Rod and I had rented a tiny, two-bedroom house within walking distance of my parents when we married. He worked an ungodly night shift in Stow (25 minutes away) and was gone from 3:15 in the afternoon to nearly 3 am in the morning. We were both so excited about finally having a child! Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was awakened many nights by the sounds of squeaks and rattles as my sweet husband and soon-to-be daddy inspected every item in the tiny room that we'd prepared as a nursery. I think he spent a lot of time in that room as he unwound from his long shift. I know he prayed over this child, for me, for him. The birth of one's first child is a crazy scary time, and we were just kids ourselves.
Now we were in the grip of winter, and my due date had come and gone. My dad was very careful to put a light under the hood of his car every night. With only an open carport as shelter, the warmth helped the engine start in the bitter cold temps. My sister-in-law Janie was eight months pregnant, and both of us night-shift widows spent many evenings at my parents' house. We must have played hundreds of games of Yahtzee and maybe ate that many tomato and cheese sandwiches. My parents didn't mind. They enjoyed the antics of their first grandchild, Heather, as she toddled around. But this night, January 17th, I had stayed home. A storm had dropped more snow that week. Rod had shovelled just enough to pull his car off the road, but the drifting in our long driveway made getting my car out impossible. I was anxious but content to stay home and watch a new mini-series on TV called Roots.
Memories can blur after 35 years, but I will always remember that nagging cramping that started . . . and continued . . . in my lower back. By the time Rod got home, I knew I was in labor. We both tried to rest for awhile, but there was little sleep. We made the call to Dr. Yoder who instructed us to head to the hospital. It was time! With all the bags packed and ready, Rod trudged out to the end of the driveway to warm up the car. G-r-i-n-d . . . c-l-i-c-k, c-l-i-c-k. After only sitting a few hours, the car's battery was sapped from the cold and refused to start. DOESN'T THAT CAR KNOW WE HAVE A BABY COMING?!!! Okay, time for the back-up plan.
Soon we were in the back seat of my parents' car as my dad nervously drove us to the hospital. I don't know who was more anxious. . Dad, Mom, Rod or me. The road was so hooved up from the freezing temps that winter that Rt. 619 was like a washboard! Dad drove so-o-o slow that it seemed like an eternity before we arrived at Barberton Citizens Hospital! I KNOW my poor dad was afraid I'd deliver in the car! If only we knew.
Lest I bore you with details, let me just say that after two IV's of labor-inducing Pitossin and twelve more L-O-N-G hours of back labor, our beautiful blue-eyed baby boy finally arrived. (Yes, Dr. Yoder was right . . . all three times. Oh, and I found out later that my doctor was at the hospital for many hours that day. While I was slowly laboring, he waited there - even playing cards with the nurses). Our first son, Brian James Yoak was born on January 18th at exactly 8:18 pm. Less than three years later, he would be joined by two more brothers, Stephen Wayne (Stevie) and Keith Michael (Keithie). And yes, some people still call them by those names. Precious babies who grew to be strong men . . our three sons whom we love so much.
It's hard to believe 35 years have passed so quickly since we held the first of our three sons. The pages of these boys' lives are etched in my heart and mind, but the roles are so different now. Now they are the young husbands and fathers, and we are the grandparents. They have brought us so much joy yet a few more gray hairs. I no longer can kiss away the sting of a boo-boo, and band-aids can't cover up the hurt of a broken heart. Stresses of life, wrong choices made, lessons learned the hard way are just as much a part of their lives as it was in ours. They have a lot of us in them, the good and the bad. But they are good men, these sons of ours.
Their dad and I rejoice because of eternal choices they have made. "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." 3 Jn. 1:4
We take comfort in the truth that those choices carry with them an effectual working in their lives. "The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands." Psalm 138:8
We desire that all of life's experiences will expose that the greatest thing they can do is love. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
And like their parents . . who are continually learning that our mistakes and hard times are not the END but part of the process. " . . to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified." Isaiah 61:3
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BRIAN! We love you!
Brian with the youngest of his three sons