Saturday, March 26, 2011

December 8, 1981

My mom is huffing and puffing. I imagine her cheeks sinking in and puffing out. I imagine her gaze is determined, her mind focused.

And as the labor and delivery nurses wheel her down the hall to the room where she is going to do some pushing, my dad is walking along side her.

“How about Kelly?” he says.

My mom huffs and puffs.

“How about Kristina?” he offers.

She is still puffing.

My dad thinks some more as the nurses wheel my mom into the delivery room. The doctor is waiting and my dad says, “How about Katherine?”

My mother finally finds enough breath to say, “This…baby…is…a…boy!”

My dad, I’m sure, just rolls his eyes in response.

The pushing starts.

In my life, I know of two explanations for the mysteries of child birth. One is from Bill Cosby and the other from the movie Look Who’s Talking.

From Bill (great name, by the way) – “Carol Burnett describes child birth as taking your bottom lip and pulling it over your head.”


Kirstie Alley says, “You try squeezing something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of a lemon and tell me how you feel about child birth.”

Double hmm…

So, my mom is going through the above and she pushes and she huffs and she puffs and the baby just isn’t coming. Finally, she says, “What is going on?” and she sits up, preparing to get that baby out whether it wants to come or not.

The nurses try to make her lie down, but her doctor, God bless him, knows she’s had three other kids and she is just fine.

My mom gives it one good push and out the baby comes.
“It’s a boy!” cries the doctor.

A very shocked father says, “You’re kidding.”

And, while he’s finally got someone who’ll see his side of things, he has had another example of the truth…

Girls are always right.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Family Portrait -- In the "Kara" Style

My mom is pregnant!

And this time, I am older and I can remember what she looked like. I can remember what it felt like to wait for the baby to arrive. I can remember how it felt when the baby kicked her tummy.

It was exciting! And the sisters knew, with every ounce and fiber of their being, that it was a boy.

My dad did not share our conviction. But, he wanted a boy. Oh, yes, he really did want a boy.

And we wanted a brother. We had sisters, and they were great, but a brother would be even cooler!

And I already knew what his name would be…

Bill, of course!

Learning how to spell “Bill” was the best thing I learned in Kindergarten.

So, I informed Mom that the baby would be a boy and his name would be Bill.

She did not agree with me. About the name anyway.

But, I didn’t let that bother me. In my mind, he was Bill and that was what he was going to be.

During Art class, I took to making family portraits. I drew every member of our family in order of birth and wrote their name over their head. Dad was first, then Mom, then me, then Maria, then Wendy, then our dog, Misty, and last, Bill. He wasn’t born yet, but he was a part of us already.

I proudly showed my drawings to my mother and father. Mom said it was inaccurate because his name wasn’t going to be Bill. Dad said it was inaccurate because the baby wasn’t a boy.

Well, we’ll see who wins this one…

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Patience Is A Virtue

There are barrettes and bows and ribbons and clips everywhere. There are flowers on the bedspreads and pink paint on the walls.

There are sing-alongs and plays behind curtains made of beach towels or sheets.

There are high-heeled shoes on too small feet and long dresses on bodies not nearly developed enough to fill them out right.

“Dad, you’re stepping on my hem!” Wendy cries.

“Dad, are you gonna sit down and watch our play?” asks Maria. “It’s Snow White!”

Drummond sighs inwardly and tries very hard not to roll his eyes. He sits in the appropriate chair, hands Maria his ticket and waits for the play to unfold.

But, before it can start, Kara comes busting through the curtain, knocking it down and crying, “YEEHAW!”

“Kara!” Maria and Wendy shriek at the top of their lungs.

“We’re having a play and you’re wrecking it!” Maria declares.

Kara only throws a laugh over her shoulder as she races for the back door and the neighbor boys who are waiting outside.

Drummond, remaining silent, waits patiently for Wendy and Maria to hang the curtain up and get situated. It takes probably ten minutes because, of course, the curtain has to be just right. No peeking, they tell him!

The play begins and he watches as Snow White meets the dwarfs (their dolls) and then the evil step-mother (a picture glued on a stick) gets the girl to eat a poisoned apple. And, of course, there is much arguing because Wendy forgot to enter stage left when the dolls are racing to save Snow White.

And then the Prince (Wendy) kisses Snow White (Maria) awake and soon Drummond is clapping as the girls curtsy.

“Is that it?” Drummond asks. “Y’all are done, right?”

“Here is your ticket to Cinderella!” Wendy announces.

Drummond takes it with a forced smile and rushes hastily into his bedroom. He finds M’Lynn standing at their bathroom door, with a special glow in her cheeks.

“I’m pregnant!” she cries.

(He did not pass out. He just said with a smile, “That’s great.” But I’m certain he was cussing a blue streak in his head. Because, of course, it was going to be a girl.)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Preparing For The Future?

I don’t think everything I learned came from Kindergarten. I certainly learned some things.

1) Fifth graders were special because they were the only ones who got to play on the playground.

2) Be prepared for lunch, or you were going to be hungry.

3) Jumping in a dress probably wasn’t the best idea.

4) Running to the big tree and back wasn’t enough to help me release my energy.

5) When the bus went into the dip it felt like a roller coaster. Especially if you stood up.

6) It cost $0.90 cents to see the puppet play of “The Wizard of Oz”.

Interesting facts, but nothing I really needed to remember. Until…

I wasn’t able to get the sandbox one day, so I ended up playing with the little chalkboards. Which was okay because my neighbor was playing with the blocks and that center was right next to the chalkboards.

There was another boy playing with the blocks. His name was Bill.

I asked him to spell it for me and when he did, I wrote it on the chalkboard.

It had four letters, just like my name. And it happened to be the name of my grandpa, one of the coolest people I knew. (He had go-carts.)


7) I learned how to spell “Bill”.

You will soon see just how important that was...