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Home for Christmas - Pt. 3. Baby News.
The Baby News
Paul was the first one up the next morning. Yawning , he went to his parents' room, saw the open door and empty room, did an about-turn and barged into Fleur's room. 'Fleur, they're not there!' he uttered disbelievingly before he was past the threshold.
'I know, honey,' Fleur said sleepily. ' Dad took mom to the hospital while you were asleep. We're going to have us a baby soon.' She moved to make room for him on her bed. 'You're going to be a big brother.'
'Cool.' He slid down on the pillow to think about it. 'Fleur?'
'Mom's going to name him, Jason, right? I told her I'd like Jason because he was a brave warrior who went on a dangerous quest so he could claim his kingdom.'
'We'll see. We don't know if Bummer's going to be a boy, because Mom didn't have a scan to find out. She wanted a surprise. Anyway, we have half an hour before you need to get ready for school, so sleep a bit more.'
'Can I stay here with you?'
'Ok, but no more talking.'
'Uh-huh.' He settled himself under the duvet.
'Fleur, where're Mom and Dad?' Leonie called out from the parents' doorway.
'Oh, come on in, Leonie. Paul's here too. Now get in next to Paul and I'll tell you. Looks like there's not going to be any more sleep for me anyway.'
Christmas gifts for the family
Father and Daughter
Don arrived home a half hour after the younger children had left in the school bus, looking quite disheveled.
‘Have some breakfast, Dad, and tell me all while you’re eating.’ Fleur put a plate of omelette and fried potatoes in front of him. ‘You need a good cuppa too.’
‘Your Dr. Gallagher is some kinda doctor, Fleur. He was wonderful with Mom, put her at her ease right away. Hmm, great potatoes. Thanks, honey, almost as good as Mom’s. Tea too, good and strong.’
‘Workman’s tea,’ Fleur said, ‘Dr. G. drinks it like that too. You know he’s Irish, right?‘
Her father looked thoughtfully at her. ‘Yeah. He’s going back after his Residency here.’
Fleur looked at his plate and thought of the red-headed Patrick Gallagher. ‘What happened, Dad, tell it from when you got in the Ward.’
She was not satisfied till he had told the story blow-by-blow. ‘So Mom isn’t in labor, but could start within twenty-four hours. What happened was premature rupture of the membranes, so she’s on bed rest except she can go to the bathroom. She doesn’t need antibiotics because Dr. G. (he told me to call him Patrick, by the way, nice boy) determined the rupture wasn’t from the cervix, so there’s little possibility of infection.’
‘Dad, do you want to have a nap, and I’ll call you in two or three hours? There’s plenty of time for you to get back to Mom.’
‘I’ll have to call the job first. Bob’s the foreman. I have to tell him what’s needed to be done at the site today.’
‘Is it the McCalls' extension?’
‘That’s right. We went over the plans together, didn’t we? You did a great job understanding them, kiddo.’
‘Thanks, Dad. I love buildings, everything about them. The very best one is our house.’
‘Dean’s list, eh? Mom told me. I’m so proud of you.’
‘Thanks. Now off you go. I’ll call you at....11.30,’ looking at her watch.
She called her mother after Don had gone in his shower. She was quite chirpy, and they chatted for a few minutes. Fleur told about giving the kids the baby news when they came in to her bed that morning, and Paul insisting on ‘Jason’ for the baby. They had a chuckle about that. ‘Guess you could call her ‘Jassonie’ if it’s a girl!’
Fleur suddenly remembered that Paul had been promised the Christmas tree for that day, forgotten in all the excitement. ‘Mom, I’ll take the kids to Johnson’s tree farm after school today. After handling those antique ornaments yesterday, none of us can wait any longer.’
‘Great idea, Fleur, then it’ll be beautiful for when Grandma gets here.’
‘We’ll leave a few pieces for you to put up.’
‘Lovely. Give the kids my love and tell them I miss them already. And Fleur, I have called Grandma to let her know about the baby. I told her not to change her plans.’
‘Good, Mom. We can’t wait to see her and the others. Dad’ll be there soon, Mom. Love you. Bye.’
O Christmas Tree
To make up for the children’s disappointment at having missed their father, Fleur had milk and cookies ready for them, telling them not to dawdle because they were going somewhere special. ‘Christmas tree,’ whispered Paul to Leonie.
‘Smartie,’ Leonie grinned. ‘Don’t let on though.’
‘Cross my heart.’
They piled into the old wagon and off they went, a few miles out in the country, over rutted paths and clumps of dried grass, to their old friends’ farm. Leonie and Paul were delighted and ran to say hello to their friends. Fleur sent them off to pick a tree while she chatted with the old couple. The news about her mother delighted them, and they told her to wish Renee a safe delivery, and they would come round in the new year to see the baby. Mrs. Johnson insisted on giving the young girl a cup of cocoa ‘to warm your innards’.
Leonie and Paul having reached agreement on the tree (Leonie thought the smell was more special than the other trees) they ran back to the house and each was given a cocoa as well.
‘No, we have to get the tree first, that one there. Before somebody else comes and takes it.’
‘Nah, drink your cocoa. Your tree is yours and no one else’s.’
‘Oh thanks, Mr. Johnson. Did you hear about our baby?’ asked Paul.
‘Sure did. Are you excited?’
‘Oh yeah. I’m gonna have a brother.’
‘Paul, we don’t know that. It might be a sister.’
‘Oh bummer!’ Which drew a laugh from the Johnsons.
‘That’s Dad’s word. When Mom told him about the baby, he said, “Well, bummer.” That’s why we’ve been calling the baby Bummer.”
Paul drained his cup as fast as the hot liquid allowed, and hurried the rest of the group towards his tree. A beautiful 6 foot blue spruce, perfectly shaped. Fleur was impressed by his artistic sense. Mr. Johnson soon had the tree cut, trimming off any unsightly bits and smoothing the base of the trunk. Wrapped in the plastic string bag and tied to the roof of the wagon, it looked just right. The old man refused to accept payment, saying it was his gift for the baby’s homecoming. The children thanked him profusely and made him promise to bring his wife to see the baby as soon as they could get away from the farm.
'Will be our pleasure, my dears. In any case, we shall see you in Church on Christmas Day.’
'You surely will. Our Grandma will be here by then, and our cousins,' Fleur replied.
‘Bye, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. Merry Christmas. Hope it snows. Bye. Bye.‘