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It All Began With a Table Saw

Nearly 41 years ago our family began with a bargain.

We'd been married for two years when I decided I wanted to have a baby. As is perfectly normal, my 22 year old husband was not quite as enthusiastic. The usual back and forth about how can we afford it, along with things like there are still things I want. Okay, like what, I asked?

As a freshly minted Master Carpenter, naturally he wanted a table saw, and can you blame him? He bought one from Sears on East Colonial, building a rolling cart for it, allowing him to move it into our carport on Hargill Street. I have no recollection of how we paid for it, whether in cash, or in payments, as credit cards were only beginning to surface for regular folks like us.  What I do know is we made payments for our next big purchase....a baby!

One thing I've always disliked is waiting. I'm not a keen traveler largely because I hate waiting in lines. Well, when I did not become pregnant the first month we tried, I cried. Second month was the charm though.

Because we had no maternity insurance, we made payments to both the obstetrician, and the hospital during the ensuing nine months. Hard to imagine now isn't it? That said, in those days health insurance worked more along the lines as homeowners, or auto insurance, paying for major illnesses, not a pregnancy that we'd chosen to undertake! In any case, we began our life of money discipline back then, serving us well these many years.

Then along came Matty...
Because I'd done a lot of babysitting, not to mention working with babies in the hospital, I thought I knew what I was in for. NOT! It is a good thing that he was as cute as a button, or I would have gone mad. Beginning life as a very quiet baby, before long he made his presence known. As a 23 year old mother, I knew nothing. His cries could be heard in the backyard pool of our brother and sister-in-law who lived behind us! Pregnant at the time, she was petrified about what was in her future. (her baby was both a girl, and quiet).

So I became a Mom to a boy. Having been raised in a house full of girls, it was all brand new. We did the best we could. My Mom lived in Melbourne, visiting occasionally to see her first grandson. My Dad, still living then was mighty smitten too.
See, I told you he was a cutie! Although I made my share of mistakes, I, too, loved him with everything I could.
Going through the photo boxes looking for these, you can tell what era they are from by the size of the prints. Today everyone is so enamored of the square format of Instagram, but it ain't anything new, just a re-run of an older style! Furthermore, photographs were a little more special when our boys were growing up, rarely planned, and mostly reserved for holidays.

And then he was one....
No themed birthday party for this one year old! That would be Bruce on the left, and our niece Elizabeth on the right, sitting at our white formica dining table with the yellow chairs. :)

A move to California, a move back to Florida and then there were the twins. How I would have ever managed with my soon-to-be three year old, I have no idea. Working two jobs to keep us afloat, Bruce was rarely home. I, too, wished I was rarely home. Some woman love being pregnan,t but I'm not one of them, and that pregnancy was particularly difficult. A precursor of what was to become I suppose. Oh my goodness, was I miserable that first year of the twins life, as we all were I suspect. There were good times as well, don't get me wrong, but for the most part it was very difficult.
And then along came Jonathan, nearly four years later. I can only imagine someone seeing the above photo of Jonathan lying on the kitchen floor with Matt and dying!

Having your first child is like no other experience in the world, changing you in ways you never dreamed of. Reading all the books and articles about having a baby is all well and good, but actually having a baby, 24/7 is a whole 'nother ball game. It is a grand experiment in parenting really. That is not to say that you love your first child more, just differently, because you finally learn how to be totally unselfish for the first time in your life. I'm making generalizations of course, but I suspect there are mothers out there who feel the same.

The years flew by, and by the time I was the age Matt is today, he had gone off to college at FSU. Leaving him for the first time, I was sobbing whereas he was cross with me for wanting to do things for him. I should have known better because by the time he was just a little one, he could do most anything he set his mind to. Nearly two years later, he was our first college graduate!
Followed by his first Masters degree less than two more years later. My sister Lisa and her daughter Amanda, who has gone on to be amazingly competent herself, attended the first graduation. Below that is his paternal grandparents who made the trip to Tallahassee to see their first grandchild graduate with high honors.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how that sweet little baby would go on to do so many things- earning another bachelor and masters degree, traveling the world for both business and pleasure, not to mention live on another continent for the past ten years!! And so much more that cannot be summed up in a few paragraphs.

And now he has another family,
and we have a darling son-in-law!
All of that is wonderful, but perhaps the most wonderful part of it all is that he loves his parents, and for that we are sincerely grateful and happy.

I don't know what it is like to be a first child, nor do I know what it is like to be raised by very young parents, although Matt does. I dare say this experiment of ours that began with a bargain turned out pretty well.

Happy birthday to our son--may you live more than another 40 years!!!

with a full heart,

Gail

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