I feel like my life has been so much better since I took the contract to build a house for the city. I could never have dreamed things would have changed so much in such a little time. I have a home of my own, a loving husband, and a growing son. He started elementary school today, and came home full of energy and stories of his day. He and I sat at the table having an after school snack and I listened to all the exciting things he learned at school (and the friends he made, of course!)
Later, even Jared joined in and we all watched a movie together in the newly decorated “living room”. It was so nice to spend some family time without me having to run around cleaning the house or working in the garden. (Luckily, Jared had taken care of most of that while I spent time with Caleb.)
A few days passed with more gardening and school and family time.. then the unexpected happened. I found out we had another nooboo on the way! I waited for Caleb to get home from school, worried that he might think he was being replaced. Jared, of course, was thrilled. (I think, mostly because he loves playing with toddlers!) .. But what would Caleb think??
To my surprise, Caleb was overjoyed at the thought of a little baby brother or sister, and eagerly watched my belly grow as he waited for their arrival. I think his preference was for a little brother, but he tried to be okay with both options.
Days turned into weeks, and before long the money I had made from gardening afforded us the ability to “finish” our home. I say it like that, because undoubtedly the children’s room will need to change as they grow. I included a photo of the interior designer’s mock-up with the walls removed, as well as two outside photos of our wonderful house.
And yes… that’s Caleb’s other big surprise.. a set of Monkey Bars to practice on. He has struggled with the ones at school… so Jared agreed to help him learn at home so he wouldn’t embarrass himself at school.
The big gurus at the government had come by to take promotional shots and they all said how much they liked the house I had built. Apparently they were having trouble getting anyone else to take the contract to build houses in these empty towns! I wasn’t going to complain, because that left more space for the generations to come for my family.
One afternoon, Caleb didn’t come in after school.. and I worried terribly as to where he’d gone. Jared finally found the poor soul sound asleep on the very bench I used to camp on. Apparently he sat down to take a break from the monkey bars and simply nodded off!
Before we knew it, the time for the baby to be born had come. Of course, it was in the middle of the night.. so we ended up letting Caleb stay home and be a “big boy” while we hurried off to the hospital.
Before too long, we were back with our newest addition to the family. (Is it me, or does it seem to go faster with the second one??) Caleb had gotten what he REALLY wanted: a new baby brother. Jared and I named him Ryder, and tucked him safely into his little bassinet. I decided he would stay in the hall, right outside our bedroom door, so Caleb would be able to sleep all night without the baby waking him up, and we could hear him when he woke.
He adjusted easily to a sleeping schedule, though, and midnight feedings were far rarer than they had been with Caleb. Perhaps practice does make perfect.
Caleb, ever watchful when something needed doing, was really helping out around the house. He washed dishes and took out the trash, and spent time watching his brother, as well.
He didn’t neglect his monkey bars, however.. and soon the day came when he could make it all the way across! I was so proud of him, I immediately grabbed the camera and took the above shot as proof. Never let it be said that I wasn’t supportive of our boys!
That same week, Caleb surprised us again. Both with a new outfit and a mask that he made at school and with his shiny new A on his report card. All the studying he had been doing had really paid off.
Ryder was now learning to talk and walk.. and really enjoyed the time Caleb took out of his daily schedule to play with his brother. I was so proud of the two of them I felt I could burst. How had I gotten so lucky?
Day by day, Ryder grew up. He learned to put himself down for a nap while I gardened, and he finally figured out what the potty chair was for. Caleb didn’t mind having his little brother share his room, but he put his foot down at stinky diapers. (I can’t say as I blame him – all of us were happy when the potty training “stuck”.)
Ryder grew steadily, taking on new things on a daily basis. From stairs to climb to trying to “help” in the garden, I adored watching him grow up. Our little surprise was really fitting in with the family well.
Each day felt like a blessing.. although there was that little worry in the back of my head. How would Caleb react when he found out about having to strike out on his own as soon as he graduated high school? I tried not to think about it, but I knew that soon I needed to sit him down and explain the contract. I thought it was a good thing for him, but would he agree? I didn’t want to just spring it on him as he graduated.. I wanted him to be aware of what was coming and more prepared for it than I had been. But when was the best time to tell him? Jared was little help, as he said that it was my decision. Was he old enough to know now? Or should I wait a little longer?
To be continued…
Author’s Note: No, Ryder was not strictly a surprise. I’m not running mods in my game, so I had to have them “try for baby”… but I like to think it was a GOOD surprise for Keira!