Monday, February 24, 2014

Watershed Moments - Parenting

One of those watershed moments for every parent is the birth of your first child. Farm families are intimately familiar with the annual cycle of renewal. Lambing, calving, farrowing, budding of perennials and planting the new crop in the spring, all have a promise of blessing, potential and great things to come. But the blessing of a human child dwarfs all these other births combined
 and the emotions that a father feels at the birth of his first child (or any child for that matter) are difficult to describe to say the least.

We were in Silicon Valley about 3000 miles from our families and Lisa was "great with child" as they used to say. Always the over achiever, Andrea decided to come a month early. Our OB doctor and the pediatrician were both from the best birthing center in Silicon Valley, kind of the "Mayo Clinic" of the area. So they were in good hands. Andrea was a little over 5 lbs but in good health. 

I remember the emotions of:
  1. Fear - We were a long way from our families. What if something went wrong. This emotion didn't last long, but I remember it tucked away in a dark corner of my thoughts.
  2. Thankfulness - we had some great new friends that really put their arms around us. We had been there only a few months and these new friends that spanned several generations not only cared for us but invested in us.
  3. Responsibility - Lisa and Andrea were counting on me. That is pretty motivating. This didn't seem overwhelming, it just was the way it was. It was normal and it was good.
  4. Joy - Andrea's middle name is Joy. That captured one the emotions of the moment and even 20 years later fits her so well.
  5. Peace - it was well with our soul
  6. Freedom - we had no student loans, no car loans, no credit cards and our house back in Rochester was paid for. This is highly recommended. There are enough new stresses at being a parent, without financial stresses.
  7. Legacy - what would this new little baby become?
  8. Fun - Andrea didn't "do" much yet. But we went everywhere together.

I remember having a teeny tiny baby. We wrapped her in a pink baby blanket that her aunt Susan had monogrammed with her name. We still have, and use, that blanket by the way. Andrea liked the way I wrapped her in it, because I could get it good and snug. Babies like good and snug when they are tiny.

When Andrea would cry we would run the vacuum cleaner. She seemed to like the "white noise" and would stop crying. I was wearing out the vacuum and the carpet. So I went to Fry's Electronics and got a boom box, we made a recording and just played that loud. The tape player would automatically do replay, so we were good to go. We wore out several tapes of that classic vacuum recording. She seemed to accept the "facsimile" just fine. She also like classical music. I guess that was good, because she still likes classical music.

We would walk at dawn to the local Dunkin Doughnuts for a treat. (No, not for her, that was for me. To keep my energy up you know.) We explored every twisty windy sidewalk and culdesac within about 3 miles of our home.

When Andrea got a little older, our friends used to watch me feed Andrea ice cream just to watch her shiver. She would wiggle from the brain freeze from her nose to her toes.

We took videos for the grandparents. We took a few when Jenna came along too. But I don't think we even bothered for Reed.

Most people would recognize Andrea as a hard worker. But did you know that she got a W-2 before she was even 1 year old. She was a cute baby (like her mother) and Lisa had her doing some baby modeling in San Francisco. Andrea was even cover girl for a national add campaign. Your dentist will tell you a good smile is an investment of a life time, wait a minute, she didn't even have any teeth yet, never mind.

We went on to have two more children that are just as dear to us. But there is something about the first that is truly a watershed moment.

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