Twenty-seven years ago she got up in the wee hours to go to the bathroom. She came back to the bedside and woke me saying, "I think we need to go". I looked through bleary eyes to see water running down her leg.
The starter was broken on the Fiat 124 so I pushed it out to the point on the road where the ground fell away downhill, then jumped in, popped the clutch, started the engine, and drove back to pick up the Mother-to-be. The drive to the Emergency room took less than five minutes. A few questions, some required paperwork signed, and we found ourselves in an anteroom to the birthing center watching a fetal monitor. We quickly found what data we needed to watch to predict the coming of the next big contraction as they came more and more quickly and got more and more painful.
And we waited.
At 9 A.M. we had been waiting over four hours. I'm a breakfast eater... she's not.
To the Nurse keeping an eye on us... "How much time do I have?"
"It's still gonna be a while".
"Honey, do you mind if I go get a bite to eat?"
"No, go ahead"
So I went to my favorite spot and got my usual breakfast. It was a day very much like today... clear, warm, and beautiful. After breakfast I went to a convenience store and bought a local newspaper to give to my newborn so we could all remember what was goin' on this birth-day. (Tell me when you want it son. It's in an airtight container, so I'm hoping it'll be much like the day I bought it.)
When I returned, my belly full and a smile on my face, the atmosphere had changed dramatically...
To help speed up the process our Obstetrician had administered a drug called Pitocin. To say it was working would be extreme understatement...
The Mother of my future progeny was now dreading the approach of each new contraction. At one point she actually said to me, "If you ever approach me with that thing again I'll break it off and hand it to you!"
(Thank God she quickly forgot about that threat.)
Soon, Mom and baby were two separate, healthy beings. At the time, she had a full-time job and I was working part-time, so much of the initial child rearing fell on my shoulders. I became an expert at diaper-changing... learned something she never did... that shoveling food from the baby food jars to his mouth too quickly resulted in almost immediate vomiting.
We went through months of colic where he... and we... were in agony for about an hour each night, and you could almost set your clock by its onset.
The only way we could get him to sleep was to put him in his mechanical swing, which required us to get up every 15 minutes to wind like a wristwatch. During this phase he slept FAR better than his parents.
But soon he was old enough to notice television.
Every weekday afternoon, together, Father and Son watched PBS...
a locally produced children's TV program, followed by "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood", then "Sesame Street".
I learned to love them as much as he did...
Mr. Rogers frequently took us to a factory to see how they made things...
Balloons, trumpets, tricycles, candles.
I knew while watching that I might actually be learning more than he did.
Sesame Street taught us letters and numbers in a way that focused his attention, but sometimes made me laugh out loud at the innovation and brilliance.
And the music...
Simple. Interesting. Frequently beautiful.
I've been looking for it for years...
One of my favorite artists, Buffy Ste. Marie sang it on Sesame Street.
Who knows why certain music impacts us? Partly because I like Buffy a lot... but for me, mostly 'cause I think it's just a neat tune, I've searched Buffy's music for years on "YouTube" looking for this song.
I was looking in the wrong place. I should have been looking under "Sesame Street".
If you're interested, the tune is here.
(What a coincidence that I found it on his birthday!)
Do you remember it son? I'm not at all sure you will.
You probably remember "The Lower Case N" better, huh?
Happy Birthday my son. We're sorry we're not with you on this birthday, but being together for all 26 others is a pretty good record, isn't it? We'll see ya soon!
Do something special for yourself.
We're mighty proud of the man you've become.