Wednesday, September 23, 2009

a birthday and some firsts

Judy and brand new baby Kris
December 2004

A few days ago, I told Kris that it was going to be his mom's birthday soon. I asked him if he knew how old she was going to be. His first guess was 40. I laughed and told him that was too much. His next guess was 19. I laughed again. He sounded a little frustrated with me when he finally said, "But I don't know how old she is today!" I just wonder if that really would have made a difference in his answer.

In case you're wondering, she's 29 today.

Before she was born, my mom and dad asked us for suggestions of what to name her. (That's how I remember it. It's possible that they didn't ask at all. It's possible that my two sisters and I just wanted to put our two cents in. I like to think they asked us though.) My suggestion was Kelly Leigh. And the middle name had to be spelled Leigh, not Lee.

I remember being picked up from school by Larry LaPray on the day she was born. He was the husband of one of my mom's good friends, Judy. He took my sisters and me to his house to play with his kids. We ate dinner at his house. It was macaroni and cheese with little pieces of hot dogs mixed in. I'm pretty sure we ate that because his wife, Judy (a nurse), was at the hospital helping to deliver my baby sister. Isn't that the meal dads know how to cook?

My mom and dad didn't end up choosing Kelly Leigh for the name of their fourth daughter. They named her Judy Lee. While she was still in the hospital, my dad sat us kids down and told us that since Judy was born early (6 weeks...I think), she hadn't grown all the way yet. I remember being totally worried that she didn't have all her fingers and toes, or worse, that she didn't have a face yet. I was 7. I didn't quite understand obviously. I was so relieved to find out that she just hadn't grown eyebrows and eyelashes yet.

My dad walked me to school the day after Judy was born, just like he always did. He walked beside me, his hand on the seat of his bike. I was always amazed that he could control where it went just by holding onto the seat. I was excited to go to school that day to tell my teacher and classmates that I had a new baby sister.

After we crossed College Street and headed onto Cary Drive, I started skipping. I couldn't contain the excitement I was feeling. My dad told me to be careful because my shoe had come untied. He probably even told me to stop skipping and tie it. Shortly after that warning, I biffed it. Big time. I tripped on the shoelace. My outer right thigh took the brunt of it. I'm talking road rash extraordinaire. And sadly, that was back in 1980 when terry cloth short shorts were fashionably acceptable (at least on a 7 year old), as long as your tube socks were pulled up all the way to your knees. Because of those short shorts, my thigh was totally exposed and it was bad.

I limped and cried the rest of the way to school. I'm sure some of the crying was because it hurt. The rest of it was because I would now have to deliver my good news in front of the class with a big huge case of road rash on my leg. There was no way to hide it. Even worse, upon entering the school, my dad took me to see the nurse. She put a ginormous piece of white gauze over my wound. I remember feeling so embarrassed.

I still got up and delivered my news, with a tear-stained face and a massive square of gauze stuck to my leg. I wasn't excited. I was sad. I wonder how I would have told Miss Lipscomb and all my little friends if I hadn't had that accident. I probably would have skipped right on into the room and blurted it out. If I could have a do-over, I'd choose that day. I'd listen to my dad and tie my shoe. Father knows best.
Happy birthday, Judy. I knew you'd like the Snuggie.

Now for the firsts.

I saw Cate take her first unassisted step today. It was truly only one step but it counts! She stood up all by herself and took one step towards the swing that was just out of her reach. I won't be calling her a toddler just yet. Soon though. Very soon.

And today was the first time she has given me a kiss with her mouth closed! Usually it's the open-mouthed slobbery kind. Not today. She didn't actually pucker up, but her lips were closed and she was definitely giving me a kiss. It was terribly cute and I almost cried.


Aloha_Misty said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUDY! You are looking good! I love that picture of you and kris when he was a baby such good memories and that picture with the buck teeth. Wow! That is AWESOME.

Judy said...

I was recently thinking about how dad could control his bike with just the seat. I was telling my kids about it a few weeks ago. That was amazing.