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I was pregnant with Caroline while Rob was at field training. It was the first time we were separated for any period of time. I was working in the shoe department at the May Co. I felt so weirdly alone those weeks while Rob was in San Antonio. I had never lived on my own before. The house was really quiet. I planned something fun every week to pass the time.  A little something to look forward to that kept me going. One of those weeks I went to Denver to visit Rob’s parents. I was rather pampered. Gretchen sewed maternity dresses for me. Something about the altitude made me extra sleepy. I took naps every day. It was also the summer of the Night Stalker. There was a serial killer in Los Angeles. I was afraid to open the windows at night. It was so hot and we did not have air conditioning. One of my cats lost the tip of her tail one day while I was at work. The other cat would freak me out by hanging from the screen on the kitchen window when he wanted to be let into the house in the middle of the night. The way the Night Stalker (aka Richard Ramirez) was caught was an exciting story. A survivor was able to give a description of him. The sketch was in all the papers and on the news. It was everywhere. He was recognized and ordinary citizens in East Los Angeles chased him down, subdued him and handed him over to the police.

Rob and Tori December 1985

Caroline was supposed to come in January, but she set the precedent for my early births. Everything about having Caroline was a learning experience. First she was supposed to come at the end of January. Then, when I was about four months along, the doctor determined I was farther along than they had thought. I must have had a period while pregnant. So my date was moved up to the beginning of January. Everyone made fun of our lousy planning. We would miss having her as a tax write-off that year. I had cramps throughout my pregnancy. They made me nervous because I had had a miscarriage several months before. Another lovely aspects of my pregnancy: I gained 20 pounds in my fourth month. Nice. The nurse thought the scale was broken and took me to another to double check. No, it was not broken, I had just eaten like a pig. I worked right up to Christmas Eve, then started my maternity leave. Saskia and her mother-in-law planned a lovely baby shower for me. We had it just a couple days after Christmas and then I went into labor on the 29th. It was a Sunday. I was at church (we went to the single’s ward to hear a friend’s missionary homecoming talk – I can’t even remember who it was, I was so distracted with contractions). We went to dinner at the Session’s home. I didn’t eat because I hoped, rather than knew, that I was in labor. It was an odd labor. The contractions were two minutes apart from the very start, but very mild. NOT what we had been taught to expect. Finally we went to the hospital. They saw two minute apart contractions and admitted me immediately. Mistake. They should have sent me home, but I was dilated with contractions coming every two minutes. They thought I was moving quickly. Nope. I labored for over 24 hours. I’m sure things would have gone much quicker if I had been at home, but none of us realized that I was just an oddball when it comes to labor. By the morning the doc decided to administer pitocin to speed things up. Ugh. It worked. I was hooked up to every contraption. Everyone in the world started showing up to witness. Margaret dubbed it the “stadium birth”. By that afternoon I was pushing and Caroline arrived around 4 pm.

Caroline blessing day

blessing day

We named Caroline after my sister. Carrie had been named after my grandmother, Caroline (Leilani) Dias. There are very few photos of Caroline as a newborn. We did not have a camera. These days everyone has a camera on their phone so there is no missing any moment. We missed documenting a lot of early moments with Caroline until we got a camera.

We brought Caroline home to a little duplex in San Pedro. We loved that little home. It was built in true Craftsman style. It was only one bedroom, but there was a large walk-in closet off the dining room. We put her crib in there and it was quiet and warm. I had one moment of tears. We brought her home and lay her in the cradle at the foot of our bed and I cried, “I don’t know how to do this.” I was afraid of messing up. And I did. So I prayed that God would make up for my shortcomings and that Caroline would be resilient.

Easter 1986

Easter 1986

I look back on my time with Caroline, when it was just the two of us at home, with great fondness. She was a lot of fun. We played hide and seek. She made up funny words and made funny faces when you fed her things like refried beans (but she would keep opening her mouth for more!). She was a loved and welcomed first grand and great-grandchild. She loved the water. We lived in a cabana in PVE for a little while. She would strip and put on floaties and jump in the pool. Fearless. Back then, before airbags, you could put children in car seats in the front seat of the car. I would put Caroline in the passenger seat next to me and point things out to her as we would drive around the hill. She loved to see the ocean. “Wadoo” was her word for it. Zoompts for balloons (yeah, can’t explain that one).

Afternoon %22Tea%22 Amagansett August 1986

a tea party to meet great-grandma’s friends

Amagansett August 1986

cocktail hour in Amagansett

When Caroline was really little, I would put her in a baby carrier on my chest and take her to do my errands. She would get all warm and limp and fall asleep. I loved how she smelled. And she would sigh in her sleep. She was an easy baby. We also would take long walks around San Pedro. I loved living there – hearing the ships in the harbor, the Craftsman style homes, the history of a town built by fishermen and seafarers with Greek and Yugoslavian and Italian names.

First Christmas 1986

first Christmas

First birthday with ggpa and ggma 1986

first birthday with the great-grands

When I was in the hospital, my dad came to visit. He brought a gift of a white porcelain elephant figurine. It’s trunk was raised – a symbol of good fortune. I didn’t know that at the time, and kind of looked at my dad with a “most people give blankets” expression. He explained the meaning, which I found very touching, and have continued the practice with each of my girls when they had their first children.

Caroline turns 30 this year. How did 30 years go by so quickly? It just seems like yesterday that she was a baby, a toddler, a little girl with a lisp. I am so proud of the woman she has become. She is smart, creative, brave and a wonderful mother – a Proverbs 31 woman…

A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

BlackFam2015_030w

Easter 2015

Happy birthday to the woman who made me a mother.

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