Sunrises and Rainbows — Chapter 4

IMG_2765I can only say that I was enjoying myself. I loved this feeling of being a family, of having a gorgeous three year old daughter and a perfect newborn. We had a lot of family visit and we had friends come over. We were renovating the back of the kitchen that had been a mudroom. I had gotten to know a lot of people in the city and felt that I had a reasonable community around me.

In Canada there is a lot of messy weather. With this in mind, entrance ways are equipped with a mud room that is designed to house a lot of coats and boots and provide a space where you can change and put things away. The house did not have an eat in-kitchen, so we decided to remove the wall between the mudroom and the kitchen.

We had patio doors installed on the one side of the mudroom and it opened the kitchen up and gave us room for a table with a view into the backyard. The workers were in the house right after the baby was born, which was a little bit of a bummer, but it was nice when it was completed.

I would sit for hours with my daughter lying asleep on my chest. I did this with all of my newborns. There is a real comfort holding a baby. They are so much nicer when they are on the outside, especially when they are still small and fairly immobile.

As a family we had gotten into a routine. My baby would sleep the entire night if I sat and fed her for a really long time before bed. She would also sleep in the afternoon. My days were composed of going out in the morning for preschool, groceries or Dancefit and then staying in, in the afternoon, so that the baby could nap. I would watch cartoons during this time with my older daughter.

I remember there were many thunderstorms that summer, right around dinnertime. The house had a huge front porch and the three of us would stand out there and watch the display. It was the kind of porch that was made to sit on and was covered by a roof and there were partial walls around the front and sides of it. This was not just a slab of cement to mark where the front door was. It was a place to sit.

The porch faced east and had the added advantage of being a great place to see rainbows and sunrises. I have seen rainbows in the other directions, but my experience is that most of them are in the east. Just recently, there was a double rainbow in the west one morning, but I don’t recall seeing a lot of them. For one thing, you have to be out in the morning. I do remember standing on the porch with my daughters waiting for Bob to come home from work.

I had read how many women would put a lot of pressure on their husbands when they got home from work and I didn’t want to be doing this so when I realized that I was doing it I backed off considerably. Bob had already mentioned that I was “too bored” at home and I misread why he was saying it.

He was saying it because he wanted me to be back at work. From a purely mathematical perspective, I could be making a lot of money. The cost of childcare paled in comparison to what a veterinarian could make. His mother felt the same way, but she went one step further. She explained that the taxpayers had contributed a lot of money to running universities and as a graduate I had a certain responsibility to give back to the community.

This did not show any respect for the fact that I was bringing in money. Not only did I have an income from the social safety nets in the province, but also I had rental income for a while and then I had tax return income from the final sale of my house. Then, there was the money that was made from the sale of my house. I had also invested several thousand dollars in a second mortgage for some neighbours and they were paying dearly to keep this money. I was bringing in a substantial amount of money considering that I was not “working” or “contributing” as I was being told.

The main thing that was clear was that I was not appreciated for what I was doing. I was bringing in money; running the household; raising the girls and trying not to make too many demands on Bob. What I wasn’t doing was anything that could give Bob more status or prestige. Having a baby is good until the novelty wears off. My purpose in his life was to make money and to make him proud, as far as I could tell. I did not know this for many years, at least consciously.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

My Father

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