Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Parent of a 30 year old

This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on August 15th, 2009

My oldest son turns 30 this week. How did this happen?

Sure, he’s married and has a beautiful son. That makes me a grandfather (did I mention my grandson’s name is William?) and that’s something I take great pride in.

But a 30 year-old son? That can’t possibly be. I demand a recount. It was only yesterday I turned 30. At least, that’s the way I remember it.

On August 17, 1979 I was a nervous 23 year-old husband expecting his first child. My wife was three weeks past due, and I was sure she was delaying just to make me miserable. She assured me carrying around an extra person through the very hot summer qualified her as the miserable one, but I remained convinced she was just punishing me.

That morning we had indications the long wait might actually be over. I rushed her to Sturdy Hospital, remembering to take our bag that had been packed for two months. It was 6:30 am when we got there, and I recall thinking the hospital parking lot was as empty as I had ever seen it. I rushed my wife upstairs to the maternity ward, sure she would be giving birth any second.

Nine hours later we were in our “Birthing Room” waiting for our son to make his appearance. I say son, but in fact we did not know the sex of the baby beforehand. But I was positive it was a boy. I refused to consider it might not be. We had the name picked out, and I would not consider a girl’s name. This was going to be my son, and his name was going to be Aaron Christopher.

I hung on the doctor’s every word whenever he made an appearance. Sensing my interest, he gave me a very important job. I was handed a pad, and told to write down the time of every contraction and how long it lasted. I did so for the next several hours, knowing the fate of my baby hung in the balance.

When the doctor returned to say the time was drawing near, I proudly presented my detailed record. He told me he had just given me that duty to keep me occupied, and threw the pad away. Thus began a lifetime distrust of the medical profession.

Finally, it was time. I scrubbed up and was allowed in the room for the delivery. As we were waiting impatiently, the public address system in the hospital blared a message that caught my attention:

“Will the owner of a grey Chevy Chevette, registration number ------ please move your car immediately, or it will be towed.”

I could not believe it – they were going to tow my car. I was told I had some time, so I ran to a hospital phone and called the front desk.

“They said they are going to tow my car, but I can’t move it now – I’m in labor!” I told an obviously confused clerk. While expressing sympathy with my plight, she explained that in my haste that morning I had failed to notice there was a sign posted in the parking lot saying it was being paved that day. So I had to get out of my scrubs and move the car, all the while muttering threats about what I would do should I miss the actual birth.

But I made it back, and at 7:04 pm my son Aaron made his debut at a whopping nine pounds, one ounce. I will forever remember the nurse walking towards me and saying “Here Dad – hold your son.” I did, and it was a feeling I have had only one other time since, when his brother was born two years later.

Now my first-born son is turning 30. He’s now taller than me, but I have forgiven him that. I am as proud of him today as I was the first time I held him, and I love him even more.

But someone is going to have to explain to me how this happened. Only old people have kids who turn 30.

I’m going to have to have a long talk with his mother.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist who wants to wish his son Aaron a very happy 30th birthday. The elder Gouveia can be reached at aninsidelook@aol.com.


Mad Woman said...

You sir, just left me with tears in my eyes. I just turned 30 this May and I can now imagine how my father feels. Well and my mum, but I was going with the dad theme.

What a wonderful tribute to your son! Thanks for the read. This is my first time here, but I'll be back :)

dan said...

I am catching up to Bill. My oldest will be 26 next week. We also have a newly emptied nest and that is taking some getting used to.

At least I still get a warm welcome from my dogs everyday.