My oldest son Jack turns 20 tomorrow. I know it sounds cliché but it seems like it was just yesterday when I was rushing my wife to the hospital when the contractions started. I’d never had a baby before, so I wasn’t really sure what to do other than stand there and look stupid.
“Do you think it’s time?” I asked her that morning as my wife sat on the couch, directing me to grab her bags and start the car between contractions.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s time. The baby is coming so get the car unless you want to deliver him yourself,” my wife shot back, not keen on all my questions.
As luck would have it, Nov. 16, 1997 was the first snow of the year so we were met by a cold blast of wind and the smack of snowflakes on our faces as I hustled my wife out the door of our old house at Sun Valley Drive. I jumped in the car, fired it up and put the heater on full blast, wanting to make my wife as comfortable as possible.
“Bang. Bang. Bang. Unlock the stupid door!” she glared at me from the other side of the ice-glazed glass, seeing I’d forgotten to open the door for her in my hurry to get the car warm, leaving my very pregnant wife outside in the elements.
“Sorry dear, I was just …” I stammered as I ran around to open the door.
“Just go,” she directed as she gingerly slid into the seat.
And go I did. Although I’m often accused by my friends of being a slow driver, that day I tore up Smithville Highway getting to the hospital. I’m stunned more people aren’t pulled over going to the hospital to have a baby because something about the panic of having that first child puts lead in your accelerator foot.
Of course, I found out that having a baby is often a question of hurry up and wait. In my mind I had it conceived I would barely get her in the door and the baby would come. I dropped her off at the door and quickly parked my car, worrying she’d have the baby that quick.
Not so fast my friend. I had plenty of time to watch football in the birthing room that day, much to the chagrin of my wife who was busy having labor pains while I was rooting on my Dolphins (the Titans hadn’t moved to town yet). Did I mention that women in labor have super human strength?
Long story short, flashing forward two decades, Jack will be 20 tomorrow and I’m a Titans fan. The kid turned out alright. He graduated high school and he’s working full-time at Walmart and about to finish up his machinist degree at TCAT. Anyone hiring?
He’s still living at home and that’s OK, but if he were to get a good-paying job and get his own place, dear old dad could convert his old room into a man-cave.
No pressure, Jack. Happy birthday.
Standard reporter Duane Sherrill can be reached at 473-2191.