Jul 23

What do I have to complain about?

You all know that I squeaked out another birthday about 11 days ago.  The culmination of my oldest brother Dan’s birthday and mine is almost always leads to a time-honored tradition, The Drunken Brother Open.  Dan and I golfed 54 holes with my good friend Eric Gowans on a hot, rainy, sticky day last week.  It was a great day and, yes, I’m still sore.

In my last post I told you about my son, Grant.  He has a sister, now there is a story.  On September 13, 1997 Connie was 10 days overdue and the doctors had decided to induce her labor.  When they did that nothing seemed to happen, so they took pictures of the baby inside the womb and determined that she was breach (backwards).  During the pregnancy Connie had always said, “I think it’s a boy, but I wish it were a girl”.  For that reason we had not picked out any girl’s names, until that morning while they prepared the operating room … she would have to have a C-section.  Connie took out the baby name book and we landed on a girl’s name that we both fell in love with more for the meaning and the way it sounded.  The name was Jessica – which means God exists.

When Jessica Ann Wagner was born she weighed 6 lbs 10 oz.  At the following Christmas Eve party at Grandma and Grandpa Wagner’s house that year, she weighed just about 10 lbs.  That was a little more than 3 lbs in over 3 months, not enough for a newborn baby.  The day after Christmas we got in to see Dr. Schaff, my sister Marlene’s pediatrician employer in Bowling Green, OH and it was quickly determined that Jessica had a heart murmur.  We would soon find out that the murmur was being caused by three heart defects.

One of the defects, commonly known as PDA (Pulmonary Ductus Arteriosis), could be fixed somewhat easily.  Another was much more life threatening and would take surgery that required the blood flow to her heart to be stopped for 18 minutes.  This defect is named Coarctation of the Aorta.  The third defect, which she still has today, is known as a Bicuspid Aortic Valve.  Because of these defects and her surgery that she had on January 29, 1998 her blood pressure may seem high.

She remains petite and will always be known as “My Angel”.  Shortly after she turned two, I was tucking her into bed when she look up at me and said, “Daddy, I love you”.  At that moment my heart swelled up and I almost started to cry.  Then she went on, “like a puppy dog” and crying turned to laughter.

Now she’s 14 interested in many other things like Harry Potter, hanging out with her friends (The Nerd Herd) and reading.  Outside of yearly checkups there are no lasting reminders.  Let’s keep it that way.

Jul 14

Best Birthday Ever?

Wednesday, July 11th, was my 45th birthday.  As I told Connie, I made it another year!  It was a great day and when I woke up the next morning I was thinking that was one of my best birthday’s ever.  Then I walked down the hall to see Grant’s empty bed.  He’s been gone this week at a camp with church in Daytona, Florida.  That’s when I realized it could have been the best.

Grant Wagner was born on March 6, 1995 and when he came into the world I started the camera.  It was our first child, so every thing seemed right.  It wasn’t until a few weeks later when we had a friend over who is a labor and delivery nurse that, when watching the film we noticed, he couldn’t breath for the first few minutes.  To this day we do not realize how close we were to losing him.  Since then he has become a Paleontologist/Archeologist, a Professional Baseball player and (most recently) an Architect wanna-be.  He makes us proud to be the parents of someone that can exude such intelligence and turn around to relate to his younger brother and sister.

When we put Grant into a big bed, he would always need to have a hallway light on.  After Connie and I thought he was asleep we would go the bottom of the stairs and turn the light off.  More often than not, to our surprise, Grant would still be awake.  He wouldn’t cry, whine or get out of bed.  He would just very loudly say one word…”ON!”  We’d turn the light back on and continue with what we were doing.

When Grant was 2, in the spring of 1997 I set out on a business trip to Indianapolis.  I was with a group of technicians that were installing ATM’s in to Target stores.  When we stopped at one store in particular, we were waiting for the manager to come up front.  As I looked around the toy aisle I noticed a big Winnie-the-Pooh.  I just had to have it.  It became a part of Grant for many years.  To this day, that same Pooh-bear still sits in our closet.

Now Grant has grown and spends most of his time with friends.  By this time next year, he will be gearing up for his first year of college.  We’ll be missing him, just like we are today.  He gets home tonight.  Time to slaughter the fatted calf.

As far as me and my birthday.  It was great.  I’m happy to still be here.  … best birthday or not.