Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Twenty-seven years ago we were young married college students. Our lives were full with part-time jobs, full-time class schedules and working with the youth group at church. As we plugged our way toward the end of the spring semester in 1981, my energy really flagged. With a history of bouts with severe anemia we decided a doctor's appointment was in order. Yes, I was slightly anemic the doctor confirmed. I was also VERY PREGNANT. Wow! That news rocked our world!

I was so sure I was going to have a boy that I spent that summer hitting garage and store sales and buying only boy clothes. Your dad hit the trail to full-time employment, frustrated that his lack of a degree kept him from some jobs while others considered him "overly educated" for their jobs. Grrrrrr. A friend suggested he look into sales. Your dad was a quiet guy back then and gotta admit my first thought was, "We'll starve." But let me tell you, having a child is a powerful motivator. And he not only landed a job in sales, he made Salesman of the Month a few times!

You were due at Thanksgiving. November came and went. We were well into December and still no imminent sign of arrival. Your dad borrowed an old truck with stiff suspension and we went for long drives over country roads. All that bouncing over potholes and railroad tracks didn't help.

In desperation, because he was really looking forward to seeing a tax deduction you, he took me Christmas shopping. We drove to the mall in Ft. Wayne (back then there was only one) and he kept me on my feet and walking THE ENTIRE DAY. And it worked. About 10 p.m. that night my water broke and we joyfully went off to the hospital.

Where we waited and waited and were proving quite stubborn! The doctor decided to use a little pitocin as incentive. Uh-oh. That only succeeded in causing you some serious distress (to say nothing of the distress I was feeling at the 25 minute long contraction!!!)

After 16 hours our doctor approached us about a c-section. The problem wasn't only on your end. Apparently my body wasn't responding the way it was supposed to either. The doctor felt that even allowing us another 12-24 hours would get us no closer to delivery. At this point I really wanted to grab him by the throat and shout, "Just get this baby out of me!" But I was too tired from SIXTEEN HOURS OF LABOR.

Our doctor had to turn things over to a board-certified surgeon. I opted for the complete knock-out package because you know I get squeamish at the sight of a skinned knee. But an eager beaver nurse assigned to your dad brought him in earlier than she was supposed to so he did get to see the whole thing from start to finish. Which almost finished him. The fact that he didn't faint is evidence of his very strong stomach.

So our beautiful baby boy was born on December 17, 1981, at 3 p.m. in the afternoon. You weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs., sorta dry and scaly from having been in utero a few weeks longer than planned, and with a funny dent around your head from being in the birth canal for so long before the nice surgeon rescued you. The first thing my sister said upon seeing you: "Oh my goodness, you've had a conehead baby!" [For those too young to remember, the Coneheads were a popular feature on SNL back then.] And indeed your conehead remained for months before finally smoothing out into the nice round shape you see here. As other moms will attest, there's something about that first view of your child when they place him in your arms. You are overwhelmed with such an intense feeling of love and fierce desire to protect him.

Son, you were such a chubby little thing for the first three years! I'm sad because I don't have any of those cute fat pictures to share with the world :-) Those all had to be left in the U.S. when we moved. Nor do I have any pictures of the tall skinny you that emerged afterward. You wore a size 4 for two years, your weight remaining the same as you kept growing taller and taller.

You've always had a tender heart which sometimes worked to your detriment. I could always tell when you'd done something you shouldn't have because you'd come to me and in a certain voice tell me "Mommy I love you SO much!" Always affectionate, but those guilt-laden declarations of love were dead give-aways.

Friendly to a fault, I had to be so careful when we were out running errands because of your never-ending quest to Make Another Friend! I even bought a child leash when they first came out. Those weren't very effective since they went around your wrist and mine. One time at Penney's you dived under one of the round clothes racks, unhooked the leash from your wrist and put it around the center pole and then scurried out the other side. I'm pulling you (I thought) but the whole rack is moving. Other ladies who could see what had happened (you were rolling on the floor on the other side) had to laugh. I was pretty upset for a bit but soon saw the humor in the situation.

Choosing to homeschool was a big decision for us. I felt woefully inadequate and your rough start didn't help. Until I realized that in the area of math, you were just BORED TO TEARS. I was trying to teach you basic 1+1=2 without realizing the new computer game we bought you had helped you progress to double digit addition with carry over already. Now the reading was another story. It helped when we had you tested which indicated you were a kinesthetic learner, so we began writing our letters in the sand instead of on paper and using other manipulatives in the learning process.

Even so, you were 8 before you really became functionally literate. Being more of a hands-on kinda kid, getting you to sit still to do school was always a challenge! Plus, it's my theory that you resisted learning to read for a while because you loved having us read to you, and you realized we wouldn't do it as often once you knew how to read yourself. I remember assigning you a book to read while I was going to be gone for a few weeks to take a class (having returned to college). First day you cried on the phone, "Why are you making me read this book? It's so sad!" But by the time you finished that book by Patricia St. John, you were hooked on reading. And this love of books we share brings great joy to me.

Many things you do bring great joy to me. I love to see how helpful you are to your wife, how you love, honor and cherish her. I love how you bring integrity to your work and do your best for all your customers. I love how you enjoy playing with your dogs, smoking meat in your new cooker, mowing your lawn, and enjoying the simple things in life. But most of all, I love how you love the Lord. And I pray that you will allow God to continue working in you.

I love you very much, son, and wish you a very happy and blessed 27th birthday!


rita said...

Great story and so much I did not know. Thanks, Kim, for sharing with all of us.

JonMagic said...

I love you mom. Got my eyes all teared up :-) Thanks for sharing.

Debbie said...

What a loving tribute. Happy birthday!

tina in thailand said...

Thanks for the nice comment that you missed seeing me posting, that made my day!
We have December birthdays in our family too and I loved reading your sweet post about your son. My oldest is only 14 this year, but I know she will be 27 before I know it!
I hope your cheese quest is successful. The cheese here is not very good either, but you adjust. Nothing like our good Tillamook cheese from home, but when there is nothing else, you make do. :) And you are right, sausage is homemade. It may not be just right, but it is good enough. :)
Merry Christmas!