Today is my birthday.
Often, birthdays are spent celebrating the person who was born, honoring one more year spent on this earth doing whatever it is we do. For me, I turn 34, and the changes in me between Sept. 29, 2008, and today are monumental. I have changed, for the better (at least I think) and have managed to find peace.
For that, I’m thankful.
Today’s birthday will be different. I want to celebrate the other major person involved in the day, the one who I will forever be linked with this day – my mom. After all, she was the one doing all the hard work. I just happened to show up, cry and go about my business.
Since I wasn’t there (well, I was there, but try as I might, I can’t remember a thing), I asked my mom to put down what happened on that day, Sept. 29, 1975. What follows are her words, unchanged, with my notes in parenthesis as clarification is needed.
So, Mom, this one’s for you. Happy birthing day.
“Your dad was working third shift and would be home about 7:30 a.m. I woke up about 5 not feeling very well but not knowing exactly what was going on. It was two weeks before you were due. I decided I would wash my hair, just in case – I would be ready when your dad got home.
“I had been told not to be concerned until the pains were at least five minutes apart. That never happened. I called Tiddley (my great-aunt) to come down and be with me. I called Linda Gail (Mom’s cousin) to check to see if Dr. Noss (her neighbor) had his lights on to see if he might be up. Finally, I called him, and he said to just like back down and call him again if the pains got five minutes.
“They never did.
“I wanted to wait and have your dad take me to the hospital. Deana (my sister), was asleep during all of this. Finally, Tiddley and I decided we had better do something. I called your dad to just meet us at the hospital in Clark County (about 30 minutes from my home). I was having one never-ending pain – never did I do the five minutes apart deal.
“My dad was just beginning the first day of his vacation, and he was home that morning. Mom told him to go get dressed up because this would probably be an all-day thing. He got dressed up in a sport coat and slacks and sat on the couch. Mom told him they needed to go. He got up and walked around in the house and sat back down on the couch. He did this a few times. Mom finally told him that she would just get Seldon (my mom’s brother) to drive. Dad sat back down on the couch; he couldn’t even go.
“Seldon and Mom drove me. Seldon would drive about 80-90 mph. I would tell him to slow down, that we had Deana and Doc (my dad) to think about and we couldn’t wreck. Then I would tell him to drive faster, that I was going to have this baby.
“We went through the tollgate with bells and sirens going off, but we would have to deal with that later. I told him I was going to have this baby soon, and he would tell Mom, ‘She will have plenty of time.’ He drove with the blinkers on and horn blowing going down Lexington Avenue. The morning work was heavy at this time, also.
“When your dad met us at the car and the door opened, he thought we had made it too late. I was rushed to the delivery room, and about 15 minutes later, Dr. Noss came out and told everyone, ‘Rose can tell you what she has.’
“Seldon was crying and almost fainted at this time. Doc was so happy that he had a boy, and I was so relieved that you were a boy because we had a girl and a boy and that was going to be all.
“I was sick from Day One. I mean very, very sick the whole nine months. I have told others that after all these years, you are still making me sick at times. Only kidding, although there have been some very rough times, but that’s with any child.
“You went without a name for about three days. We wanted you to have ‘Strother’ but not ‘Strother D. Hall IV.’ I liked Kevin Grevey (a University of Kentucky basketball player), and that’s where the ‘Kevin’ came from.
“Deana thought you were great, and she was a great ‘little mother.’ She entered a contest on nominating me for the Best Mother of the Week and won. She said I gave her a little brother. She was in first grade. She had ‘smooth’ for a spelling word. She wrote it in a sentence: ‘A baby has a smooth tail.’
“It was a very rough morning, but it was worth it.”