Now we were into early 1974. Four more years had passed and there were even more dramatic changes in our lives. We had happily reunited with my Baba and Guido only to have Guido pass away just a few weeks before our son Douglas Ronald was born. I also had a second chance to get to know my father. I must say I had a burning curiosity to see him again. I was not sure if it was to confront him or forgive him. Maybe a little of both. I was biding my time until I was comfortable about asking Baba how I could get in touch with him. Once reunited, our visits were sporadic but we were trying to get to know each other. I was looking forward to having our kids and Ron get to know him as well. This reunion did not sit well with my mother so we didn’t discuss it with her. I had not seen him in 26 years. We had so many years to catch up on. I also had the good fortune of cultivating a good and loving relationship with all the siblings I knew as my brothers and sisters. Now we were grown and could think for ourselves, we as a family decided to be just that – a family. Nothing pleased me more. We started going to the family Christmas gatherings, something we had not done for many years. This was great for our kids – they now had a very large extended family.
The smartest decision we ever made was to take the four thousand dollar settlement from the accident – not more than an insult for the extreme loss we suffered – and use it as a down payment to build our tiny one floored castle. We could not know how this one important decision would have such a positive impact on our young family. We would no longer look back. We went from Windsor Housing to becoming homeowners. How proud we were of that accomplishment. We would take a horrible experience and make it something special and wonderful – ‘a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’ – or so they say. One of the things that made it so wonderful was we brought our beautiful, seven month preemie, miracle baby boy, Douglas, home to our new home the first week we took possession. We had to leave him in hospital for five heartbreaking, frightening weeks after he was born. He was too tiny, sick and weak from fighting for his life to come home with me. We knew he was our son when he fought and won. Christine was the typical big sister who wanted to be a little mommy and Terry the big brother who wanted to protect his baby brother. The doctor was worried about my health and arranged for a tubal ligation the day after Doug was born. We were concerned another pregnancy might land me up in a wheelchair. God gave us three amazing, caring and loving children who rarely complained when they had to chip in and help. It did not matter if it was helping with Doug, housework or just running errands.
Doug was only a year old when I had to have an emergency hysterectomy. I was shocked but so very thankful that my mother came to the rescue to take care of Christine and Terry. They were old enough to go home with her and they genuinely loved their Nanny. To my delight, my mother and I had found some common ground. I no longer wept for the mother I never had. What she lacked in motherhood she made up for as a sweet, loving grandmother who the kids called, Nanny. She showed her love not just to our children but to the rest of the family as well. She showed no favoritism. We had too much baggage to let bygones be bygones but we could have comfortable and enjoyable visits. I must confess I had painful moments when I caught myself feeling jealous, these thankfully were short-lived and fleeting. It was important to me that our kids had grandparents that I was deprived of. It was obvious she was still oblivious to the bad treatment she bestowed on me. She acted as if it never happened. When I tried to talk about it she would look at me as if I was talking about someone else. I put it aside for our kids’ sakes. Ron didn’t want Doug to be so far away so we had a friend come stay at the house and take care of him for the week I was in hospital. She also helped for the six weeks I needed to recover.