Finally! time and the imagination to write!
“What are you going to name her?” Kirsty asked. She was sitting next to Sadie on the bed, looking down at the baby.
“I don’t know. Kept thinking about it when I was pregnant, but I thought up more boy names than girls. Now… I’m not sure.”
“Which ones did you think of?”
Sadie looked up at Kirsty. “Lily, Maude and Rose.”
Kirsty nodded. “I take it you didn’t like Ken’s suggestion of Kendra.”
“No. No way I’m naming my baby after him.”
“I’m not surprised. I like Rose.”
Sadie nodded. She moved the baby from one breast to the other. The baby latched on tightly, sucking for all she was worth.
“Someone else would be happy if you named the baby that.”
“Who?” Sadie was trying to think of who else used that name, and she came up blank.
“Nanny. I didn’t tell you that though.” Kirsty looked around as if Nanny would appear out of thin air at the mention of her real name.
Sadie smiled. “Rose it is then.”
“Are you sure?” asked Ken later that night as Sadie put the baby in a basket that hooked to the side of the bed.
“Yes. Rose Alice. Alice for my ma, and Rose for my favourite flower.” Sadie smiled at the discomfort on Ken’s face. She wasn’t going to let him know that Kirsty had told him Nanny’s real name.
He shrugged his shoulders. “Okay. Can you wait a day or two before we name her?”
“Yes, but why? I thought we were going to do it the day after the big field got harvested.”
“I was, but things… well, things got a bit awkward and Nanny wanted me to wait a day or two. Said it would be easier on you too.”
Sadie rolled in place on the bed, and had to nod in agreement. She was sore in places that just shouldn’t, and other bits reminded her all too well of the pains of birth. “Have to agree it would be nice to sit without a pillow.”
Ken nodded and curled up behind Sadie. The two of them were spooned up on the side of the bed closest to the baby. Her breasts were heavy, and rested on his arm. His cock, having a mind of it’s own stiffened and pressed against Sadie’s ass.
“You can tell that to just settle down. It’s gonna be a bit before I even want to think about sex.”
Ken moved so that his cock wasn’t pressed up against her ass. “Can’t help it that I love your ass. Plus, your tits… oh damn.”
Sadie reached around and thumped him on the hip. “Keep that up and you can go sleep with the goats.”
In the end, it was three days before Sadie felt good enough to stay out of bed for even half a day. Like the baby, all she wanted to do was sleep and eat. Nanny had recommended that she sleep while she could and eat whatever she could. Kirsty and the aunties tempted her with all kinds of dainties, including custard, beef pot pies and sugar cookies.
Sadie took a warm bath while Kirsty watched the baby. She tried to dry off, but ended up wrapping a towel around her as the baby cried and her milk flowed. She sat on the edge of the bed nursing. “You are so hungry!”
Kirsty smiled. “I’m glad she has an appetite.” She was thinking of all the babies that had failed to thrive over the years since the weather had shifted.
Sadie smiled. “Yeah. What all goes on. I keep asking Ken,and get ‘just you wait’ from him.”
“Well, we all get together, and Nanny holds the baby while you give the name. Not like them old days religious things where they dunked the baby or other stuff. Sometimes parents marry or agree to live together for a year or until the baby is a certain age. Didn’t Ken say nothing?”
“Not a damn word. Then again, he has a bad habit of not saying things that should be.” Sadie was thinking about the whole trip down to the valley that spring.
Kirsty nodded. “Well, I haven’t seen him asking around for any rings.”
“Probably a good thing.” Sadie smiled. “His black eye is a lovely shade of green at the moment.”
Kirsty laughed. “He ain’t the first to get punched, but that was a damn good hit.”
Sadie laughed too, which woke the baby. She switched breasts and the baby went back to nursing.
Sadie walked into the threshing barn which was the only place big enough to hold everyone. She’d washed up a second time, and dressed. She and Kirsty had dressed the baby in a gown that had been handed down for a couple of generations. It was big on the baby, but the shawl wrapped around her made up for it. Up ahead of her Ken waited with Nanny. Her eyes were on Nanny and her concentration on putting one foot ahead of the other. She was still worn out from the birth six days before.
Nanny held out her arms for the baby, and Sadie handed her over. “What name do you give this baby?”
“Rose Alice,” Sadie said firmly.
Nanny looked at Ken. “You okay with this?”
Ken turned beet red, and nodded.
“By hearth and field, grain and fruit, I name this baby Rose Alice.” Nanny kissed the baby on the forehead and handed her back to Sadie. The gathered crowd cheered. “Do you Ken or you Sadie have anything else to say?”
Ken cleared his throat. “I’d… I’d like to ask you Sadie to be my partner for a year and a day. To raise Rose Alice as a family.”
Sadie smiled. “I guess so.”
“Guess so? What?” Ken squeaked in astonishment.
Nanny thumped him on the head with her hand. “Kenneth Blake!”
Ken winced. “I apologize Sadie. Will you?”
Sadie nodded. “Yes, for a year and a day.” She smiled up at Nanny, who smiled back.
The crowd cheered again. This time, Ken and Sadie turned around and she cried out as she realized that Madie and her Ma were sitting off to one side with the aunties.
“Ma! Madie!” Tears ran down Sadie’s face as the three women hugged. Rose Alice fussed and was handed to Ken.
“That man George came and got us. Said he left the moment Nanny said you went into labor. Got here last night late,” said Ma. Madie just nodded.
“I’m so happy you’re here. Can you stay a bit? Or do you have to go before it snows at home?” Sadie took Rose Alice back from Ken as people began to fill plates from the long trestle tables on the side of the barn.
“Sadie, that’s part of my gift to you. They don’t ever have to leave,” said Ken.
Sadie turned and looked at Ken like he’d just mooed. “They… they get to stay?”
“He figured that the only way to keep you here was to bring them down. He didn’t want to do it until the baby was born. Figured he didn’t dare pressure you to stay,” explained Nanny. Behind her the aunties nodded.
“Oh.. Oh…” Sadie felt the tears well up and then spill down her face. She hugged Ken and let the tears soak into his leather waistcoat.
“Did I do something right for once?”
“Yes. Yes you did Ken.” She kissed him.
The gathering lasted late into the night. Fiddles and accordions played, accompanied by drums and flutes. People danced, came over to bless the baby or slug Ken in the arm in a friendly fashion.
“And they filled a wagon with all our stuff,” said Madie as she re-accounted the visit and trip to Sadie. “Best part was seeing this whole valley full of fields and people. I’ve never seen this many people ever!”
Sadie nodded. Rose Alice was sound asleep in Ma’s arm. It felt good to have family here.
Nanny walked over and handed a cloth wrapped parcel to Sadie. “For Rose Alice when she’s older. It’s not often you get to meet a namesake.”
Sadie unwrapped the parcel to find an enamel rose pin. “It’s beautiful! Thank you Nanny.”
“You’re welcome, and thank you.” Nanny smiled and walked away.