Sounds selfish perhaps, but I love my birthday, I always have! Then in 1995 my birthday became even more supercalifragalistic because on my 25th birthday, twenty years ago today at 12:09 in the afternoon, I gave birth to the most wonderful, precocious, sweet, funny, intelligent child a parent could even ask for! Juston made quite an entrance into this world. Most first time parents have time on their side when it comes to having their baby. Not us! I wasn’t really sure I was in labor anyway, it just felt like cramps. Looking back, I was nesting like crazy and aside from the occasional twinge, I felt great! My husband was gone doing some stuff for our unit at Peterson AFB and wasn’t due back for a few hours. By the time he did get back later that morning I thought I might be in labor. So we called our parents to let them know and while on the phone with his family, BAM! My sporadic contractions decided to go on a NASA space shuttle countdown and in about 20 minutes time I went from having sporadic contractions to contractions about three minutes apart. We hoisted my pregnant self in the truck and off we went!
Juston was supposed to be born at the Air Force Academy Hospital but he had other plans! So instead of zipping up I-25 towards the hospital at the Air Force Academy we detoured and tried to get to the hospital in town. We didn’t quite make it. I was hollerin’ and trying really hard not to birth a baby in the truck, which flustered Scott quite a bit. He found a fire station and at the time it was our best option. It was lunchtime on a Saturday and those poor firemen were cooking up some lunch when we screeched into the parking lot. One of the firemen sauntered to the truck while I was busy trying not to push. I guess they figured this was a first time baby so they had some time to get set up. Not so much!
Juston came into this world with a flourish. My husband and I arrived at the fire department at noon. I waddled in and the firemen sat me down on an empty bed and started to discuss amongst themselves a course of action.
Lucky me (and them), my water broke! I interrupted their discussion to let them know my water broke and I needed to push. It is funny now, so many years later, but at the time they were standing in disbelief and they asked if I was sure. I told them either my water broke or someone popped a balloon in my pants. That set them to scurrying! Within seconds I had an IV, about 10 firemen, EMTs, my husband and some others helping while I got busy giving birth. Honestly, I could have been on the field at Mile High Stadium during a football game and could have cared less who was there helping or how many people! At one point I was hollering to get “it” out, but quickly changed my tune once I had to push in earnest.
About six pushes and Juston was here. Nine minutes in total from arrival at the fire station to his birth. He looked like most babies do, all smooshy faced, but he was healthy and that was all that mattered. From there was all pretty normal. We went to the hospital where they checked his vital signs and sutured me up and the next day we were on our way home.
From the day Juston was born until today seems like a matter of days, not years. I remember when he was so small, sleeping with him on my chest because he wouldn’t sleep. There was his first Halloween at four months old where we dressed him as the most adorable pumpkin. Then there was his second Halloween when he wore a fish costume and heaved his candy-laden bucket in the door of the neighbor’s house and cried because he was done trick-or-treating. I remember his first steps, playing sports from the time he could walk, and the first day of kindergarten. There were sleepovers, birthday parties, and holidays – all memories of when he was small. Before I knew it he was finished with elementary school and heading off to sixth grade and school sports. And then there was his first day of ninth grade. Now it’s been two years since his high school graduation and he finished his second year of college at Appalachian State in May.
Where did the time go? Why do I still see this sweet, precocious little boy in my head when I talk to him? I know he’s grown and needs me less and less. I know that I make him crazy and annoy him at times. I guess I still cannot believe that he’s an adult, and maybe it’s because I don’t feel very different. Like all adult children he wants space, and I try my best to give it to him. (Really, I do!) There is a nagging feeling that I’ve let him down in some way, or that I didn’t do enough somehow. Letting go of my child has been difficult. We were always very close until I separated from his dad and I’m sure that hurt him. He’s not much of a talker where feelings are concerned these days, so I’m not sure I’ll ever know. You put so much effort into raising your children, but you’re never really sure you’re doing it right.
Juston is in West Virginia working as a mountain bike instructor at a camp and sleeping in a tent for the summer. He seems to like working with the kids and for someone that’s never done mountain biking before, he picked it up in no time! He gets his athleticism from his dad, certainly not from me – I can barely walk without falling. He’s coming home today and I’m hopefully going to see him while he’s home. One thing we will always share is our birthday day. He was the best gift I ever received for my 25th birthday (or any birthday, for that matter), and it is a day we’ll share always. Happy Birthday Juston! You make your mama proud!