Suzanne and I were happy settled in our flat. I met up with Wendy and Lavinia who also worked at Silverstream and had a baby. Suzanne was the oldest and it was obvious that she was falling way behind. Rene, Wendy’s little boy, and Fred, Lavinia’s were trying to sit up and roll and Suzanne did nothing but smile.
Wendy gave me news of Ben. He was in Australia and had recently been dumped by a girlfriend and tried to commit suicide. Stupid me, my first thought was to rush over and save him. Totally impractical and illogical. I also learnt that I was the only girl that he got pregnant, there were at least 3 others she said.
Of course to get onto the DPB, I had to name her father. I was never ashamed of her paternity but her birth certificate said father unknown. I had to see a lawyer and sue for maintenance. The was so degrading and humiliating. . I saw two lawyers and each time I had to explain precisely how I got pregnant. When where and how, so embarrassing. They said I didn’t have enough evidence. The next time I get pregnant I told them I will make sure I have lots of witness, I make it a public event. They sent paternity papers to Ben and he denied it they said. That made me feel even worse. At this point, I had almost wished I had said I didn’t know
Around this time when I was out shopping I ran into an old work colleague. She told me she was surprised I had done such a terrible thing. She always thought I was a nice girl.
Suzanne’s first Christmas was at our first flat in Lane Street. I brought a fake tree and some Christmas decorations. I couldn’t afford lights though. I still have some of those decorations and as faded as they are, they still go on my tree at Christmas. My dad was upset cause I brought Suzanne a push chair for Christmas. We didn’t have a lot of money she needed one badly. I also brought her a few clothes and toys.
Christmas lunch was at June’s, one of Ivan’s daughters. It was probably the worse Christmas lunch I ever had. They made derogatory remarks about Suzanne’s lack of progress. I remember going home and having a cry.
People only saw her disabilities. They never noticed her smile.
Mum came round one day and said that when Ivan they were moving to Te Puke. Since we had no other family in Upper Hutt it made sense to move north as well. I talked to Dad and he drove down and picked Suzanne and I up so we could find a flat. We also brought Suzy the Siamese with us. She was to stay with Dad until we were settled. I found a flat in Botanical Road Tauranga which was close to the hospital. It made sense to be there. My brother and Gay lived a few blocks away in 22nd Avenue. Their son Joshua had been born in the previous September.
I came back and packed up our stuff. It was sad to say goodbye to Mr and Mrs Granger, Wendy and Lavinia but I didn’t really have much choice.
I had no regrets, all the mattered was that Suzanne and I were together.
© Barbara Hart 2014