Sunday, March 13, 2016

Seventeen Years Ago Today

Seventeen years ago today, I asked the young, smiling nurse, "Where is the doctor?"
My doctor was old and wise; and I felt it was necessary to have someone with experience in the room. Everyone suddenly seemed so childlike. Where were the people who knew what they were doing? Where was someone, anyone, who had done this before? My mom and dad were on their way; but they had a long drive ahead.
"The doctor will be here when you're ready," the smiling nurse assured me.
"I'm ready now," I said.
"Not yet," she said.
My husband paced. He was 28; but he looked like a freckle-faced boy. Neither of us had a clue about how our lives would change. A few hours before, he had raced through red lights on my order. We were trying to get to the hospital after a 90-minute drive from his mother's house. When my contractions started, we had been visiting her for the weekend.
All the way down the parkway, our dog, a feisty Cairn Terrier, insisted on sitting on what little lap I had left...her nose smudging the glove box on the passenger side.
"We have to take her home first!" I said. "We can't leave her in the car for hours!"
My husband swerved into our neighborhood and left the driver's side door open while he rushed onto the  porch stoop. The wriggling dog in his left arm, he fumbled with the keys. Every second seemed like an hour at least.
Finally, he was back in the car, and we were zipping across the empty, early-morning streets.
When we arrived at the hospital maternity ward, they got us settled in our room. My husband said to the nurse, "Is this it...the real deal, I mean? The baby's not supposed to be born for a few weeks. Should we just go back home?"
What was he saying...go back home? I stared at him.
Fortunately, the nurse smiled her cheery smile.
"Oh no," she said. "This is it. No need to go back home for a while. This baby will be here today!"
She was young, but clearly very smart...a child prodigy, I thought.
Finally, the doctor arrived...just in time to catch the baby after I'd done all the work.
Jack, only 5 lbs, 14 oz, was capable of making everything seem perfect from the moment we saw him. Like his storybook predecessor, he could sell the cow for magic beans; and it would all work out in the end.
Now, 17 years later, he celebrates his birthday. We crowd around him, much like we did on the day he was born. Does he look happy? Yes; Jack always seems happy, if for no other reason, then simply to make those around him smile. We could not be one tiny bit prouder of the young man he has become. Our Jack, born 17 years ago this very day...a dragon-slaying, beanstalk climbing, giant-tricking, clever, clever boy with wisdom beyond his years.
On the day he was born, I remember feeling desperate for someone to show up in my hospital room and signify that everything would turn out parents (why were they driving so slowly?); my husband (did he really need to leave my side for a second?); the doctor (where in the world was the doctor)?
Then Jack arrived, giving a friendly shout out to the world. They handed him to me; and I knew right away...this was the someone I'd been waiting for. He had arrived...a shining example of the best of all of us, with a wise and happy face and ten fingers and ten toes. We all crowded around him; and he made us smile.


  1. Lovely photo. Isn't it something how quickly pain departs when joy arrives.

  2. Happy birthday! Today is my eldest's birthday; he is 21. But his arrival was the opposite - late and long. But it all disappears so fast.

  3. Happy birthday to your son! What a fun story you told! I'm laughing at the part where no one seemed old enough to do the job of delivering this baby. How life changed for that couple in the delivery room. Sounds like the seventeen years have been great. Congratulations on your baby boy, seventeen years ago!

  4. Your reflection made my heart smile. My son is 22. I often think of his arrival in the world, and where we are now, and it has been a journey of joy. Thank you for sharing your journey, and the joy that has come from your son, Jack.