“Twenty-Four and There’s so Much More”

Yesterday was my youngest son’s 24th birthday. It just doesn’t seem possible that he’s that old already. Where does all the time go?  Twenty four years ago when he was born I was in my final quarter at Cal Poly, just a few weeks away from graduation. But my attention was not on my studies, my attention was on the upcoming birth of our third child. We had chosen not to know the sex of our baby and both of us said that it didn’t matter and it really didn’t,  but secretly we were both hoping for a girl.

We already had a boy and a girl and believe me they were like night and day. Our first child, a girl, had been easy. She was a very content baby who cried little, and smiled a lot. Her birth did little to change our on-the-go lifestyle, we’d just pack her up and away we’d go! She was always a happy little traveler.

Our second child was born three years later. He was another story altogether, the polar opposite of his sister. He smiled little, cried a lot and didn’t like to be held. He was definitely not a happy baby, we spent a lot of our time trying to figure out what was wrong. Yes he was quite a challenge and had a mind of his own. Our lifestyle really changed with him. We became quite the homebodies until he was around three or four, then it got a little easier, and I do mean a little.

He was to have been our last. We had one of each and we were satisfied. Then in 1983 I returned t0 college full-time and worked part-time which afforded me the opportunity to spend a lot more time with my two children. My wife was working full-time so suddenly I was the one taking and picking them up from school, taking them to doctor appointments and meeting with their teachers, it was a whole new experience for me and I loved it! My boss even allowed me to pick them up from school in the delivery truck and bring them back to work with me, where he gave them small, fun projects to work on while I was away on deliveries. My kids and I had a golden opportunity to grow closer during that time period, something I really needed to do, especially with my son. It was an incredible four and a half years, I loved every minute of it and thank God for the opportunity.

Around 1986 when my daughter was 11 and my son was 8, I began to have this dream of having another child. I was a completely different person from who I was in 75 – 78 when my two were born and wanted the opportunity to be a dad to an infant again. I wanted the chance to do it right, a chance to be the dad I should have been to my kids when they were infants, especially my boy. I had been going through so much personal crap and was so unhappy and unfulfilled in the late 70’s, that I short changed myself and my family. I wanted another chance to prove myself.

Well my wife thought I was crazy and said no! There was no way we were having another child and that was it! But I persisted and went about my quiet campaign to change her mind. I remember once while we were at the mall she came out of J.C.Penney and found me standing at an outside vendor looking at cute little baby dresses and coats, it was a well planned move on my part and all in the timing. then there were the occasional  “Let’s make a baby” cards I would make for her with the Hallmark greeting card program. In 1987 she relented and agreed that it would be nice to have another baby. One year later our third child was born.

I remember his birth as if it happened yesterday. It had been ten years since our last child and we had been told by the doctor that the delivery could be easy or as difficult as the first time. Thank God it was easy! My wife had relatively little labor and when we arrived at the hospital we were surprised to learn that she was ready to deliver! She was immediately prepped and taken to the birthing room. My two children had taken classes and were in the delivery room with us. They did need an adult supervisor besides myself to be there but the friend we had chosen to be with them hadn’t arrived yet so my mother in law stepped in.

The birth went smoothly and quickly. I’ll never forget standing there watching as the head began to crown, it was incredible. I’d been in the room when my other two children were born but they positioned me up near my wife’s head and they had a sheet raised above her waist so I couldn’t really see much of anything until after the baby was born. This time I was standing next where all the actin was.  I remember being there when suddenly I was asked if I would like to help with the delivery? I couldn’t believe it! I jumped at the chance! I remember placing my hand an inch or so beneath the baby’s head as my wife pushed. The baby’s shoulder was soon exposed. It was so incredible! The moment I laid hands on him I knew he was a boy. I don’t know how, but I knew. Soon after a small twist of his body he was out and I was holding my new son in my arms. I turned back to look at the kids and found them overcome with joy, tears streaming from their eyes. even my mother in law was in tears. What a moment! He wasn’t the girl we had secretly wished for but that was okay he was a pretty good baby, besides we had the other two kids who were always willing to lend a hand.

24 years later, there I sat last night watching number three blowing out the candles on his B-Day cake. I was having a very special senior moment, remembering the day of his birth and all the other blown out candles that got us here. Happy Birthday Son. And as Neil Young said in his song “Old Man”, Twenty-four and there’s so much more…” and there is son, your journey’s only just begun….

Just a Thought…

JS

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