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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

DANIEL’S FIRST DAY (story by mande)

DECEMBER 10, 1944

Ray and Livy went to sleep around 11:30. They snuggled close face-to-face with Ray’s arms around Livy, her head on his chest, and her free arm around Ray. They soon fell asleep because they each had had a very busy day.

Livy was having a confusing dream about POW’s, and loss of trust, and babies being born, and amidst all this she felt a warmth that she couldn’t understand. She muttered something unintelligible which broke into Ray’s sleep. She thought, babies being born? Who? Where? She woke with a start and felt some physical pain in her abdomen and moaned. Ray, right beside her, was awake now because she had moved.

‘Are you all right?’ asked Ray groggily.

‘I think so,’ said Livy, and again felt this warmth that still felt like a dream. As she became more awake she became more aware of where they were, and then things became clearer, but she was still wondering about a baby. Then she heard a little whimper.

Upon becoming fully awake, Livy tried to get up, felt some abdominal pain, and winced. Ray felt her attempting to move and tightened his hold on her for a moment, then they looked at each other, smiled, each feeling happy but shy, and kissed. After their ‘good morning’ to each other, they agreed that it was a cramped sleep but definitely a good one. At exactly the same time they said, ‘I love you’, and then giggled. And then she recognized where the warmth was coming from, their love for each other.

Now more fully awake, she remembered the events of yesterday, and knew it was she who had had the baby, and not in a dream either! Daniel hadn’t wakened up during the night, it was 5:30 in the morning. Livy was concerned because he had slept for 6 hours, and the doctor said he would likely feed every four hours. Gingerly she got out of bed and looked in his cradle. He was fine, just starting to wake up. She called Ray over to watch as Daniel was waking up, his facial movements, yawning and stretching and making baby noises. Ray stood behind Livy and put his arms around her. She felt the strong secure warmth of his body, and his love. They giggled again because it was funny watching Daniel wake up, and knowing this is their son.

Ray kissed Livy on the neck, and she turned around, and they hugged and kissed. Ray said, ‘Thank you.’ Livy pretended to look puzzled and said, ‘For what?’, as if she didn’t know!

Ray said, ‘For giving me a son, and for asking to name him Daniel, and for being here with me,’ and as tears came to his eyes, ‘And for loving me.’ Livy blushed. She was so happy! She never thought she would ever be this happy. She simply said softly, ‘You’re welcome.’

Ray lifted Daniel out of his cradle, sang him the song his daddy had sung to him, and handed him to Livy so she could feed him. As Livy prepared to feed him, Ray went downstairs to make breakfast for them.
Breakfast was ready when Livy came downstairs, Ray had lots of experience cooking for himself, and Livy was very hungry.

Before eating Livy said a prayer out loud, which she usually didn’t do, and Ray appreciated her words. She didn’t close her eyes or bow her head but held Ray’s hand and looked at him with love in her eyes. She thanked God for the safe delivery of their baby, and for the love that had come to them, her voice cracking with emotion, and said, ‘Maybe, as you said on my first day here, it was God’s will after all.’ Ray smiled and squeezed her hand.

While they were eating breakfast their conversation consisted of what they were each doing for the day. Ray would be doing chores, and Livy taking care of the baby, and maybe having a nap when Daniel did. Livy suggested that while they were about their daily chores for each of them to think of second name for Daniel.

After breakfast Ray kissed Livy and went out to do chores taking his coffee with him.

Livy, humming, had a busy morning. She didn’t overdo it, but washed the breakfast dishes, made their bed, bathed, changed and fed Daniel, and napped a little bit when he did before lunch

When Ray came in at lunchtime he picked up the thought she had left him with, Daniel’s second name, and asked if she had thought of anything.

Livy said, ‘I know what we are definitely not calling him. I don’t want to call him John after my father.’ She paused, and then said, ‘And definitely not Edward, or Kent.’ Again Livy paused. And then she said, ‘I think it would be alright if we used your name, Raymond, as his second name, because if we had another son, I wouldn’t want to call him Ray. Its not out of disrespect to you, Ray, but because that name has become very dear to me and is for you only,’ and she smiled adoringly at Ray.

Ray nodded and smiled broadly, not only at the honour she gave to his name, but also because she had said ‘if we have another son.’

Livy laughingly said, ‘We could call him Willard since Rev Case was the one that brought us together!’

They both laughed, not at Rev Case, but for naming their child Willard!

Ray said, ‘I was thinking about,’ and he paused, ‘Troy.’

They both laughed, and Livy had to wince from the pain that the laughing caused her.

‘And on a more serious note,’ Livy said, ‘Ray, I want you to tell you now how I really appreciated the fact that you got that book out of the library to read so you could get to know more abut me. Thank you.’

Ray looked a little embarrassed, but nodded and smiled at his wife, and then Ray went upstairs to the bunkroom and brought down the Singleton family bible, now their family bible, and read out the names in there.

Ray said, ‘Well, Walter was my grandfather’s name, and Chester was my dad, but Daniel has a cousin Chester,’ and with eyebrows raised he said, ‘Maybe we could use Hank for a second name.’ They had a lot of fun and laughter putting the name Daniel with each of the names in the bible, but couldn’t make a decision.

After lunch Martha and Ruth came over and brought a casserole for supper. There were hugs all around, congratulations, and they talked about the road conditions. Ruth couldn’t stand it anymore and said. ‘I want to meet my cousin, Daniel.’ Her eyes glowed: she has a cousin! She wanted to hold him, so Livy helped her. Ruth had the biggest smile on her face! She said she remembers her brothers as baby’s, especially Chester, and how she helped her mother with him. It was good to have them there.

Livy told Martha and Ruth that they were trying to think of a second name for Daniel. Martha talked to Livy some more about baby care, and Ruth was happy to just hold him. Martha said she had brought over several large boxes of baby clothes that she had kept from her children. She said she would have brought them over sooner, but Livy had been talking about going to Denver to deliver. Livy nodded and said, ‘Umhm,’ and then said quietly, ‘Thank you so much!’

Martha said, with a smile, ‘I’ll ask Ray to bring them in later. You’ll need to air them out and get them warm before using them.’ Then Martha and Ruth started to do some laundry, and tidied the house a bit while Livy fed Daniel and put him down for a nap.

After a while Livy took Martha aside, and referring to the conversation about the letter she had received from Edward, she assured Martha that she does love Ray. She also assured Martha that she would never hurt him, and she would not be leaving Ray to go back to Denver. Martha had tears in her eyes, but they did not fall, and she thanked Livy. Martha looked very pleased and hugged Livy

Ray came in for coffee and some of Mrs Pratt’s cake, and to visit with his sister, niece, wife and son. They talked a little bit about a second name for Daniel, and Martha asked Ray if he could bring in the boxes of baby clothes from the truck. He said he would be happy to do it.

Whenever she had a moment to put her mind to it, which wasn’t often, Livy thought about Rose and Florrie, and she was upset at the outcome of their friendship, and felt that she didn’t want to speak to them again. They had used her and that was not what friends do.

Later in the afternoon the sheriff called to see when it would be okay to come over to talk to Livy about her involvement with the planned escape of the POW, Walter, and knowing that Livy had just given birth he told her it wasn’t urgent but he should make out a report soon. He also mentioned that they should make some arrangements to get the truck back.

Martha and Ruth stayed for supper and helped with the dishes before they left. Livy was feeling tired, it had been a long day.

When she went up to bed that night Livy noticed the family bible on a table in the corner of their room, and smiled, and that feeling of warmth came over her again. Who would have thought six months ago that she would have found happiness on a farm with a loving, caring, and handsome husband? For sure she didn’t think it was possible, or ever could have happened to her.

She went over to the table and carefully opened the bible to the ‘Marriages’ page and saw Ray’s and her name there. She smiled. Then she read the names and dates of Ray’s grandparents, parents and his sisters wedding. And then it hit her! Stewart! Hank’s surname was Stewart! That would be a fine second name for Daniel! She wondered what Ray would think. From her very first day here Martha and Hank had welcomed her to the family, and even provided a casserole for their first meal. They gave her and Ray help and support, including bringing over ‘the claw’ to dig a hole for a swimming pool! Livy knew that that’s what families did for each other, and she could feel that warmth again when she thought of Martha and Hank and their children.

When Ray came up to bed he smiled when he saw Livy nursing Daniel in the rocking chair that his mother had used many years ago. Livy was discreetly covered, so he came over to her and kissed her on the forehead. Livy asked him what he thought of the name Stewart for Daniel’s second name. She said that Hank and Martha were always willing to help when they needed them, and it would be a good way to honour his sister and her family, that is, she said haltingly, if Ray approved.

Ray blinked and raised his eyebrows. Livy could see tears well up in his eyes.

‘Wow’, he finally said, ‘Never thought of that name! That sounds good! I like it!’ And after a moment he said, ‘Thank you. I think Martha and Hank would be honoured and pleased.’

Livy was happy, and smiled lovingly at her husband. When Livy had put Daniel in his cradle, she slipped under the covers with Ray. They hugged and kissed before they settled down for the night ever mindful that little Daniel Stewart Singleton could wake up in about four hours to be fed.

Ray said, ‘Are you sure you don’t want to call him Willard?’

They both giggled, but really wanted to laugh out loud, but didn’t want to wake their baby.