There are always a few tremendous experiences that stand out in a guy’s memory. I truly think the one experience that is above all in my foggy memory was on this day 32 years ago when I received the title of “Dad”.
I did have some prep time in that it was several months from the first indication of pregnancy until birth. There were times of holding my hand on the Warden’s stomach and feeling the baby move; my 110 lb. wife looking as though she had swallowed a basketball; strutting around like a rooster because the Warden was pregnant (as if it took some sort of specialized skill to get her that way); picking out just the right name for a son (Calvin Carl after our own fathers) and turning the extra bedroom into a nursery. And even after all the prep time and planning, the Warden’s water broke in the middle of the night and all logic was replaced with panic.
We got to town early in the morning, just after sunrise and went straight to the hospital and checked her in. We then went to the “labor room” and begin the wait. Finally after all day of sitting in the most uncomfortable chair the hospital had to offer me, they took the Warden into the delivery room. Now in 1974, we were still kind of in the stone ages as far as birthing babies. The husband was allowed in the labor room but not in the delivery room, so I was shown the second most uncomfortable chair the hospital had to offer which was in the waiting room.
Finally a nurse showed up late in the evening and said if I would come to the window of the nursery, she would show me the baby. As she rolled this little bassinet full of blankets up to the window, I noticed the blank pink name card on it. I tapped on the window and pointed to the other bassinet with the blue card, but she shook her head and indicated that this one was mine. I figured there was no use arguing with her, we’d just get it straightened out in the next day or two.
The next day I went in to be with the Warden and she asked what we were going to name the baby since it was a girl. Now I was in a little bit of a shock that they could have so easily convinced her that she had a girl. We had always planned on a boy. Just then the door opened and a nurse entered pushing that blanket filled bassinet with that blank pink name card on it.
In one swoop, before I could even begin to ask questions concerning what they had done with my son, she laid this mass of blankets into my arms.
“What do you think of that Dad?” she asked as she pulled back the blankets to reveal this mass of black hair, squinting eyes, pink skin, long little fingers and stubby toes.
She was perfect! We named her Rebecca Diane (her mother’s middle name). And we called her Becky because of the tomboy Becky Thatcher in the Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
About that initial feeling of being called “Dad” for the first time, it will never be repeated or replaced. So you see, even though Becky was born on May 28 it was the next day that I became “Dad”.
And now you know the rest of the story.