Lucy tells me that when a baby bends with his head towards the ground and starts looking between his legs, it means that there is news or a surprise on the way. Yesterday, I got the surprise; an overdue increase in my salary. I was speechless when I saw the note, because I have been working for this company for almost three years without a single increase on my basic salary. Furthermore, I was plagued since my return from Maternity Leave with a heavy monthly deduction, which management applied to recover what they paid me by mistake while I was meant to be on unpaid leave; these deductions will continue until the end of next year. In addition, I have a long road ahead to make up my short working hours this year, work back the leave days I owe the company from last year, and recover certification that lapsed while I was away from work. In short I was given a tough mountain to climb with very few rewards. But now I see that someone, somewhere was listening to my silent prayer, I was given a much needed and appreciated break. The increase will help pay for Robert’s creche in the next few months.
Things are slowly falling into place. Next weekend we will move to our own place, and I hope that by then the sale of the house in the Eastern Cape will also be finalized. The lump sum we will receive from the sale will give us a small income and help us buy the things we need for our new place. I am very excited. One more exciting event in the last few days is Robert’s first few independent steps. He wants to practice walking and gets very excited to walk towards me or Lucy. I am grateful for Lucy’s support and kindness. We have grown very close since my argument with Jackie last Sunday. I shared the news of my raise with her, not with Jackie. I have become wary of discussing money with Jackie, and in all honesty I am afraid of another calculating reaction from her if she knew my financial situation is going to improve. I trust Lucy on the other hand to be happy for me, and I draw a lot of courage from her. In her time she faced hardships as a single mom, and ended up raising fine children without the support of a man. She is still the rock of her extended family supporting her surviving children, and their children. And then she has the babies and toddlers she looks after, as a paid nanny/babysitter. What is amazing about her though, is that she really loves these babies, and doesn’t consider caring for them as only a job, she actually enjoys being around them. Robert is lucky to have a loving and caring African grandma. She calls him “mama wau” – in her halting English she translated it as someone she loves from her innermost heart. I believe she does, because Robert’s eyes light up when he sees her, something that rarely happens at the sight of his father.