Walking the halls of the hospital, I was beyond miserable. With only a 24-hour window for medical care, a room wouldn’t be available until the very last minute.
Hard to believe it’s been 40 years since I gave birth to my oldest daughter. Without insurance I had her at a local hospital that accepted patients who would be treated by intern students. The only stipulation was admittance to the hospital could be for only 24 hours. Wanting the baby to have as much time as possible under the care of the nurses, I opted to wait it out until we were certain it was close to time.
Back in the day there weren’t any medications to relieve the pain of labor, so walking the halls was the only relief. After eating my way through the pregnancy, I had gained more than 70 pounds, so there was no doubt the baby would be a healthy weight. Amanda was born just before midnight and weighed 8 pounds, 13 ounces. I brought her home when she was just 18 hours old.
As a 20-year-old, the only thing I knew for certain was I loved her unconditionally as soon as she came into this world. Other than that I had no clue what to do with an infant. Luckily my mom was no further than a phone call away.
So many times I didn’t make the right decisions and often wondered what I could possibly teach her as I was still struggling to become a grownup myself, much less a parent. Fortunately she was, and still is, calm, cool and collected so she made being a young parent easy. Most of the time she was dressed in passed-down clothes from her cousins and she had so many cowlicks her hair stood straight up most of the time, but she was healthy and happy and together we learned the ways of the world.
She has accomplished more in her 40 years than I have in my nearly 60. Graduating second in her class in high school (no thanks to me, I barely made it) she spent eight years in college to become a veterinarian (again, no thanks to me as I couldn’t offer any help with tuition), married for 17 years (again, this isn’t my strong suit). I often wonder what, if anything, I could have taught her to become the woman she is today.
I’m trying to help teach her son, my grandson, important life lessons to the best of my ability. During a recent overnight stay with the two 7-year-old grandsons, I taught them how to play poker.
It’s simple – play the hand you’re dealt and you could be a winner every time.
This is no bluff – happy birthday, Amanda – I’m a proud mom!
Sandy Turner lives in Independence, Missouri. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org