I remember clearly the moment you were born. My pain meds had worn off and I felt ever single moment of it. Every tear, every contraction, every single push. It had been a long 2 days of labor and I could hardly believe that you were ever going to come out.
After pushing for well over an hour, you finally decided to make your grand entrance….. All 8lbs 6 oz of you. I reached down and touched your head as you crowned and was so overwhelmed with love. I had been so worried about how I could have enough to give to another child after loving your older brother, my first born, so fiercely.
You were born in Llano, Texas and had brown eyes and a full head of brown hair. Such a stark contrast from your blue eyed, blond haired older brother. I loved that about you. Different from the start. A beautiful baby boy with those big brown eyes.
Whatever worries I had were gone the moment I held you in my arms. You were huge to me! You felt so right in my arms and in the days that followed I could not put you down. I kissed your dark hair over and over again and marveled at your beautiful face. We all were just smitten with you and you complimented our little family so perfectly.
To say you were an easy child is an understatement. From day 1 you only fussed when it was time to eat and the first 3 months were so perfect. Cory spent hours with us on a blanket in your room, sunlight streaming through the window, showing you his toys, playing peek-a-boo and touching your toes, fingers and hands. He also covered you with a blanket, including your head which landed him in time out a time or two. And so began your friendship that had you inseperable for the first 9 years of your life.
It was during those precious days in the sunlight that we would play a tape full of lullabies to you. You loved one in particular. It was called Teeter Totter. You would kick your feet and smile when it came on and from that time on we called you Teeter Totter.
Teeter, you got very ill when you were 3 months old. You abruptly became a screamer. You cried all night long, but during the day you seemed fine. There was no fever or anything we could see from the outside. Just the crazy change in your nighttime routine. I remember one sleepless night after another. Your dad had started sleeping in with Cory so he could function at work during the day so I was it…..I was on 24 hours a day. I remember one night crying with you in absolute exhaustion and placing you right in the middle of our bed and stepping into the den and yelling “Bill, you need to get in here now because I can’t take it anymore.” and your father came rushing in and scooped you up. I was beside myself because I could not make it right for you and had no clue what was wrong. You had been to the doctor and they checked you over and found nothing wrong. It was a mystery.
We went to Papa and Nanny’s house for Christmas, and your nighttime crying spilled over into the day. I could not even put you down and I told your father “This child is sick. There is something wrong with my baby and I want to go to the hospital RIGHT NOW. I am getting our things and going to the car.”
In the ER at the Children’s Hospital in Austin, the resident told us that he thought you had bilateral ear infections. He said that your ears were fire red, and your crying sure indicated that you were in pain. But when the attending came in she did some kind of a stupid test on your tympanic membrane and stated that she was not going to treat you because the test did not indicate a problem. We argued with her and said “But your resident said they were both fire red and inflamed and he is crying non stop.” but she insisted that the new test she did was more accurate and that “red ears does not mean they are infected”. This, my tech savvy son, is a stark example of the difference between using your eyes, ears and brain together vs depending solely on technology. Please take note.
This was the first time I ever saw your dad loose his temper in public. He is such quiet and gentle person, but can really blow his top when pushed hard. An hour after Dr. Technology left the room, the nurse still had not come in to discharge us, you were crying, and I was freaking out. Your father was pissed. He told me to gather our stuff because we were leaving. As we were walking through the ER to leave AMA, and past the nurses station and doctors, your dad kicked the door to the waiting room open as hard as he could and yelled loudly “We are leaving and going to a REAL hospital”. It was spectacular and I think I fell in love with him all over again at that moment.
We went straight to the house to pick up Cory, said our unexpected and premature goodbyes and loaded in the car to head to the hospital you were born in.
When we walked into the ER, at a REAL hospital, the first thing they heard were your high pitched screams. They rushed toward us and took us into an exam room. The doctor looked in your ears and said “OMG, his ears are fire read and bulging. Lets get him some relief” and he had the nurse put pain drops in your ears. Within moments you went silent and were able to nurse yourself to sleep while I cried tears of relief.
And so began the off and on doctor visits that went on for the first 3 years of your life. Your white blood count never went below 15,000. There was even a point when you had a white count of over 30,000 and your dad and I sat one Saturday morning at the kitchen table holding each others hands as we waited for the oncologist to call and tell us the results of a blood test to determine if you had some kind of cancer. Thanks be to God you did not.
Through all of that, you were joyful and easy going in between bouts of illness. You were an absolute joy to be with and everyone you met adored you, my sweet boy.
Something funny about you that we loved….when you started to crawl, you would sit up and twirl your feet and hands like you were getting revved up like an engine, then you would launch yourself onto hands and knees and take off. We called you “Twirly feet and Hands” at this stage and you would smile and laugh.
You also loved your Pooh Bear and he was your best buddy next to Cory. I will forever wonder where he ended up when you dropped him by accident rushing through the airport to catch a plane.
At 3 years old you had your tonsils, tubes and adenoids removed and have hardly been sick at all since then. You can thank your father for that as he was the one who made a referral to a specialist who said “Let’s get this boy well once and for all”. And he did. For the first time ever, your white count fell to normal levels.
Teeter, we loved watching you grow. You were such a sweet and gentle child who loved to be outside. Dirt was your friend and you played hard in it with your little dirt bikes.
Right before your 3rd birthday you decided that you wanted to ride a dirt bike like your older brother. We told you that when you could ride a bike without training wheels you could ride the Honda. For your 3rd birthday you got a bike, and the first thing you said was “Wow!! Take off the training wheels please”. Dad did and you took off and never looked back. Within a day or two you were jumping curbs and racing around the cul de sac in front of our house. It really freaked people out when we would go for walks in the park and you would race around like a maniac on your tiny bike meant for training wheels. This picture below reminds me of myself at your age. There really isn’t enough fun and dirt in the world when you love life the way we do, my son.
And yes, we let you get on the dirt bike and you gave me numerous heart attacks when you took off around the track jumping the jumps and trying to do Travis Pastrana tricks like you saw in the Mini Warriors tapes we watched over and over again with you three boys.
You were also hell on wheels with a Razor scooter and gave the old ladies at the nursing home across the street a heart attack every time you and your brothers set up the ramps in the backyard to jump. They would spend hours watching you all play out their windows and I know it gave them great joy.
I could go on and on about your childhood. It was pretty much a Norman Rockwell painting come to life.
You can thank Shiner for that and all the beautiful memories of our friends and the house on N. Ave E.
All you need to do son, is scroll back through this blog and read. It is my gift to you and your siblings.
The last year has been so precious to me. There was a point when you were young, that we wondered if you were a bit slow due to all the ear infections and maybe some hearing loss during that time. By 4th grade you made it apparent that you were quite the opposite. You are brilliant. You devoured the entire Harry Potter series in 5 weeks time the summer we moved into the trailer. You were 8yo. Your speech was deliberate and advanced. You graduated a year early from high school, finishing the entire curriculum in less than a month and have spent this time working and reading information on everything from computers and technical gadgets to black holes and quantum physics….. You also built your own computer from the ground up. Goals completed. We have spent a lot of time together this year and I love the moments we have shared, especially our trip this past May to see the one place you have always talked about seeing….Japan.
I will treasure all the memories we made together there. Even the “which restaurant” battles. 😉 I know you will go back again as soon as the opportunity arises, and the thought of you that far from home is hard to imagine.
College looms now and we are so very proud that you have decided to attend. We are excited for this new journey you are about to take, but we will miss you down to the very core of our beings.
One more baby flying out of the nest.
But fly you must.
For me, you will always be this little guy no matter how big you get or how far away you fly from us.
I love you so, Teeter Totter. The road less traveled is out there waiting for you. Take it and enjoy the journey.