Monthly Archives: March 2015

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Starke Jett IV & Margaret Ann Boschen Jett my parents

My parents, Starke Jett IV & Margaret Ann Boschen Jett. This photo pretty well sums them up, party and play and fight in between.

The title of this post could have been my parents’ theme. Life in our family was a yo-yo affair. Dad & Mom were at the top of their game when playing, few could out do them. And they always took us along. But this every day life befuddled them. They never could get the hang of it.

A friend recently posted a piece about marriage, divorce, staying together for the sake of the kids. Her thoughts are always well put, hit the target and make you think. She comments that staying together for the sake of the kids is a bad plan and one she and her husband will never follow.

I used to agree (and still do if there is physical or drug abuse). All through the years in my quirky dysfunctional family I dream of better. I yearn for my parents to divorce. Still we toddle on year after year. I figure that Mom knows her options and opts to finesse her cards in a way to keep things on a fairly even keel.

Then Mom tosses out a curve ball. She announces that she is throwing in the towel when my brother, the youngest, is college age. My mouth flies open. Why now? Why put us all through so much grief (Dad was classic bi-polar but few knew or used the phrase then) to now quit. Dad was philandering, but he had always been on that tack, nothing new to report there.

And so when she makes her grand announcement, I am pissed and confused for a long time. And then bingo one day it hits me. Sure we were in crappy places as a family much of the time. But we were also in some great places. Christmas and Easter were always magical times at my grandmother’s (Dad’s mother) antebellum home in Richmond. Were we split up as a family that would have never happened.

Summers spent on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay in the tiny cinder block cottage my grandfather (Dad again) built. No air conditioning, no fans even. Barely a bathroom. Most of the time we peed in the woods, and took dumps at the local filling station when my uncle would drive us up there because the toilet or septic was on the blitz. A shower that never worked but for thirteen people a hot shower inside was a lost cause anyway. Slashing a new path to the broken glass and rotting trees ridden beach through the undergrowth that grew rampart around the tall pines were standards. But it was ours. My family, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and we all loved it. Divorced, it never would have happened.

I can go on. Dad and I shopping for clothes for Mom. My parents together buying my first school dance dress. Spur of the moment vacations. Sundays at the zoo. The list is endless. As is my list of not great, not great at all, to down right miserable, horrible memories. But I count those as learning experiences of what not to do. I call it reverse learning.

Sure I don’t know what perhaps better things would have been in my future as a child of divorced parents. More peace probably. But I wouldn’t trade one day of my life with two child like adults constantly spatting and picking on each other for anything else. Thanks Mom for keeping the family together for as long as you did whether it was for the sake of us kids or otherwise, it is appreciated.

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Why Is EASY so Hard?

easy goingIt’s not really.

1. Unschooling is the home school term. Provide the materials and motivation for the basics and let the rest fall in line. As a young teen, Stephen read an article in 3-2-1-Contact on Basic programing, kept following that thread until now he is a lead developer for PhishMe. I hadn’t a clue until recently. Unknown to me until all was said and done, Andrew decided that Lewis (middle school) needed to take college level Calculus in summer school  at College of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City where he was directing the theater department and also taking classes before heading off to UNC-CH. And so he made it happen.

2. Bare butt training is the potty transition technique. Warm weather, or even a warm house, and a naked toddler body go together. Skip the diaper, provide a convenient porta-potty, clean up the mess (you do that anyway) and they’ll soon figure out the better way on their own.

3. Running on your own clock is the jogging lead. I used to run for set miles or set miles within a set time and drove myself crazy if I didn’t measure up. Now I run for a set time, never check the miles and really enjoy myself. I sprint, jog, walk occasionally but mostly to answer a text, or observe wildlife. I write. This blog, all the kids’ books I have in my mind. And I make up great stories about all the folks I pass.

4. Tossing a mixed salad and adding in some protein is the dinner throw down. After child number four was born I quit cooking. Not completely. But planned meals became a thing of the past. We ate healthy. I made a salad every night. The rest just fell in place. Pasta some night. Grilled cheese. Bean tacos.

Designed by soon to be dil's brother's girl friend's dad. Got that right? Thanks Staples!

Designed by soon to be dil’s brother’s girl friend’s dad. Got that right? Thanks Staples!

5. Making your own choices is the Camp OBX easy. When the grands come here for summer camp we provide a safe environment, a comfortable bed, lots of food options and transportation where ever they may want to go. The balance is up to them. They call all the shots. When they eat, what they eat, when they sleep, whether they get dressed. The ball is in their court.

6. Vacuuming every month or so is the new Tina Tidy’s advise. That is what my avatar name used to be. I was a zealous cleaner. Then when the last child rose from the floor (mano a mano with dust bunnies daily is a bit much) and walked in earnest I locked the vacuum in the closet. I let it out occasionally.

If you thrive on structure that’s your easy. If it drives you to tears, press the button. It’s that easy.

 

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Inner Beauty Won’t Get You Free Drinks

beauty 2

SandraBallART on Etsy

The best I do is make a weak effort. And follow the mantra of my grandmother. She’d powder her nose, put a dab of lavender water behind each ear, eye herself in the mirror and declare, “That’ll have to do. I’ll just rely on my charm to get me through.” Nothing wrong with that.

And then I meet Sandy. Diametrically opposed best describes my college roommate and me. She is a real southern beauty. She spends time on perfecting perfection. It works. All her prep time results in a look that oozes effortlessness. She has it down to a science. That beauty thing. But the best part, she doesn’t made a big deal or any deal about it all. She just knows that a good presentation is worth the work. And people notice.

rpi weekend

RPI Reunion Weekend 2015

Recently we get the annual mailing for our college reunion. I look closely at the pictures. It looks like Sandy right there front and center. Later when I talk to her she asks if I’ve seen the mailing. “Is that you?” I ask. She acknowledges so and we both laugh over the hair. She has nothing to do with the mailing or the photo choices but there she is because the effort she made that day is on solid ground. It still sells.

I learn a lot from her. Even now years later and all of those in between, if I feel too lazy to make an effort, I say to myself, “Nash would do better.” (We become known as Nash & Jett because two Sandy’s with the same middle name even if spelled differently just doesn’t cut it). And I’ll take a few more minutes to primp and enhance that outer beauty.

Inner beauty depends on the best you can give the outer to help it shine. Just that simple. Thanks Nash!

 

 

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Jog Me to the Moon

Bitch SLAP Broads

The initial OBX group. Me, Debbie, Ron, Vicki, Terry (-Rachel)

My running has gone through many iterations. Marathon madness (7 full 4 half in one year). The attraction of the bling. And interesting places to see in an interesting way.

Then a few years ago the virtual bug gets me. I join Moon Joggers and invite power walker friend Debbie to come along. We decide to form a group. My motivation is to beat the Kenyan group. The only way we mere mortals could even beat Kenyan runners.

Bitch Slap Broads is born. Named after my SLAP art boards line. Guys welcome. Joining Moon Joggers is free. Or for a small fee you get some swag. Like these shirts. 2014 is the year for The Voyage to Venus. 2015 is a longer jog, to Meet Me on Mars. All former miles count. Each year another planet is the goal.

bitch slap broads

photo credit Donny Ball

leader board

Only four places below the Kenyans!

Logging miles is easy. Everything counts. Running, walking, biking, swimming, strolling, work out on the elliptical. By yourself or with a friend, or group. Basically if you’re moving, add up your miles and log them. By the day, week, month. You can even backtrack a few years to help the Moon Joggers overall total. If you’re short on time list your miles in a lump. Up to 177 miles per day is the max.

Recently Debbie posted in our FB message board to check out the Moon Joggers store page. Half way down. Hey I recognize that group. We’re international!

Nope we haven’t beaten the Kenyans yet. Moon Joggers is working out team statistics parameters. But in checking out the leader board page I see that because I have logged miles as far back as Moon Joggers allows I’m on the same page as the Kenyans.

Come on along. Find Bitch SLAP Broads on the log your miles page and meet us out there.

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How TOUGH Are You? Really

“Ouch! OUCH! Get it out! No, no. Don’t touch it!!” My hand is pushed away by young grandson, inaugural sand spur victim.

“Here let me show you how I bite them out.” I have my own sand spurs to eject. I show him my time perfected technique. He’s doubtful. I explain how he’s a real beach kid now. That’s what an encounter with sand spurs gets you. He straightens up a little. He lets me remove the trespassers. He smiles. A real beach kid!

run hill

A view of the Wright Brothers Memorial Monument from Run Hill

We’re exploring Run Hill State Park. While running my up and overs, I notice the park from the top of the monument and wonder why I never take the grands. It’s behind the schools. Very convenient. Close to home. Nobody ever seems to be there. It is an official park with signage and a split rail fence around the massive perimeter. But that’s it. No visitors’ center. No restrooms. Just lots and lots of sand and vegetation.

And now we know why. Land mines of sand spurs lurking for the unsuspecting adventurer all over the park.

It’s a beautiful place. You can see the monument well defined against the sky. If you wander far enough you can see the sound in one direction and the ocean in the other. There are tree copses. Acres of sand. And sand spurs. Not enough to halt your progress, except in a few places. But enough to cause you to be wary. Such a pretty park. So underused. Recently I have a thought about how it can come into the limelight and maybe get some funding to create a few sand spur free trails throughout.

“You know those Spartan events where the participants take on all sorts of crazy challenges?” Hilarey’s dad Robert throws out at recent family dinner, “I’ve got a really tough one for them. How about a pit full of sand spurs?” We all laugh and agree that would be the supreme challenge. Not for the feint of heart. I love it, but I’m having trouble imagining even such a sturdy soul as a Spartan taking on a pit full of sand spurs. And then on the spur of the moment it comes to me.

Sand spur plants grow low to the ground

Sand spur plant grows low to the ground

When Outer Banks Sporting Events adds a Spartan event to their calendar they can have the last challenge be a point to point barefoot sprint through a section of Run Hill. Unique to the Outer Banks. Word would spread. Sports aficionados world wide would crown it THE Challenge to beat. Call it the Sand Spurt.

Hell, they can have the whole event at Run Hill. Lots of varied terrain to work with. And in the backyard of three schools. After all OBSE supports The Education Foundation. Spurs one on to think of it!

 

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I Was a Fifth Grade GYPSY

My classroom was on the top floor in the back corner overlooking the playground

My classroom was on the top floor overlooking the playground

Almost. I really, really, r-e-a-l-l-y wanted to be a gypsy. They have a small camp near my school, Main Street Elementary, in Whitehall, Ohio. The kids keep to themselves in school. I give them wide berth, they are fascinating but odd. It is when the girls  come to school with mecuricome stained threads looped through their freshly pierced ears that they get my full attention. I want pierced ears too. With red colored loops keeping the holes open until they heal enough for the real deal. But it never happens. Mom is aghast that I even aspire to such low depths.

baker

Sandy Baker (Finn). Note stockings top. Pantyhose yet in the future.

 

wallpaper

Better shot of the wallpaper. It was a love/hate relationship.

And then in college I decide it’s time for action. But I don’t know any gypsies. And nobody but nobody has pierced ears, except gypsies. “I know someone who will pierce your ears,” good friend day student Sandy Baker (Finn) tells me.  She says to buy some gold post earrings and meet her at Thalhimers where she works part time in Hosiery. Imagine. A entire department for stockings. You have to buy your choices by size, color, type of fabric. No such thing as stretch. Or cheap. Much of my money goes into keeping a supply of matching hose with no runs. Sandy recently told me that she worked in Lingerie but Hosiery fits my story line better, so I’m leaving it. After all bras are still bras although girdles, a must in our world, have thankfully turned to Spanx.

I do as Sandy says. She introduces me to her friend who tells me to follow her into the empty ladies room. She is on her fifteen minute break. Her directives are simple. She doesn’t have much time. “Sit.” There is a small vanity table, mirror and chair. “Hold this ice cube on your ear lob. Be still.” And then. Oh my god. The unexpected pain.

“Don’t move. Or the holes will be uneven. Give me your earrings.” She stalls. “These have screw backs.” That I didn’t know anything about buying pierced earrings became very clear.

“Here use mine. Sandy will trade off after your ears have healed.” I pay her the dollar an ear she charges. She has ten minutes of her break left.

Friends are impressed. They want their ears pierced, too. I have started a trend and a little business. One dollar a lobe. They line up. All through college I rake in some easy beer money.

Finally a gypsy! At least that’s what mom calls me when I tell her what I’ve done. But hey, I live in a room with hand painted French wallpaper. Hand painted. French. Look at it. Huge red, white & blue decorative plumes. On all four walls. Picture a night of bingeing surrounded by this as you swirl to sleep.

The gypsy life has come to me.

 

 

 

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How I FLUNKED Student Teaching

“You got an F,” my advisor, Mrs Hyland, tells me as I sit in her office one fine, until that point, spring day. Oh shit. I stare at her speechless. I don’t even want to be in Art Education and here I am flunking my main class. I want to be a Fashion Design major. But when I can’t find the department head in her domain at the apex of a set of tight winding stairs on the top floor of the library, I set out for the Art Education Department.

carriage house

Richmond Professional Insitute Art Education Department

Mrs Hyland is easier to locate. She holds court above a carriage house in the alley behind the library. “You don’t want to go into Fashion Design,” she tells me. “All they do is cheat and copy each other’s designs.” Mrs H advises me that Art Education (which is what mom wants me to pursue anyway, always a job she reasons) covers a broader range of art. She tells me to take a few fashion illustration courses as electives instead. Her reasons sell me.

My last semester senior year student teaching assignment is at Westhampton Junior High School. An easy car trip from school. But I don’t have a car. Luckily friend Gordon, who is dating dorm mate Frances and has his own apartment near our school, drives to his classes at the University of Richmond TC Williams School of Law daily. He offers to take me and then I catch the no transfer needed city bus back to school. Some of the student teaching assignments will have taken me far afield causing me to spend a great portion of my day getting there and back. I feel really lucky.

westhampton

Front door of Westhampton Junior High School

I am at home at Westhampton. I started my school career in these very halls. I love the two buildings with huge class rooms and high ceilings. They are joined by a broad window lined hallway. The art room is in the English basement of the smaller building. My meeting with Mr Phil, as I will call my nemesis, is stiff. He advises me to sit beside his desk and observe. He encourages no conversation. This goes on for a week or two. I am to note his style of teaching and means of handling the classes. It is very formal for every grade, kindergarten through eighth. No talking. Everyone draws or paints the same thing. At the end of class all tools such as scissors and pencils must be put away in a very precise manner. During clean up when there is painting, all brushes must be very thoroughly washed and lined up by side by side.

I finally get so bored watching the same routine that I start sketching in my note pad to pass the time. The students are intrigued and look over my shoulder every chance they get. Exchanging smiles is the closest to talking we dare try. Finally the day comes when Mr Phil says that I am to take over and he leaves the room. He never comes back. Later I hear that he sat in the boiler room down the hall taking notes.

The front lawn of Westhampton Junior Primary School

The front lawn of Westhampton Junior High School

I am elated. And terrified. I know nothing about teaching art. But I do know a lot about kids. And art. I gather my wits quickly and we begin. Slowly at first. Simple free hand drawings. Then fill the paper paintings. Who cares if some gets on the desks, they clean up well. The weeks add up. We create papier-mâché masks using balloons for a base. It’s a glorious mess. The finished masks are stunning. I take everyone outside on sunny days for class on the massive front lawn with its huge shade trees. The upper grades make detailed dioramas. The little people write and illustrate simple stories.

We are in love. My students and I. One of my older students talks about me so much that her parents invite me over for dinner. They tell me how she goes on and on about how wonderful I am. The end of my tenure arrives. When the teen boys ask what they can get me as a gift I say a beer. I am teasing. I really don’t want them to get me anything. They meet me at the bus stop on that last day brown bag in hand. I am contributing to juvenile delinquency. We hug goodbye.

Mrs Hyland sighs as I unsuccessfully try to avoid her stern look. “It was a bad pairing. I thought you would be good for him.” I start to rise from my chair of doom, another semester of student teaching hard on my brain. What will my parents say?

And then these words float across the abyss, “I changed your grade to a C. I know you are better than that.”

 

 

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We Got Those Sweet, Sweet Sugar Blues

sugar blues

The actual book that changed the course of our family. I love William Dufty’s dedication. To Billie Holiday whose death changed my life and Gloria Swanson whose life changed my death.

In 1977 Donny picks up a book in the grocery store. The title intrigues me. I start reading. My eyes get bigger and bigger. We are being sold a bill of goods. Sugar. More sugar. Everywhere you look sugar has been blatantly added to foods. Not just foods you would expect but foods like crackers, bread, flavorings, salad dressing, ketchup, peanut butter for crying out loud. I balk. “That’s enough!”

I go through our kitchen cabinets throwing everything out that has any sugar in it. My family is not going to be hoodwinked. And worse, trance induced by a legal drug. Up to that point we ate reasonable well but with no real thought to content beyond a balanced diet. We ate Fruit Loops, drank Tang, snacked on M&M’s along with our farm veggies, fruits and shared meat slaughters.

But throwing out anything with sugar in it is only my start. I am on a mission. I get books that advise us how red meat is nothing but a rotting mess in a human digestive tract. Fine for dogs, cats, most four legged animals with short simple intestines but not healthy for people. Out goes red meat. I read on. White meat is better but not by much. Out goes poultry. Seafood is acceptable but living so far from the source we rarely buy any. When Donny brought home Sugar Blues, Donald’s third birthday was approaching. No exceptions. I make a carrot cake sweetened with honey. Holidays see dried fruits and maple sugar as their food treats. With a, gotcha Mom, grin Emily & Donald now confess that friends at school would sneak them ice cream. We have honey flavored ice cream at home but it is a very special treat.

I am not done yet, not by a long shot. In come more books. Books on healthy life style eating. Brewer’s yeast, but only with balanced B vitamins, is the gold standard, so of course my family has to partake. The health benefits cannot be denied but the taste can. We all loath it but I soldier on. Down a spoonful and chase it with juice, mix it in a shake, nothing disguises the flavor. The family all time favorite method to despise is bite size yeast balls I make with peppermint oil. I do not recall when I stop this fanatical bend but I can tell you to this day no one can even mention the stuff without slightly retching.

This march to health lasts for years until we move. Emily & Donald still chide me about how soft I was on Stephen & Andrew. They got to bake with brown sugar and chocolate chips. I had gone soft. But never would I buy a sugary snack. Okay maybe Virgil’s (our builder) amazing donuts from his bakery Rollin’n Dough. Blame that on the duplex with a stove that made a campfire look first class.

But once we get into our house, if they want it, they have to bake it. And Lewis. Well, he was a lost cause. By his time organic white sugar has seeped into our lives. And it still has a place at the table. But even now more baking goes on than store purchasing. And we do prefer buying items with recognizable ingredients.

We did have some awesome food sources doing my vigilante years. Farm fresh eggs from a local farmer who also supplied us with fresh milk from his handful of cows. He was not in the market. Only family and friends of family got to stop by his farm, drop off empty bottles in the barn with a pig sty close by and pick up a new supply, all on the honor system. We got raw honey by the gallons from a bee supplier. As wonderful as these were none went into the babies mouths until they were past the recommended twelve months old mark.

When Emily & Donald get to talking about the yeast ball days, I remind them how healthy they were and are. Trips to the doctor just didn’t happen. Sure they picked up this and that coming down the pike but only mild cases.

The down side? There is none. The up side, besides great health? Awesome war stories.

family

Here we are during those if you want it bake it years

 

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Run for the Hill

Thanks Wilbur (he came up with the idea of once and for all solving the mystery of flight because his father got really, really tired of him doing nothing and told him, no demanded, that he do something  with his life) and Orville (he was reluctant at first then slowly came around) for staying the course. Thanks to them and their perseverance I have the most amazing playground.

It has everything a runner could want. First off it’s the only hill around, all ninety impressive feet of it. Then there are the paved walkways. The mowed fields. The artesian water fountain. The clean bathrooms. The tethered only dogs. The 20MPH speed limit. The friendly park service. And always, always the entertainment.

The Biofuel plane was making a historic flight from the Boston area to our little landing strip.

The paraglider I happened upon is a third party political leader from Quebec. He was making his inaugural flight. He had never done a glide. He wanted to do it first where the Wright brothers made history and as close to December 17 as he could get. So he made the trip to the OBX. It was a brisk wind day. It took him forever to launch. He had a GoPro on the glider but was happy to get a copy of my video (#37 on my YouTube channel).

Belk’s brings the suits in to town about once a month for meetings with the local store veeps. This day the pilots invited us to tour the plane.

The military is always present. I saw an E2C Hawkeye fly over low yesterday. They almost always circle the monument, sometimes they land at the airstrip adjacent to the monument (this is where I park because it’s easy to get to and never closes.) Today a Coast Guard chopper circled the monument twice. I’m sure it was because I was videoing them.

The wildlife is abundant. Deer graze on the hill, beside the runway. Mr Fox is a sly one but I’ve seen him. Today I saw a heron fly by with dinner in his beak, must have been a mouse or a frog because the run off ditches are too shallow for fish. There are flocks of migrating Canadian Geese. Cedar Wax Wings by the dozens. Lizards dashing across my path.

Johnny Moore quote

Quote by Johnny Moore age 16 youngest witness to the first flight.

And the magic, generated by that 12 second flight of Orville’s that changed the world and the 59 second follow up by Wilbur (with two short spurts between) the same day that put the lid on any nay sayers, is ever pervasive. The landscape has changed since Johnny Moore went running down the beach shouting for all to hear. (The dunes came in the 30’s as a result of a WPA project, but in 1903 the beach was within eyesight.) But not the karma. It’s as strong as ever.

I love to run along the path that takes me from stone marker to stone marker of those four flights. I say to myself, “They’re flying.” I count seconds. “They’re still flying.” Twelve seconds is a long time when you’re doing something for the first time. And fifty-nine seconds! It must have seemed like an eternity. Imagine their glee.

“In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright conceived by genius achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith.”

I love our playground!

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How I Got to Be in the Mother Of FIVE Club Finale(ly)

dapper donny

This sexy dude plus living in a tiny duplex packed with boxes and kids & with no entertainment = baby number five

By the time we get to the last member of our party we are living on the Outer Banks in a jammed pack duplex that belongs to a friend (one side for us, one side for our stuff) while our house is being built.

“This one’s yours,” I tell Donny when we discover that we’re pregnant. If it were physically possible I would surely let him be the pregnant one. Despite the discomforts, I pretty much enjoy being pregnant but enough is enough. The best Donny can do is pamper me. And he does. He brings me Great Garden sandwiches from Stuffy’s in Richmond because nothing else will do. “It’ll be soggy,” he suggests. I don’t care. He acquiesces. He takes care of everything when he is home, letting me be a miserably sick pregnant woman without concern. He lets me make the momentous decision to have this baby in Richmond via our midwife Sally. The details about how we can actually make this work are unimportant.

The months tick off one by one. I see a local nurse practitioner in between visits to Sally in Richmond. As time approaches Patty tell me that I will have the baby where I want to have it. But if need be she has a birthing kit. She can and will help me until we can get to the over an hour away hospital if it comes to that.

lewis

Lewis Chapin Ball February 2, 1985

Visits to Sally became more frequent. The baby is due in February. By late January I am ready. He’s not ready yet, Sally tells me. I know better, but since we have no real game plan other than wait for the baby, I accept another week of waiting. The next week when we trek to Richmond, Donny checks us into the Hyatt. I have told him that I just really can’t have the baby in his rooms at the store. They are clean and comfy. Two rooms he has carved out for his living space. One is a tiny living type room with a fold out couch that the kids sleep on. The other a room with built in book shelves and a mattress on the floor that takes up most of the space. The arrangement is fine normally but I can not visualize birthing our child there.

Our rooms at the Hyatt are a nightmare, right by the elevators, we can hear folks coming and going all night long. We check out. I go for my appointment with Sally. “He’s ready,” she declares. “This is what we’ll do. I’ll get Dr. Fitzhugh to bring his knitting needle to work tomorrow and we’ll pop the water sac.”

It worked by gosh!

Our mother son talk worked by gosh!

We check back into the Hyatt. Donny explains to the clerk that we need rooms away from the elevators. Things are much better. The kids are in heaven. A pool. A buffet. Endless TV.

We all get settled in for the night. I cannot sleep. During one of my many trips to the bathroom, I have a heart to heart talk with the baby. I tell him that one way or the other he is coming into this world in a few hours. I tell him that it will hurt a lot for both of us. I also assure him that if we work together it will be over quickly. I tell him about the doctor’s knitting needle that will start the birthing process. I tell him that it’s his choice whether he or the doctor start the ball rolling. I go back to bed.

I wake up for yet another trip to the bathroom. It’s early morning by now. While there, my water breaks. I smile and pat the baby, “Well done.” We call Sally. It is over soon. Our party is complete. Later Sally tells me that Dr. Fitzhugh forgot to bring his knitting needle to the office anyway.

The next week when I go for my checkup with Sally, Dr. Fitzhugh comes into the waiting room and purposefully walks up to me awe on his face. “How did you do that?” he asks. I look at him, confused at first. And then it dawns. “I talked to the baby. I told him that it was his choice.”

Missed Part One? Part Two? Part Three? Part Four?

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