It’s Will’s Birthday

Will holding his niece Samantha at a day old.
Will feeding Logan at 7 weeks. His four-day leave before deploying was the first time he got to see him.
Brandon and Will bantering about something.

I wish I had the scanner working. I would love to post some pictures of Will when he was younger.

I wasn’t supposed to be able to get pregnant with him, and yet I was. Don was petrified there would be something wrong with him because I was in my thirties. I knew God would take care of my miracle child. Being pregnant is like a poison to my system. It’s like a bad flu only it goes on and on. It wasn’t a good time for another baby. The economy was in shambles, but I could not believe how blessed I was.

The doctor suggested I get an abortion because he was convinced I wouldn’t survive the pregnancy. That was not an option.

During the first sonogram the doctor told me I was placenta previa. The placenta was covering the birth canal. He said it usually migrated up during the pregnancy, but there was a chance if I went into labor, we would have problems. The main problem was I would bleed out quickly if there was a tear; I lived thirteen miles from town and Don was gone all the time. In the end, the doctor said he thought that was what kept the baby from engaging and probably saved him.

Will truly was my miracle baby.

I always go into premature labor, which is just a fact of life. With Will it was a day of contractions starting mid-morning and lasting until night. Days when I felt something was different I drove to the hospital so they could stop the contractions. The doctor really didn’t believe I was have true contractions even though the nurses told him they were stronger than women who had been on pit all morning. They would get things stopped and back home I went. There was also some nerve damage that made it painful to move. Or sometimes I would take a step and my right leg just collapsed.

That’s when I started writing to get my mind off the pain. I filled notebook after notebook with stories, television shows, episodes for the shows, a movie, cartoons, cartoon strips.

My sister-in-laws were on a “think pink” campaign. They even bought a pink baby sleeper to reinforce it.

Mary planned on going to Ireland, a life long dream, in the early fall. She checked into a hospital before she went because she was feeling very tired. They found a spot on her lung. Even though she fought it for three weeks, surviving one medical disaster after another, she finally succumbed. Mary was a story all her own. She was a beautiful, witty, tough lady who went to Alaska with a tiny baby, no education and worked her way up in the banking industry to become so respected she was often called on as an expert witness if federal cases.

Will was born on Mary’s birthday. I think he was born with her same determination and cheerful spirit. I know he was born with her love of Ireland.

He was very sick when he was born and had to stay in the hospital. It was heartbreaking to see them trying to give him IVs with antibiotics and as a last resort they had to give them in his head. He was the darling of the nurses and they argued over whose turn it was to feed him or rock him.

His esophagus didn’t close right so I slept sitting up with him on my chest so I could hear him if he started choking. He twined his fingers around my long hair as he slept and eventually found one of my old wiglets. He packed it around like a teddy bear which drove Don’a family insane because it looked like he was carrying a scalp.

It didn’t matter how long he had been asleep, he always woke up happy. He beamed a smile at me like he was just happy to be here. He has retained that same sweet spirit throughout his life. He has a certain joy de vive that is infectious to be around.

He was one of those children a parent could talk to and correct. I never had a problem out of him. He did well in school. He joined the JROTC and quickly assumed responsibilities there. Then, at seventeen, he joined the National Guard while he was a junior in high school.

I’ve already gone on about this in another post so I won’t repeat myself.

I think one thing I will remember when I am very, very old is the sunset alerts. He shares my love of sunrises and sunsets, though I think he prefers sunsets simply because sunrises require getting up earlier. There is nothing to compare to the awe and beauty in some sunsets and it’s particularly satisfying to share them with someone you love. We sat and watched the sun go down together, basking in glory and peace.

When the chicken population exploded due to the neighbors hens getting loose and laying eggs at our place, which had lost of dropped oats from horses, we had to thin them out. Don, suggested we butcher some. I told him he could butcher, gut, skin and eat them. I had all the chicken butchering I wanted on the ranch.

There was a man at the animal shelter who had some friends who wanted chickens just to keep the manure scratched up and some fresh eggs. I wanted to make sure they wouldn’t go to people fighting chickens, since the root stock of these chickens were fighters. I made sure where they were going to and we went on the great chicken hunt.

We made some chicken hooks and waited until after dark. Several of them roosted on top of the tack room so that was a good place to start. Will and his best friend Wes, who was a massive football player, became the hunters. Will did an excellent Croc hunter imitation. He had the accent down pat and there were “crikeys” galore. I wish I had a video camera.

They snuck up on the sleeping chickens with whispered commentary about the elusive and dangerous chickens. The ones on top of the tack room were difficult because they had to climb up on something to get to the chickens and thrusting out a chicken hook while trying to balance on a 55-gallon drum isn’t the easiest thing. The croc hunter and his aide cleared out enough tack room chickens to cause an extinction.

Once a rudely awakened chicken was snared, they put it in the coon cage, where they would stay until I had enough to make a chicken run. The former owners had a pet raccoon. I had no desire to have one of them, but the cage was perfect for chickens.

Will always found a way to make a chore fun, if not sane. He has a sense of humor that lifts me up and a gentleness of spirit that melts my heart. It amazes me to see this combined with the man he has become.

He spoke once of some insurgents who were planting a bomb on the road outside the base. They blew themselves up. There wasn’t much left of some of them. What was left of others was pretty grisly. I listen to him talk about some things that would be pretty nerve-wracking and it’s just another day at the office.

“It’s kind of like that rocket attack at KV.”

“Wait a minute. You never told me about a rocket attack.”

There’s a “oops” look on his face. “I didn’t? Hmmm. I thought I did. Anyway, I was inside when I heard this loud boom, so I walked outside. The marines had been working on a generator all morning and I figured they blew it up. I didn’t see any smoke or fire, so I went back inside. A little bit later someone ran in and told me to muster so everyone could be accounted for. The loud boom was a rocket they fired at us. It went over the camp and hit outside the other wall, so I went back to what I was doing.”

He has the same physical toughness that seems to run in this family. He fell off a ladder when he was working on the house. I found out later he had done some serious damage to his knee, but he didn’t want to go to the doctor. Just tough it out. Sometimes I want to reach out and thump heads over this stuff.

This combination of tough and gentle amazes me.

I watch him care for his baby and every fiber of my mother’s being warms. Logan is crazy about his daddy and Will’s only thought is, “What’s best for this baby?”

He’s twenty-three years old today. He’s been in the National Guard for almost six years. He’s been to war. He’s helped build a house. He’s raising a baby on his own.

He should be the munchkin in my arms, but instead he towers over me. Dark hair curls above his tee shirt and I reach over to pat his hand that should be a tiny little mitt wrapped in mine. I thumb the back of his hand and he says, “Hairy, like monkey.”

“Yes, hairy, like monkey.”

Then, those large, hairy hands reach down to gently pluck his baby out of my arms and cradle him to his chest. He meets his son’s baby kiss and smiles. “He likes kisses.”

I wonder how I was so blessed to have this wonderful young man in my life. Thank you, Lord.

He’s the one who encouraged me to write fantasy. He was the first one who believed in me. Maybe it was those dinosaur books I wrote for him when he was little and we were going through our dinosaur phase. He has never stopped believing in me.

I had planned on taking him to Ireland for his birthday this year, but things didn’t quite work out. We’ll go next year. This one’s for you.

Happy birthday, sweetheart. Mother loves you.


  1. I feel ok, except for a “probable” concussion I sustained when ramming backward into someone in my parking lot at work while they were trying to speed around me.

    How’s it going in the great state of Texas?

  2. Oh, my stars. I want to beat people like that. You take care of yourself.

    Things are going. I’m going to put in a new application at an apartment today. I stuck out the high prices on this one to keep from losing the deposit, but it appears impossible to get it back anyway. Oh, well.

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