Projects can take minutes or years. Today I recall the beginning of a huge lifetime project that started on August 23, 1972.
Thirty-nine years ago today—a Wednesday—remains a clear memory. Steve and I got up early, laughing about all the practice runs to the hospital, and then took our time getting there. I was three weeks late delivering our first child, so that morning I was induced. My friend Sue Painter had had baby Tommy two days earlier and was urging me to “hurry up and have that baby so we can be in the hospital together.”
By 8:15, I was checked in and getting the meds that jumpstarted my labor. At noon, Dr. Giglia, my obstetrician, told me to hurry up and deliver this baby because he had a golf game to get to at 2. I did not cooperate. Why did people keep telling me to hurry up? Did they think I was delaying this event on purpose?
Steve stood by me with soothing words and ice chips and whatever help he could give. Finally at 3 pm, the attending nurse asked if he’d had any lunch. He admitted he had not. (This was back before he always packed some nuts and peanut butter/cracker snacks any time he was leaving home for an indeterminate time.) She shooed him out, so he went to the cafeteria and ate a Twinkie and a Coke. (This was also before he was concerned about good nutrition.)
He returned at 3:15, just in time to hear his firstborn give his first cry. He rushed in and the nurse placed the little bundle in his outstretched arms. Together we admired the beautiful dark-haired baby we’d made and agreed that we still loved our name choice—Joshua Empson Boyd. I held Josh briefly and then they took him to clean him up and I slept.
Steve went to a pay phone (obviously no cell phones yet) to call our parents. His parents were delighted and my mother said, “Why did you have to give him an old man’s name?” So that dampened his enthusiasm for telling his news, but not for long.
He went shopping and returned with a beautiful porcelain blue and white figure of a little boy and a dozen roses. He greeted us in our hospital room—that I shared with Sue Painter!
With a two-day head start from me, she was very mobile and kept offering to do things for me. Her help I most enjoyed was drinking her coffee. She wasn’t nursing Tommy, so she had to limit her fluids. I was to drink all I could to help my milk come in. Since I had been nauseated by coffee throughout my pregnancy, I was delighted to be able to enjoy coffee again. The sudden changes in my bodily reactions were almost miraculous. Finally all food tasted and smelled great.
Back then, the hospital rules were that only fathers and grandparents were allowed to visit new mothers and their babies. A dear friend from church, Thelma Hart, decided to visit us, which I loved. When asked at the desk if she were a grandparent, she answered, “I most certainly am!” Of course her grandchildren were no relation to us, but she saw no reason to mention that. She brought him a lovely baby book—just what we needed to record his milestones.
When Josh and I were finally released to go home, Mother was there to help. I can still see her—slender, dark-haired, efficient—handing me the baby after I got in the car. She sat in the back seat and I cuddled precious baby Josh all the way home. (There were advantages to not knowing the need for car seats for babies.)
Mother was soft-spoken, gentle, and amazing as she helped us through that first week. She took care of the food, the house, and all three of us so that we had no worries. Just love and adapt to each other, which we were more than willing to do.
By the time Daddy and my brother John came to pick her up, I’d established enough of a routine that I felt confident that we’d be OK without her help. And Steve had finally seen the best side of my mother—loving nurturer and considerate care-giver. From then on, their relationship grew stronger and sweeter just as our dear little Josh did.
Thus, except for my marriage, began my biggest project yet.