Birthdays and Baby Books

Fifteen years ago, on a hot day that would end in storms, my first son was born. Just two days earlier, my husband and I had made the anxious drive to Welborn Baptist Hospital, sure I was ready to deliver. We were sent home after a few hours, without a baby. We watched movies; I remember watching “As Good as It Gets” — both of us love Jack Nicholson. Finally, late on June 11, we again made the trip to the hospital. At 6:25 a.m. on June 12, Maxwell William Tucker was born after a fairly difficult childbirth. Todd and I had lost patience in the childbirth class. We couldn’t keep our “hees” and our “hoos” straight, laughed, and were scolded by the nurse; we didn’t return for the second class. I don’t know if not having practiced Lamaze-style breathing made it harder for me or not.

As we welcomed friends and family to meet Max, I recorded these visits in my neatest handwriting in his baby book, a gift from my sister. Growing up, I loved looking at my baby book. My mother — a schoolteacher, readers may recall — chronicled my earliest days and milestones in a journal called “Here I Am.” On my 40th birthday, she gave me the book, with a note that it was mine to keep and that she hoped I cherished it as much as she did. I did. When my mother died, I found another baby book — a tiny photo album and journal made for my grandmother.

The pages of Max’s book now are completed with memories and milestones of his first five years, a diligence that continued with his brother’s baby book. Though there’s no page for a 15th birthday, I might make a notation: Maxwell enrolled in driver’s education today!

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