I don’t think I’ve properly introduced our helper/sitter Miss Leslie. She is wonderful and I don’t know how we’d make it through the week without her! With all of my doctor’s appointments and hubby’s crazy work schedule, it would be impossible to keep Little One’s routine and naps in check! Not to mention my sanity of dealing with recovery, bills, working and dealing with a three year old!
I placed an ad on craigslist last November, knowing that we would need help. Not only for me to do my work but also so that I could schedule things like routine doctor’s appointments and hair appointments without going crazy having to schedule and reschedule according to hubby’s always-changing work schedule. Little did I know we’d have lots of opportunities for some help! Leslie was one of a few that actually wrote to my ad. Craigslist is not big up here like it was down in Raleigh, so I wasn’t aware. I just knew I didn’t want to pay for an ad on something like care.com. She kept following up with me, during the whole problem getting the mortgage from Wells Fargo and through my stroke. We met her shortly after my ER visit, while my mother was here. It was a day that depressed me so much, as I was trying to keep a brave face for my husband and daughter, but inside I was broken. I was broken at the thought of having another woman driving my daughter to school. To the park. To the pool. Driving my daughter and I, because I couldn’t see. I was having an epic pity party that day, but it was also my way of dealing with the dependence I felt. After being fiercely independent since I went away to college, it was hard to allow my stroke injuries to define me. I was 32 and I couldn’t drive. Not to the store, not to the doctor, not to the pool all summer long. It looked pretty dim in my eyes. Would I ever get better? What would my daughter think? Later that week, I would be cleared to drive again. But I still knew I needed Leslie, a lifeline to the community and my saving grace.
So Leslie impressed me from the start, she’s a (mainly single) mom of three with two autistic children. She’s state and FBI cleared because of her previous work at rehabs for addiction. While she’s only lived in this small town in Pennsylvania, she is worldly, having traveled to Europe and the Middle East. She is articulate and writes well (she doesn’t abbreviate in text messages which I always appreciate). She is kind of a jack of all trades! She’s worked doing scheduling for a doctor’s office. She’s worked in a rehab facility for addiction. She’s been a belly dancing teacher!
She’s an active surrogate for international families, those who seek a surrogate outside of their own country because their own countries deny them the right. She said Pennsylvania is a great state to be a surrogate because it is one of a few states that recognizes pre-birth adoption. So the babies she delivers have their parents’ names on the birth certificates from the start! This is something I had never thought about, but it makes sense. Last year she delivered a baby for a Turkish family whose wife was born without a uterus. This year she is trying to get pregnant for a German couple who are 58 and 60 years old and using donor eggs. She gets pictures and updates about all the children and families she has helped. I think it’s awesome!
She’s also a divorcee, married too young and babies young. She told me she knew when they got together that it wouldn’t last. Her oldest two, sons, have been diagnosed as autistic. Her daughter, her baby, is 11. They live together with Leslie and her wife. She met her wife the week after she separated from her husband and they’ve been (living) together ever since.
As you can see, Leslie brings her own type of awesome crazy into our house. She is great with Ali and they draw and read for hours. This time for me to do work, clean the house, or go to appointments is similar to the time I had in Raleigh. But instead of my mother, I have allowed someone else in with our family. While this is an ever-evolving relationship, I always appreciate her hard work and her patience with our high energy three year old.