Today, Wheeler turns 20. It is hard to believe that it has been two decades since that day. This is the year he turns the age I was when he was born. Every year on his birthday, I take a nostalgic look back to what I was thinking and feeling during the time right before I had him and the precious first few days after he was born. Wheeler was stubborn about making his entrance into the world. His due date was May 1st. I went for a check up on Friday, April 30th thinking they would admit me, because I was consistently having a contraction every 20 minutes for over 24 hours. I was so disappointed when they sent me home with an appointment Monday, if my contractions didn’t increase before then. They never increased, so we went back to the doctor Monday morning after a long weekend of no sleep and the doctor decided to induce the next day, May 4th. I went in that morning exhausted, but so excited. When the nurse hooked me up to the contraction monitor, she said, “Hey look, you are already having contractions”. Obviously, this wasn’t news to me. Long story made very short, I never dilated to past 7 centimeters and at 11pm they decided to do a C-Section. My bone structure would have never allowed a baby to pass through my pelvis. He was born at 11:52pm. I was very out of it by the time he was born. I never heard him cry and they whisked him off to the nursery. He had a hard time breathing right after being born, but everything was fine by the next morning. The first question I had when I woke up was how much he weighed. The answer was 8 pounds 4 ounces, and he was a very tall 22 ½ inches long. Brett went to the nursery and brought Wheeler down to my room after I woke up that morning. Meeting him for the first time was surreal and just such a precious moment. He brought so much joy to our family and had more grandparents and great-grandparents than you could ever think possible. I have never seen that amount of synergistic love and care around a baby. He immediately became a perfect infant, then the perfect toddler, then the perfect child, then the perfect teenager, and now I hate to say he is no longer a teenager and has had to have a very quick lesson on becoming a man.
He truly is an amazing mix of myself and Brett. He is outgoing, social, and entertaining like his dad; and compassionate, mature, and empathetic like me. He has my ability to read other people’s energy that he deems is a “Super-Power” and “a bit psychic”. Until he went off to college, by his choice he was as much of a parent to Everett as either Brett or I were. He always expects the best Everett can do, but has been there to pick him up and love on him when he needed it. Wheeler loves and feels deeply. He can’t hide when things aren’t going well, he is honest, and I appreciate his willingness to share the details of his life that many boys and men don’t. He is a hard worker, and the best time to bet on him is when others underestimate or overlook him. He loves being outdoors and isn’t scared to YouTube anything he doesn’t know how to do. He tells me he loves me almost every day, listens intently when I am giving him advice, but is willing to respectfully call me out and stick up for himself when I step out of line. Watching him journey through the last two years with Brett’s illnesses and suicide has only made me prouder of him. It shows his real capacity to handle all life has to throw at a person while forgiving, caring, living, and loving with a grace and strength that has blown away anyone who knows him. I hope that he understands how deeply he is loved. Happy Birthday Wheeler!