I absolutely loved every minute of being pregnant. It helped being 24, fit and in great health. I was ready to be a mom, and when the test came back positive, I was overjoyed.
A few people told me I was too young, but in my heart I was ready. I’d read all of the books and followed every instruction to take excellent care of my body.
The due date was set for January 10, 1984, but my little one was ready early. On the morning of December 30th, I knew I was going to meet my first child that day. As it turned out, my husband and I had sold a home two years prior and our taxes would be due in 1983 on the sale. Our son showed up in the nick of time for us to declare him as a dependent for that year, essentially cancelling out any owed taxes.
And that pretty much sums up our first son. He’s a bit of a rescuer. But I’m getting ahead of myself; let me back up a bit.
From the moment he was born, he was a little man. We used to call him The Baby Man. He was such a good baby and never cried. Everything was pretty easy with him from the very start. He was bright and curious and happy.
When he was about five years old an event happened that I think shaped who he is today. Or at least started the process. My husband’s parents had come to visit and we wanted to show them all of the beautiful areas of Central Oregon. The head of the Metolius is in Camp Sherman and it’s where the icy cold water comes straight out of the earth.
It was a hot day in July and even sticking your feet in for a few seconds was like having needles pierce your skin. The water was crystal clear and it quickly flowed into an amazing river that was a popular tourist site.
Grandma and I were sitting on a bench while the men and boys took off to feed the fish from the little feeding dock. Not long after they left, my oldest came screaming with his arms straight out from his body and his eyes so wide I thought they would pop out of his head.
He was screaming over and over that his brother fell in the river. We ran over to the dock and saw my husband in the water retrieving our youngest. We hauled him up to the dock and got the water out of his lungs as his brother stood and watched. It was one of the most frightening moments of my life.
And for my oldest son as well.
It took two weeks of answering all of his “what if’s” for him to finally be okay with it. “What if Dad hadn’t been there to get him out of the water, Mom?” I assured him because of his quick action of coming to get me; I would have been able to save his brother. I could see him digesting that and letting it set in until he was satisfied that would have worked.
Once all of his ‘what if’ questions were answered, he stopped talking about it. But I knew it was still swirling around inside of his head.
Another event happened some years later. I think he must have been about 11 at the time. For Father’s Day, we’d made plans to kayak the Rouge River. We were all very excited about this adventure and rented two kayaks for the day. My oldest and I in one, and his younger brother and their father in the other.
It was a beautiful warm day, and we were all enjoying ourselves. My husband and youngest pulled ahead and we lost sight of them around a bend. For some reason we decided to pull off to shore so I steered the boat towards the trees overhanging the water’s edge.
My son hopped out and as I was trying to pull the kayak closer the eddy started pulling me back out. I tried to stop the boat and my oar got caught in a tree branch. As soon as that happened the kayak began filling up with water. My son started yelling at me to GET OUT OF THE BOAT!
I kept trying to save the kayak and I looked at him on shore with his hands on his hips yelling at me once more, “Mother, get out of the water, NOW!” It struck me as funny and I started to laugh. He was 11 and in charge in that moment. I think that was the first time he called me “Mother”, which stuck for years.
I knew it that moment that he would always be concerned about our safety. By the time he was in college he wrote a business proposal outlining a fire retardant system for automobiles. He felt every car out there should be equipped with this to save lives.
One year for Christmas him and his brother gave me a “gift we hope you will never need”. It was a complete survival kit for my car. I could have been stuck out in the wilderness for three months and been able to survive with that gift.
Later on he worked for a company that tested vehicles and other equipment for safety. When I started riding motorcycles he bought me the best helmet on the market. To this day, he is fiercely protective of and concerned with all of our safety. We have ham radios, bug out bags, and first aid kits like no other.
He is an amazing young man, and I am extremely proud of him. I know he will always be the one to see that his people are safe in any situation. I have to wonder if he would be the same if those events from his childhood hadn’t happened.
My guess is he would.