Twenty-Two: Death and Life

Three things marked this year of my life. Right around the time of my twenty-second birthday in September, my father-in-law died of a head injury sustained in the auto accident I described earlier.

In November, John Kennedy was killed in Dallas. I remember where I was when I heard the news (as most of us who remember that day at all must surely do). I was working in the engineering office at Bellsouth when someone came in and told us. I was devastated, stunned. John Kennedy and his beautiful wife represented a new era. Camelot and all that. And then, he was gone.

I remember staying glued to the television for days. I cried as though I’d lost a close friend. What was it about a young man as President that so captured our imaginations?

A few months later, my husband and I had big news of our own. I remember when we told my parents I was pregnant. They had come to visit us, and we had just found out. I’d gotten highlights in my hair for the first time, and my mother kept talking about how pretty I looked. I remember what I was wearing when we went out to dinner with them that night–a slim, white wool skirt and a matching white sweater. I did feel pretty, a little magical, and in awe of what was happening to me.

We were nervous about telling them, though. We’d only been married eight months, and I had my job, and two more years of medical school loomed. But when we told them, my mother said, “I knew it!” She said I had that “glow.”

Here I am in a photo just days before the baby came. I wasn’t very big at all.

Baby shower

Yes, it’s a baby shower. A gloriously happy time, right, in spite of that awful plaid dress. But notice the triangle of people in the picture. I’m opening baby gifts. The young man in the coat and tie is my husband. Does he look simply detached, or ready to bolt? ¬†And that’s my mother, looking a little askance. I don’t believe she was quite ready to be a grandmother, but oh, she did love my babies.

That child made his entrance into the world two days after my twenty-third birthday. You’ll meet him in the next post.

Are we ever grown up enough to be parents? Or do we grow along with our children?