Sunday, December 28, 2014

Milestones ii

45 years ago today, my dad rocketed the '67 Mustang (289 engine replaced with a 429) through the snow, trying to avoid thinking about the mere fifteen seconds between contractions that his wife was having.

I was early.  And since I had given everybody a false alarm earlier in the week, they waited to make sure before dashing across Newport again.

While my dad was checking in the patient, Mom was in the elevator.  The elevator operator smiled at the young mom-to-be, and said, 'Having a baby, huh? How close are the contractions?'

'Well, they unhhhhh, are pretty aunhhhhh, close togethunnnnhhhh.'

'Oh, Lordy, please hurry up this elevator,' the man is reported to have said, pushing on the elevator ceiling.

Once he checked his wife in, there was not much for the young naval officer to do but wait.  He sat in the waiting area, smoking Salem after Salem, pacing, waiting, glancing at the door from which news would come.

Two others were in the room with him.  One was as keyed up and jittery as he was. The other was languidly smoking a cigarette, leaning back in his chair, seemingly at ease.

"Your wife having a baby, too?" Dad asked.


"As calm as you are, you must have gone through this before!"

"Nope.  This is my first."

"How are you able to stay so calm?"

"I don't know.  Guess I just don't have worrier genes." With that pronouncement, the man leaned forward, and put his cigarette out on the back of his hand.

45 years.

When I turned 18, I expected to feel different.  I had registered with selective service.  I was an adult.  But it felt a little bit like 17.

Same thing at 21.  I could now buy alcohol legally.  But otherwise, it felt an awful lot like 20.

At 25, my insurance rates went down. 

At 30, I was preparing (in 2 weeks) to marry a woman I loved.

At 40, I was working on a dissertation that never quite gained the proper traction.

Now at 45, it feels really similar to the feeling of the 'me' from yesterday.  I have a family that I am crazy about.  I am in love with my wife.  I have friends that I would kill for.  I have grandkids that I can justifiably brag about.  I have a goddaughter that is incredible, intelligent, musical, (and she's nice, besides).  I serve a God who I don't understand, but who challenges me every day to be better, to love justice, and to be kind to my neighbors.

I consider myself blessed. 

And THAT is a milestone to be celebrated every day.


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