Time to write another entry on my story, God's story.
Believe it or not, I had decided I did not want any children. However, my doctor convinced me at age 26 I would change my mind. I decided to just leave it in God's hands. However, I did not want more than two children, and it would be nice to have a boy and a girl.
Christmas season 1977 found me in a Chattanooga hospital delivering our first child - a beautiful baby son with lots of dark hair. He looked much like his Daddy. We named him after a city in Kentucky that I had written in my Bible two years earlier as we passed through that town on a trip to Michigan from Tennessee. It just sounded like a neat man's name, and I had a nickname for his as a child. (He outgrew that by fourth grade...sad to say.)
God intervened in our lives once again by blessing us with our first born son. Even his name meant "Gift of God". While I was in the hospital recovering from his birth (back in the days when you didn't go home again right away after giving birth), I had plenty of time to journal about this blessed event.
That first night our baby had a catch in his breath, and to better inspect the reason why, they transferred him to ICU in a children's hospital. Turns out he had a staff infection, often fatal, according to the doctor. He had to be in an incubator for 12 days for treatments. We were allowed in to be with him for a short while after getting robed. With sterile gloves on our hands, we would reach in and stroke him and let him squeeze our fingers...he had a very strong squeeze.
I was so grateful for the day we could finally take him home and hold him close. I was enamored with him. He had his picture taken every time I put a new outfit on him, and in all his various settings....infant seat, crib, swing, play pen. (Funny how that tends to happen with the first born, and not so much when the next baby comes along!)
We didn't know very many people near where we lived, so I would take the baby out to the mall and push him around in a stroller, just to get out of the duplex. By April we were ready to move back to Cleveland and buy our second home. It was a modest tri-level located near a golf course, where we could golf all we wanted for $25 a month for the both of us! That was a while ago!! In fact, that golf course is no longer there...sad. It had a pool and tennis courts, which we also used on occasion.
I enjoyed being Mama, but needed an outlet, so I started taking a class at the Community College near by. I soon found out baby #2 was on his way. Baby #1 was only 16 months old when #2 showed up, rather quickly! Glad we weren't driving back to Chattanooga to the hospital, or we would have pulled alongside I-75 and had a baby without any medical assistance. As it was, we got to the Cleveland hospital, and before the doctor arrived, or before Paul had time to sit down and start reading his book, Son #2 was on the scene. That was quick and easy, compared to my first time of giving birth.
During my pregnancy we could never come up with a girl's name, but I had a boy's name picked out, just in case. The closer I got to the baby's birth, the more I decided a second son would be nice. He would be a good playmate for his brother, and I could save money on clothes. Baby girls are way too expensive, I had decided! So we were prepared for a second male child in our home, and glad for his safe arrival!
God granted us two loving, darling baby boys to enrich our lives and to keep us laughing and finding joy in our days. If I had never had babies, I would never have made an Easter Bunny Cake, or filled Easter Baskets and Christmas Socks. I chose to stay home during these preschool years and raise our sons so they would have our values, not the values floating around in Daycare. I loved watching bigger brother sharing his Popsicle with his little brother, while they sat in a round plastic swimming pool.
They became close buddies from the get-go. One with dark straight hair, one with white/blond curly hair. Go figure! One favored the Spanish genes and one favored the German genes. But if you put jackets on them and drew their hoods tight around their faces, you couldn't tell them apart. One wanted desperately to be totally athletic, and was very competitive. One was very athletic, but had no interest in competition. Wouldn't you know. I guess that brought balance between the two of them.
I also found my role expanding from mother to teacher. We had home preschool, structured lessons and crafts and computer time. Remember Texas Instruments - TI99-4a? That was Daddy's influence on our growing sons...reading, math, spelling, and playing games...learning hand-eye coordination. By the time they reached kindergarten, they were both advanced in their classes and in the gifted programs. I give credit to the early computer exposure. Sure enough, one grew up to be a computer whiz, and his career is enhanced by his natural skills and knowledge. He gets that from Dad also.
Daddy was given a temporary assignment in Lake Charles, LA with his company. It was to be about 18 months in length, so we loaded up the family and moved south. Thank goodness the assignment only lasted 9 months. Hubby worked 18 hour days, 7 days a week. I was left alone with the babies in an area where the only people we knew were from the church. We became close friends with the pastor and his wife, since they were new to the area also. They had older teenagers, and became substitute grandparents to our boys. Curley and Preacher...a deep friendship grew in those nine months. I still make "Curley's Spaghetti" today...a family favorite.
We had a very nice family vacation in Texas while we lived down in that area. We made the loop across Louisiana to Houston, down to historic, romantic San Antonio, up through San Marcos and Austin, saw the capital, took a brief run through Fort Worth and Dallas (stopped to see the historical marker of JFK's death), and back down to Houston. We attended a 15 inning Astros' ball game (boys slept in the seats), and we spent a day at Six Flags over Houston. From there we went out to Galveston Island for a day before heading back to Lake Charles. The boys were too young to remember the trip, but it stands out in my memory as a great vacation, after not having a husband around for almost nine months! We didn't know when we would be that close to Texas again. I say the best thing about Lake Charles was living only five hours from Houston, even though we only made it there one time. Lake Charles represented alligators, snakes, and roaches to me. I was glad to move away from there!
When we left Lake Charles we thought we were going back to Cleveland, but God had other plans for us, and the company moved us to Joliet, Illinois. We had rented our Cleveland house, and found out renting is a disaster. After fixing up the house, it was put on the market for sale, and it didn't take long to sell. I think I'll leave the Joliet Years for the next segment of my blog, even though I've already given some insights to the boys' lives during that period. I'm just writing what flows through my mind as I journal this time of my life. Would that I could relive it!! And this time, NOT make so many mistakes!!! Isn't that every parent's wish? That's why we have grandchildren, right?