Born in the winter of my discontent . . .
. . . and now almost two years old! Eliza joined our family at a particularly trying time. In the year 2006, we designed, built a house, fixed the lingering problems at our old house, sold it, and moved. If we had moved straight into the new house, perhaps it wouldn't have been so overwhelming, but the house was bogged down in one delay after another, and the end result was that we spent six weeks in a hotel room -- with five kids ages 7 and under and a hugely pregnant mom. The twins were strong-willed, tantrum-throwing two-year-olds bewildered at all the changes and determined to try their mother's patience. There'd be a tantrum when I wouldn't let one of them use the card to get into our room. Since there were two of them and only one card, we had melt-downs four or five times a day. I dreaded bringing them down the hall to the breakfast room. Inevitably, one of them would take off around a corner or run up some stairs and I'd be chasing them as best I could with my huge belly. I'd try to get us through breakfast and back to our room as quickly as possible to get away from all the curious eyes. I know the kids were just being kids, but I couldn't help but wonder how many of the fellow guests were thinking, "She's having ANOTHER?"
When we checked into the hotel, we believed that we would be there for three to four weeks. Eliza was due in six weeks. We joked about it being a race to see what would be done first, the baby or the house, but I never actually thought I would be bringing a baby home to a hotel room. The joke was on me. Ha ha. We didn't have any clothes for her because they were all in storage. We almost didn't have a carseat. A week before we moved to the hotel, I had DH get it out of storage just in case. Luckily, my sister-in-law visiting from Washington brought a few outfits to the hospital when she visited me, so Eliza didn't have to be completely naked.
I wanted to laugh when the nurses asked their standard questions when I checked out. You know, the ones designed to determine whether they should send a social worker?
"Do you have enough support at home?"
"Oh sure, my mother's coming," I said, not daring to mention that I didn't even have a home at the moment!
And my mother did come, poor thing. She stayed with my brother and came to help me during the day, driving my kids to school, holding and loving Eliza, and then helping us pack up the hotel room eight days after Eliza was born so we could embark on the next stage of our journey. Our house still wasn't done, but we'd gotten carpet into two of the basement rooms and we figured that was good enough. We were sick of hotel life and wanted a place of our own. The first night, though we'd planned on unpacking the beds from the POD, moving from the hotel and dealing with house details took all our time, so we slept (or didn't, in my case) on the floor. It was miserable, but it was our floor. Things started looking up the next day, as we got beds out of storage and carpet got laid in most of the rest of the house.
Eliza's middle name is Joy, and though the timing of her entrance into our lives was not exactly joyful, I've never been anything but grateful for her. She is sweet and loving and adorable. She'll be two in just a few weeks and I look forward to watching her grow in the years to come. I'm grateful for her entrance into our lives, dramatic (or pathetic) as it may have been.