattered to him. He found Antonia with the other women, holding fifteen month old Talia Rivka, aka Tali, in her arms. He moved over near the other half of his family as the baby yawned sleepily.

After informing both fathers of their official engagement, plans were started for a June wedding. Those plans were aborted in mid-December when Antonia suspected that she might be pregnant. She and Ziv sat in her bathroom waiting for the results on the little plastic stick with hands intertwined. When the result showed positive, Ziv was ecstatic. He couldn't help himself; he started singing 'She's Having My Baby' as he carried his fiancée in his arms. He placed her on the bed and kissed her all over. A doctor's appointment the following day confirmed the pregnancy. When the couple informed Eli and Anthony of the news, Eli used his influence to get a rabbi and a priest for a wedding ceremony the following week. Traditions from both religions were observed, including the vows for both religions, the Ketubah, the breaking of the glass, and the Holy Communion.

After a short trip to New York for a honeymoon, both Ziv and Antonia began their studies at the University of Haifa, Both chose to major in education, Ziv in the sciences and Antonia in elementary education with a concentration in languages. They lived in Ziv's Ima's house in Haifa and both fathers agreed to help support the couple while they were completing their undergraduate degrees.

As the end of the first semester rolled around, Antonia was getting uncomfortable. Ziv was overly protective of his very pregnant wife, but he learned to temper his need to protect her with her need for some independence. Both finished the term with high academic honors. Ziv took a part-time job as a supervisor for the beach clean-up crews.

Antonia readied the nursery and stocked the freezer with premade meals for after the baby's birth. On the afternoon of her birthday, she started having contractions. Ziv had just come in from work when her water broke and the couple headed to the hospital. Fourteen hours later, their baby girl took her first breaths in this world.

"She is beautiful, she has your curls already," Ziv held his swaddled newborn as Antonia expelled the afterbirth and then was cleaned up. Tears streamed down his face, "My love, you have given me the greatest gift possible." The nurse nodded and he placed the baby in his wife's arms.

"Hello, mia bambina," Antonia cooed at her baby girl. "She has your eyes, Ziv."

The couple officially introduced Talia Rivka David to the world eight days after her birth. They chose to name her after her late aunt and one of her grandmothers. Eli David and Anthony DiNozzo flew to Israel for the weekend after to meet their new granddaughter.

Both started back to classes during the fall term alternating schedules when possible and using the university provided day care if they both had class. Again both finished the term with high honors. Eli paid for the family to fly to Paris for the winter holidays. For many of the embassy staff at both the American and Israeli embassies, it was a reunion with the young couple and a celebration of the new life of the next generation.

Spring term started without any complications. Young Tali enjoyed the company of the other babies at the day care. Ziv and Antonia noted her milestone achievements, such as smiles, laughs, first tooth, rolling over, sitting up unassisted, and getting into crawling position with photos and videos. Anthony had sent a video camera as a baby gift.

Soon after Passover and Easter, Antonia noticed some familiar signs. She purchased a home pregnancy kit and when the test showed positive, she shared the results with her husband. A doctor's appointment confirmed the second pregnancy and a due date of 10 October.

At Tali's first birthday party, an obviously pregnant Antonia tried to keep up with the little one. Tali was not quite walking but she scooted fast. Ziv chased her down as she laughed and moved away from her Ima. The baby had her own small birthday cake which she wore with pride; Ziv took lots of video footage and many still shots for the memory books and to share with grandfathers.

Nettie came to stay about two weeks before Antonia's due date. Antonia was thankful for Doda Nettie and her help with an active nearly fifteen month old who was into everything. Tali had taken a few tentative steps a week after her first birthday and by the end of July was running nonstop.

Ziv joked that their daughter was a perpetual motion machine. About the only thing that would get the baby to stay still were Disney movies. Tali loved to sit with her Abba and watch the video tapes of Disney animated films.

Antonia only missed part of the semester that Zach was born and continued her studies in the following spring. Both graduated Summa Cum Laude with degrees in education at the end of the summer of 2002. Ziv began a teaching job at a boys' school in Haifa. He taught general science, physical education, and coached a baseball team. Antonia started her job at an elementary school teaching languages and history.

The couple's third child, Josiah Eli David, was born in late February 2003. The pair purchased the Haifa house from Eli, making it their permanent home. As they celebrated their fifth anniversary in December of 2003, Ziv reflected on the long connection between the two.

"I would do it all again as long as the end result was the same," he kissed his wife as the couple sat in the living room after getting the children in bed for the night. "You are my everything, Antonia David."