13 Years At Hard labor

Fast Forward 17 Years

imageSeventeen years ago today we were greeted with an amazing surprise…“its a boy!”. After having two girls I have to honestly say that I wasn’t thinking boy, in fact since I didn’t know any better I was hoping for a girl as our third child.  Girls seemed so easy.  Looking back now I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Sue and are a blessed with such fabulous children and what a wonderful young man we have!

The day he was born was such a whirlwind.  Sue had just gotten home from work (she’s a lawyer for those who don’t know) after a day in court enduring many contractions.  We had just sat down to dinner when she exclaimed “I think we better get to the hospital!”.  Since we live on an island with only ferry service to the mainland and the hospital we had to get to the ferry right away.  My mother was expected to arrive the next day from NY to help with the two girls but now we had no other choice but to pack the girls in the car and head out.  We made the ferry fortunately (it is only a mile away) and when we got off I spotted a friend heading home from work waiting in line on the other side.  I jumped out of the car with the girls and asked him to take them, thankfully he did without question.  Off we raced to the hospital.  Sue was now having stronger and stronger contractions, I was doing my best to keep her calm and focused will driving as fast as I could.  It was like a scene from the movies! 

When we arrived at the hospital things slowed down but once we got situated and the midwife arrived we discovered that the baby’s heart rate was irregular dropping dangerously during contractions, not a good thing.  Because of this complication when it can time to push him out a few hours later it was off to the OR instead of staying in the room. Turns out that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck thus accounting for the heart rate problem, everything else was just fine.  My mother was of course pleasantly surprised when she arrived the next day to find the baby had already arrived!

At that time I was staying home taking care of the kids full time (which I did for 13 years) so I got to spend a lot of time with Michael from day one.  He was such a quiet contented baby.  Always with his two middle fingers in his mouth, he would be content no matter where we were.  When he got older he would happily sit in the stroller, sucking his fingers watching me while I worked in the garden.  Of course, he enjoyed typical boy stuff too and was much more active than the girls, often making weird “grunting sounds” I’d never heard from the girls.  From an early age he displayed incredible hand-eye coordination and was naturally very athletic.  Over the years it seems that any sport he tried he easily mastered.  On our recent trip to NY we golfed a number of times.  He played very well and even beat me!  He could easily be a very good golfer if he had the chance to play more.

I remember vividly watching him play soccer when he was about 9 or 10.  As he dribbled the ball down the field running at full speed, he was so graceful and economical in his movements, not like the typical kid.  I immediately saw in him my brother David who had been a dancer and thought how with such talent Michael would make a great dancer just like his uncle.  image
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Unfortunately, in spite of my encouragement over the years I could never get him interested.  I even resorted to telling him that dancing was where the girls are.  I discovered this little known fact while watching my brother rehearse a show in NYC before heading out on a European tour many years ago.  Here were all these gay male dancers (most now dead including my brother) with their hands all over their beautiful female dance partners.  What was I thinking going out for sports in high school?  Dance and theatre are where the girls are!  Anyway, perhaps someday Michael will understand what I meant and think “why didn’t I listen to my father?”.

Now at age 17 he is very much the typical teenager: cell phone, video games, laying around watching TV, etc.  yet, he still retains that quiet disposition.  He really is a thoughtful, gentle, kind soul. One sees it most clearly when we have occasion to be around young children.  He is so attentive and gentle with them.  I was never that way.  It is a wonderful thing to see because it reveals so much about his true nature.  As a parent it is so easy to focus on the negative, on things that your kids don’t do, or things you think they should be doing but aren’t,  that one overlooks or forgets about real basic “inside” stuff like this.  God grant us all the patience and wisdom to see these things and acknowledge them in our children!