Happy Birthday to Wade!


On this date in 1970, I was anxiously and eagerly waiting for the next day to arrive. I was safely tucked into a hospital bed for the night, and David had gone home to try to get some sleep. The following morning I would be having my first baby, by cesarian section. The baby inside of me kicked and turned, eager to stretch out arms and legs and greet the world. And I was just as excited to hold my baby and see him or her for the first time.

This baby was going to be very special, I just knew it. I had lost twin boys- born too early and not able to survive- within the year, and my doctor had been very concerned that I might lose this baby, as well. But I didn’t, and my pregnancy had been issue-free. I didn’t know if I was going to have a boy or a girl, but my instinct told me “boy”, and I was already thinking about Wade, the name we had chosen for a son.

Our one-bedroom apartment was ready. With the help of our parents and Green Stamps, we had everything we needed. I had made the baby’s entire layette myself, in colors and patterns of yellow, green, and white, suitable for either a boy or a girl. The white crib with pink and blue bunny rabbits at its head was tucked into the corner of our bedroom, the changing table also had its own space, and my new rocking chair sat ready for me to nurse my infant and sing sweet songs to him or her. We even had a wind-up swing in our small livingroom, a brand new contraption in the baby-world of 1970, and David had bought the baby a brown teddy bear, complete with a music box in its tummy. We were ready for our baby to arrive!

By the following evening, I was holding Wade in my arms and was giving breast feeding a try. I couldn’t believe what a beautiful baby he was, and I was totally in love. He was perfect in every way, from his double crown of light brown hair, all the way to the tips of his little toes. And, above all, he was alive! All of my anxiety had flown out of the window the first time I held him in my arms, and I knew he was sent to me for a very important reason.

Today, as I think back over the past 44 years, there has not been a day when he has not been in my thoughts at some moment- some days, more than others! As a little boy, he was an absolute delight. As a big brother to Brian, he was a helper to me and a friend and playmate for his little brother. As a teen-ager, he was often a challenge, and we had some tense moments seeing him travel toward adulthood. As a young adult, he was an inspiration as I watched him struggle with what he wanted to do with his life, and as I both observed and participated to a small degree in some of his life-changing decisions. And now, as a mature man, he is my voice of reason and logic, and I often go to him for advice and for his opinion.

My collection of days is filled with both Wade and Brian, and all the fun we had when they were kids. It also includes some life-changing days, and a few tension filled ones. Tomorrow, as Wade celebrates his birthday, it will be another day for me to add to my collection. I won’t be with him physically to celebrate, but I will be celebrating his entire life and that day in December when he entered the world. On December 8, 1970, my own life was enriched and changed forever.

Happy birthday, Wade!


One thought on “Happy Birthday to Wade!

  1. Scottie Atkins Spry

    What a beautiful column, Jennie, with wonderful memories. My own daughter was born the following July. It’s hard to believe in this day of 3-D sonograms, etc., that back then we had to wait and be surprised, isn’t it? I, too, lost a baby 3 years after my daughter was born, so I know how heartbreaking that can be, too. She’s my only child and I feel blessed every day to have her in my life as I’m sure you feel about your boys, too. Children can be our biggest source of joy and also fear and angst. I thank God that he has allowed me to be Stephanie’s mother. Love and hugs to you and you sons. Have a wonderful Christmas! Scottie

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