Wednesday, May 24, 2006


The World's Biggest "Congratulations" goes out today to my Aunt Karen and Uncle Paul, who are expecting a new baby in January! However, I think we can assume that this the most unexpected expecting that you could expect.

Let me reminisce. Karen's current pregnancy is not her first. It is her sixth. Her first was 19 years ago. I was a mere 15 years old. I had some vague awareness of how these things come about, but no real concept of what conception really means. She continued to build up her beautiful family while I finished high school and went on to college, where my concept went from vague to silly. I became that annoying radical that made sarcastic comments like "You know how this happens, right?" and "So much for population control." I think my worst was when she told me she was pregnant with four or five and my immediate, unthinking reaction was something along the lines of "really? Is that good news?" I did a lot less thinking then than I should have; just ask anybody. But Karen was patient and forbearing with me and I thank her. At about the time that we all assumed that the Burns family was complete, give or take a pet, I began to shed the ridiculous sets of values of the University and got to get a glimpse from more experienced people of what real family life and values mean. It is an ever-growing concept, but the Burns family is one of the primary images of Family that I hold in both its ideal and its hard, everyday, practical, reality.

So, I am very pleased that Karen has decided to have another baby and give me the opportunity to say "that's great! Congratulations!" I also took the opportunity to ask her a question:

"When you were pregnant with [your first child], what do you recall was the most important thing on your mind? How do you view those concerns now?"

. . . boy, that was a few years ago (she was 19 in Feb.). I think when I was pregnant with her I was simply excited, scared and tired . . .all the time. You always go through a fear of “what if” sort of fear for the baby’s health. With your first one it is out of everything being so new and different, and from those well meaning acquaintances that insist on telling you about so and so and the troubles they had. I didn’t think much then of what sort of parent I’d be, but that is a very real concern now! Funny, you wouldn’t think so after already parenting five kids, two of whom are close to adulthood, but I think it is that very fact that I am concerned. I know the mistakes I made (some I don’t know--those are the worst). I also know the things I would do different so that is helpful, but each child is so incredibly different from the other that changes in my parenting might not make any difference at all! I have learned the best way to approach children is as an instructor. They don’t know something so you have to explain it, show it and be patient when they don’t seem to have a clue. Keeping this in mind has prevented the screaming and yelling so often accompanied by a tired, frustrated mom. Being an “old" mom will have some advantages simply because with age comes wisdom. I hope I have a little more now than I did nineteen years ago.

I also asked her if she told her husband yet.

It took me three days to convince Paul that I was indeed pregnant. The next day he had a rather dazed look on his face most of the day. I now have four doctors (or groups) taking care of me, two that are specialist in high risk pregnancies. I’m going to be totally worn out by the end because of the kind of time I will have to spend at the doctors' offices. We are over the shock and pretty excited.

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