Thirty years ago, we had no children.
Our last childless night changed when Jill knew her contractions were coming closer together. We grabbed already-packed bags and drove to Miami’s Baptist Hospital: maybe a little faster than needed, hoping this was the one night an officer pulled us over and I could point to my wife in labor. No such luck.
Two things from labor and the hospital stand out. My wife amazed me with composure, tears, complete red-face effort, and her humor. She cited most of Bill Cosby’s lines from his monologue about his wife’s birthing(s).
Colt inherited the humor.
The second thing was the hospital nursery. As people visited and asked which in the nursery was Colt, we only responded, “the blonde”. Walking down to the glass to view a room crammed with babies in bassinets and nurses hovering over a sea of future hopes, they saw only one towhead in the room. His standing out like that continues.
We moved to Austin to work on my advanced degree. We settled on the east side to a great little house close to campus and great public schools. Colt attended his first birthday party, where I worked in the kitchen with other parents and we all laughed. He ran yelling and shrieking, oblivious to being the only white kid playing games in the Austin summer sizzle. The blond.
He was blessed to have older guys be big brothers: Aaron Stern and Josh Taylor. He took up their mantle for kids in the Stillwater hood. He skied fearlessly and drew on a quiet confidence. I saw that confidence as I conducted leader training in Virginia for college students and brought Colt along — the eighth grader.
Two guys led worship (not so great) and one caught something in Colt’s face to ask, “Hey, you want to try?” Colt silently nodded, “Yes,” calling his bluff. All stopped. The student walked across and handed the guitar to Colt and things improved dramatically. They adopted him for the rest of the weekend.
In college, he thought Claire was stuck up when they both performed in Freshmen Follies and we sat in front of her parents. Oddly, she thought the same, and four years later they were halfway out of the sanctuary after exchanging vows before 800 friends and family caught on that Clarie’s organ teacher was playing the Theme from Star Wars and
Four years ago we had no grandchildren, but then one night Claire told Colt her contractions were coming closer together.
I have waded far enough into life to drink deeply and watch large life cycles wash over us. I am wealthy, blessed, overwhelmed, happy. And I pray he is when Duke turns 30.