As a special treat, another circus clown of mine appears as a guest blogger. Darling daughter #2, Zoë, had to write an essay about a life-changing event that took place in her life while she has been in high school…so that leaves out the obvious contact with a 6 ton truck, or the adoption of her little brother or the move from the Bay Area to the Central Valley. Of course she could have taken the obvious rite of passage but instead she chose the Coming Attraction that is her niece, Hazel.
I have written a lot about the anticipation of and life with Hazel, haven’t I? But I never really touched on how it might impact other members of this circus act of ours. Obviously it has impacted our family. Sacrifices were made and at times it was hard but we wouldn’t have it any other way. This is what families do sometimes, I have told my children. Hanging together, supporting and sacrificing I believe is part of the glue that holds families together. Hazel is truly a joy to us all and the perfect addition to this circus of ours. Trying to imagine the Big Top without her is impossible.
I was impressed and surprised with what Zoë had to say and after reading the assigned essay, I asked her if I might share it here in my blog. My darling daughter graciously agreed. The timeline isn’t necessarily precise but this is her perspective, her story. So without further ado, I present to you guest blogger, Zoë Elizabeth.
Isn’t she lovely?
I had never thought I’d learn the meaning of life in a tiny, eight pound twelve ounce package. Before this summer I took my life for granted. I only lived for myself and never cared about any consequences or what anyone thought. All that changed when Hazel Faye, my sister’s daughter, was born.
In October 2007 my older sister Hollie approached me and said, “You’re going to be an aunt.” Her statement was so abrupt that I thought she was joking and I laughed in her face. When I realized that she was serious I started laughing even harder and then began to cry. It was weird to me that she could be pregnant; she was only twenty and not in a relationship with anyone at the time. We soon found out that the father was this guy that my sister had been seeing a few months prior. She decided right away that she didn’t want him in the baby’s life, especially after he demanded that she get an abortion.
How quickly Hollie grasped her newfound responsibility amazed me. The day she found out she was pregnant she quit smoking, stopped partying, and started going to bed earlier. She immediately registered at Baby’s R Us and put the essentials—crib, car seat, stroller, etc.—on the registry. Unfortunately for me, she had to get a room of her own for when the baby came, and she chose mine. She had moved back in a few months earlier and we had been sharing a room. I had to move most of my stuff upstairs into my other sister Abby’s room and the rest was packed away. She repainted, redecorated, and salvaged her bed, computer, and some DVDs from storage. When she was finished I couldn’t tell that it was the same room that I had spent my pre-teen years in.
When Hollie found out that her baby was a girl she began fretting over names. On Thanksgiving when the family was over she decided that the baby should be named after our grandmother and great-grandmother: Hazel after Hazel Yowell and Faye after Dorothy Faye Brown. We no longer talked about her as “the baby” or “her” but as Baby Hazel.
As the months went by and Hollie grew larger I felt a sense of anticipation around the house. It seemed as though everyone was walking on eggshells around her because we didn’t want to set off her hormones. I could tell that Hollie was undergoing a lot of stress from her friends, at work, and at school. She dealt with this by making new friends who had kids and knew the responsibilities of parenthood and pregnancy, and took her maternity leave early. She was learning the obligations of having a child and it seemed like she was taking me along with her.
I wasn’t spending as much time out with my friends and was spending more time studying and taking care of my little brother. I finally set up an appointment with the DMV to get my driver’s license, my parents gave me a hand-me-down car that was my mom’s, and I started applying for jobs. I joined the junior varsity soccer team and participated more in my classes. I could tell that I was becoming more and more accountable for myself. Others were noticing too; my parents said that I was much more reliable and trustworthy. It felt good to know that stuff I needed to do was done.
On June 7 Hollie went into labor. The next morning her best friend Amber, my family, and I hung out at the hospital waiting for her to give birth. When Hollie started pushing my mom and Amber stayed in the delivery room with her while the rest of us hung out in the waiting room. After twenty hours in labor and no drugs Hazel Faye was born.
It seemed impossible that someone could be so small and fragile. Her birth made me realize how important life is. Since Hazel was born I’ve been much more levelheaded and trustworthy. She is now an important member of our family and I wouldn’t want it any other way.