My nursing boards were scheduled to take place at the Civic Center over a two-day period. I asked Marion if Andrew could stay with her over those two days; I'd do better if I didn't have to worry about him. The first day of the test, the staff ushered us into a large room. We weren't allowed to bring anything in with us and we weren't allowed to leave the room. It was a long and stressful day. That night I went to bed early, my body was drained.
Around midnight the phone rang. "Beth.... This is Dorothy," came the slurred voice, "I'm over at a party.... Will you pick me up...and take me over to Lincoln?"
"No!" I barked and hung up.
That weekend, the nursing boards finally over with, Andrew and I actually began to relax. Having nothing but welfare now money was tight. But it was okay, Andrew and I didn't need much. We went to fairs, the library, and to visit my family. We went to the beach twice a week and spent the whole afternoon doing nothing but play together in the water and lie on the warm sand. If I had loose change, I bought each of us an ice cream bar at the refreshment stand. It was a beautiful, wonderful time.
Unfortunately, it ended too soon. I came home from an overnight stay at my sister's one day and found Troy and Mathew sleeping in the house. They'd gotten in through the upstairs porch door.
I was angry, but didn't show it. Not wanting them to hate me, I didn’t want them to know how I felt. I scolded them and then let it go. My quiet time was over.
The phone rang just as I was falling asleep.
"Tell my dad Cheri had her kid," Misty snapped.
"Tell him yourself," I snapped back and hung up.
Mickey came back from Texas, but Paul stayed with his dad. I went into labor in September and Troy drove me in. I didn't call Wilson. Why bother? He knew when I was due. I'd packed my overnight bag for Andrew also, intending that he stay with me. Troy dropped Andrew and me at the hospital door.
Around 5:30 p.m. the next day, Andrew tried to cut his sister's cord. The doctor helped.
Haley's initial color at birth was dark and her face was squashed, accenting her Indian features. My initial reaction to the way she looked was fear. My thought; "I've given birth to an Indian girl who will become a teenage Indian girl."
I was barely out of the shower when Steph arrived half an hour later from work. She very lovingly combed my wet hair out. Erik, Bobby and Chris arrived soon after. All of them took time to hold Haley. I was tired, but so touched and grateful to have them all there. When they left they took Andrew and his belongings with them.
"I'll pick you up and take you home when it's time," Steph offered.
I fell asleep that night comforted by my brothers and sisters. Alone with Haley, my feelings of fear passed.
She was beautiful.