As the due date approached, I began thinking and worrying about the birth. I prayed throughout the day—for a safe delivery, for a healthy baby.
I wondered what changes a new child would bring to our family. I prepared myself mentally to drop everything and drive to the hospital.
Only this time the pregnant woman was not my wife—it was my oldest daughter, Bethany.
And then came the phone call: “Hi, Dad … My water broke!” The baby was 12 days early, just as she had predicted.
And so on February 16, 2012, at 10:10 a.m., Carter David Johnson entered the world weighing 6 pounds, 5 ounces. I still haven’t figured out how I can be old enough to be a grandfather—after all, in my mind it’s been only a few years since I graduated from college.
I think some of the best memories of a marriage are made when your children are born. If you are like me, those experiences are burned into your brain. You pull those memories out once in awhile when you tell your children about when they were born. And then, as I discovered on February 16, they come flooding back years later when those children give birth themselves.
As Merry and I sat in the waiting room that day, I thought about January 3, 1983, when Bethany Ann Boehi was born. I was sick at the time with tonsillitis, and had a temperature of nearly 103, and I remember saying to Merry, “If we had to go to the hospital tonight, I don’t think I could do it.” Ninety minutes later we realized the time had arrived, and suddenly my head cleared and my body was bustling with energy. Bethany was born eight hours later, and then I collapsed in bed for two days.
I also remembered June 29, 1986, when Merry started feeling contractions.
The baby wasn’t due for two more weeks, and I wasn’t moving too quickly. Then in less than a half hour the contractions went from 30 minutes apart to less than five minutes apart. We rushed to the hospital, and 45 frenzied minutes later Merry gave birth to Melissa Joy. I’m just glad we didn’t get stuck in a traffic jam that night!
These were the thoughts in my mind on February 16 when one of those little girls, now 29 years old and married over four years, introduced me to my grandson. And I chuckled when I called my mom and told her that she was now a great-grandmother—and she proceeded to tell me about the day I was born.
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