LifeTimeline

Elizabeth Andrion Leighton

    • Elizabeth Andrion Leighton: The Genesis

    1890
    • SEP

      Pre-Birth

    2012
    • JUL 09

      Born

    • JUL 14

      First Car Ride and my "Home"coming

    • AUG 18

      First Plane Ride and First Trip to the East Coast

    • SEP 03

      First Trip to the West Coast

    • OCT 31

      First Halloween

    • DEC 25

      First Christmas

    • DEC 29

      Elle's Baptism

    2013
    • JUN 23

      First Trip to the true South (Gulf Shores, Alabama)

    • JUL 09

      My First Birthday

    2014
  • Elizabeth Andrion Leighton: The Genesis

    See the LifeQ re: how my name was chosen
    By Elizabeth Leighton
  • Pre-Birth

    By the time I was born, at least ten thousand prayers had been sent up on my behalf. My A.M.A mother had miscarried twice before I came along, so I was the third-time's-a-charm effort. Mom says she said at least three prayers a day for me, morning, noon, and night -- and then a whole lot of extras at each of her weekly checkups with her high-risk OBGYN.  At forty weeks of pregnancy, that's almost a thousand from her alone.  Then there were the prayers from my even more A.P.A. father, who'd been waiting a long time for an heir, and who, as the only carrier of the "Leighton" legacy, needed a namesake.  And then each of my grandparents had mounted coordinated prayer campaigns, enlisting their friends and family to put in some good words for me.  My mom's mom is a Maryknoll-educated Catholic school girl; my mom's dad and his siblings are regular church/novena-goers, who've been known to have 1,000-rosary sessions; my dad's dad sings in the church choir; and my dad's mom used to work for the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth and counts quite a few priests and nuns as her closest friends.  So, perhaps more in the magnitude of a hundred thousand prayers.  Maybe that was the charm.  Or maybe it was the baby aspirin my auto-immune-disordered mother had experimented with (cleared by her OB), after thousands of hours of very late-night Googling.  Whatever the case, as you can see, a lot of work went into getting me here.

    While she was pregnant with me, my mom was twice forwarded the email about an African tribe's tradition of ascribing a song to every member of the tribe, which song would be heard and sung at critical moments throughout the person's life -- from birth to death, in celebration and hardship.  The tribe's tradition has the women meditating, in the beginning, to "hear" the unborn child's song.  My mom put a spin on this:  Having always wanted to raise a brilliant child (no pressure), she decided that the alphabet song would be my theme song.  To ensure I "heard" it, she sang this (along with some classical music) to me daily, beginning at about 26 weeks into the pregnancy.  My one-year-birthday epilogue will tell the story of how I could identify all the letters and sounds of the alphabet by the time I hit one year of age.  Whether everything I needed to know I learned in utero, or whether it was the daily singing and dancing of ABC Mouse songs that I did with my grandma, the pattern was becoming evident:  these people clearly weren't taking any chances where I was concerned.
    By Elizabeth Leighton
  • 3

    Born

    Dallas, Texas
    In a classic tale of two cities, my 41-year old mother had moved from Washington, DC -- where she'd been triaged as a fairly routine pregnancy when compared to the rest of the older-first-time-mothers population -- to Dallas, Texas -- where she was regarded as a unicorn, a complete anomaly and an extremely high-risk.  A few weeks before my scheduled due date, her high-risk OBGYN, the comedic Dr. Jay Staub, called in an even higher-risk super specialist to weigh-in.  They together decided that I should be delivered a week early, through a scheduled C-section, rather than risk a much more hectic emergency C-section on my actual due date.  And so I arrived, coordinatedly, on July 9, 2013, at Dallas Presbyterian Hospital.  Born a Texan, as my dad proudly says, so that if Texas ever succeeds in seceding, I'll have its citizenship as my birthright.

    My Grandma waited outside the operating room for me. My Gammy and Papa, who'd come up from Houston, met me next. My Uto Eddie and Uto James were there soon after, with Jude and Bella. And my mom's Uncle Karl (who's been present at every one of her major life events) was there with his family.
    By Elizabeth Leighton
  • 3

    First Car Ride and my "Home"coming

    Plano, Texas
    After five days in the hospital, I took my first car ride to my first home -- my mom's parents' home, where we would stay intermittently for the first few months of my life, while my mom carried out her paradoxical "plan" to raise a "Gypsy Baby". And my second birthday epilogue, will tell how, before two years of age, I had flown more than 60 plane rides.

    The first visitors to my home were Aunt Sara and cousins Mary, Laura, and Julia (Jay Jay), who drove up from Houston to see me.

    My first bassinet, pictured here, was a loaner from one of my mom's best friends. Aunt Ginny had had a baby just a year and a half before, so she was still fresh from the new-baby experience. She'd told my mom that if mom came to Texas to have me, she would ensure that we would have everything we needed. In part due to superstition and part due to a careful attempt to manage expectations, mom would not allow anyone to host a baby shower for me before I was born. She also would not purchase or accept anything for me in advance of my arrival. Aunt Ginny tried many times to give my mom clothes, sleeping gear and other useful paraphernalia every time my mom went to see her. Mom refused. Two weeks before my due date, my dad was starting to get a bit nervous. Aunt Ginny, whose will matches my mom's, found a backdoor: Seizing upon my dad's nervousness, she cornered him at a Fourth of July party and made him take the things. Thanks to her, I had an adorable and very comfortable Moses basket waiting for me when I got home. Also thanks to Aunt Ginny's having opened the flood gates, my mom caved and, a week before I was born, bought some diapers, wipes, Desitin cream, baby wash, a pair of socks and a little onesie that said "Daddy's Little Girl". But that's it.
    By Elizabeth Leighton
  • 2

    First Plane Ride and First Trip to the East Coast

    Washington , District of Columbia
    My parents met at the Federal Communications Commission, where they both work. Evan Kwerel (an economist with my mom's group, pictured above) invited my dad (an economist in a different group) to one of their regular lunches at the FCC's Office of Strategic Planning, and the rest, as they say, is my history. In some quarters, Dr. Kwerel is known as the father of spectrum auctions. Here's to him, for orchestrating what was, for me, the most optimal allocation of available resources.

    The picture of me on the bed is the only other one we have of me in DC from this trip, as most of my time here was spent in the hotel room with one of my parents (while the other went out to meet up with friends and colleagues), rather than sightseeing and snapping photos in front of the monuments. Not quite the Gypsy Way, but, I was still in transition. It would take another few weeks before they mastered the art of maneuvering a small infant around a big city.
    By Elizabeth Leighton
  • 5

    First Trip to the West Coast

    Whirlwind trip through California: First, when visiting my mom's sister, Auntie Josephine, I got to catch some rays lying poolside in San Diego. Then on to Los Angeles where most of my mom's extended family lives.

    My parents had already realized, during a recent trip from Dallas to Houston to visit my Aunt Sara, that long road trips with an infant were going to require some creative distractions. While in LA, I became acquainted with a stuffed bear that my uncle had given to my Auntie Josephine when she graduated from college. My parents found me talking to the Berkeley bear one day, and my dad decided that it should be my constant companion on travel. As you can see in the picture, he was.

    From LA, we took a road trip to the Bay Area, where we celebrated my mom and dad's second anniversary. After a series of serendipitous events in San Francisco that included stumbling upon the America's Cup (the world's oldest international sporting trophy), as well as a solitary Forrest Gump-like run-in with the winner of the race, my parents dubbed me their lucky charm.

    While visiting my mom's alma mater, UC Berkeley (that's me in front of their clock tower), I launched into an unusual fit of crying. By then, my parents had become pretty good at figuring out what was bothering me. But this time, nothing seemed to work. Finally, while holding a still-screaming me, my mom said, "I wonder what's wrong with her. She doesn't usually cry this long." Without skipping a beat, my free market-oriented dad replied, "It's pretty obvious. ... This is Berkeley. And she's a conservative."
    By Elizabeth Leighton
  • 2

    First Halloween

    Dallas, Texas
    I was too young, still, to appreciate just how much I was going to come to love this holiday, with its fun costumes and candy galore. But I participated, nonetheless, by trick-or-treating as a sunflower with Judah and Ba.
    By Elizabeth Leighton
  • First Christmas

    Dallas, Texas
    My mom meant to use this series of pictures of me in a Santa suit as their Christmas cards. She never got around to it. But she was still taking care of a new infant, so she had an excuse. (Not sure what she'd use to justify skipping it the next year...)
    By Elizabeth Leighton
  • Elle's Baptism

    Plano, Texas
    Father Joe baptized me at my mom's family's church, Prince of Peace, in Plano, Texas. The founding priest at the church, Father Jim Balinth, was, coincidentally, a long-time friend of Father Joe, who was a long-time friend of my dad's family. Small world.
  • First Trip to the true South (Gulf Shores, Alabama)

    Gulf Shores, Alabama
    Texas, apparently, doesn't count. My first trip to the South was to my grandpa's childhood stomping round -- Fair Hope/Gulf Shores, Alabama -- with its beautiful sand and down-home cooking.
    By Elizabeth Leighton
  • My First Birthday

    Dallas, Texas
    Twenty three flights and a host of road trips under my belt, I returned home, where the heart is, to celebrate my first year out and about in the world.
    By Elizabeth Leighton
    Elizabeth *
    Throughout your whole first year, the piece of advice I got the most -- by FAR -- was to relish your youth, as it all goes by so fast. Even complete strangers passing by us as we walked would stop to tell me this. A more detailed rendition of this was: the days seem like years, but the years seem like days. And so I made an extremely concerted effort to relish every minute with you. At the one year mark, I can say that, after a very concerted effort to take this advice to heart, not a single day with you seemed like a year (that is, I never felt like any of it was going too slowly). But the flip side, I could not avoid. The year flew by too fast. It's been so fun to see you get here.