EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the A to Z Challenge, an exercise in self-flagellation we bloggers inflict upon ourselves to teach us discipline as writers and to build audience. During the month of April, I’ll be posting 26 times, once for every letter in the alphabet. Looking on the bright side, we can each be thankful this is an English language exercise and not Khmer, the language of Cambodia, which sets the world record with a 74-character alphabet! After some misgivings, I’ve decided to proceed with my initial idea of blogging about the special people in my life whose names begin with the appropriate letter. There will be difficulties, like having more than one special person whose names begin with the same letter, forcing me to choose. And then there are those letters — O, Q and X among them — where no name springs readily to mind. What will I do then? We’ll have to wait and see!
R is for Rebekah
After your first kid is born, you might think you’d know what to expect with the second one. By now you’re an experienced hand at parenthood, you’ve changed enough diapers, spent enough sleepless nights and been lathered in enough baby barf that there should be no surprises.
Then came Rebekah.
In those days we were living in Austin, Texas, and what I remember most about the birth of my second daughter was the “breath of birth,” the speed of her arrival, and the sounds she made once she arrived upon the scene.
My sister-in-law was a nursing student at The University of Texas at Austin, and my wife and I magnanimously agreed to take her with us to the hospital so she could experience a live birth. So, when the time arrived, we picked up Sarah and took her with us.
Even before we walked through the hospital doors, it was clear Mary wasn’t having a lot of fun. In those days, the Lamaze Method was still en vogue, and she was huffing and puffing like a steam engine as we rolled her through the hallways, strapped to a gurney.
It was intense, man, and it didn’t take long for our nursing student to turn a whiter shade of pale. “I’ve got to get out of here,” Sarah whimpered. “I feel the breath of birth upon me, and I think I’m going to faint!”
Just minutes later, and before the doctor even had a chance to put on his gloves, Rebekah arrived on the scene at warp speed, and was soon making her trademark cry, which sounded exactly like a little lamb caught in a barbed-wire fence.
What can I say about Rebekah? Where her older sister looks more like my side of the family, Rebekah is taller like her mother’s side, and looks a lot like Mary.
A graduate of East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania with a degree in theater arts, Rebekah has always had a flair for the dramatic. She moved to New York City, where I almost killed myself moving her belongings into a fifth-floor walkup in The Bronx. When it was done, I remember sitting down heavily on a box and gasping, “You better make some good friends here, because I ain’t doing this ever again!”
She did make friends, too, including her future husband, Jason, just some guy who hit on her while riding the subway. That was somewhat concerning when we found out, but it turned out she knew what she was doing, because Jason is a good southern boy who can smoke up a real tasty rack of ribs.
Rebekah didn’t find fame on Broadway, but she did set foot on the most important stage of her life, giving birth to Evan, and after a move to Virginia, little Lillian came along.
Today, Rebekah wears lots of hats. She’s an attentive and loving mother to two of my grandchildren, brings an impressive flair for interior design to her lovely home, is a certified yoga instructor, and will soon embark on a new career at the same advertising agency where her husband works.
Pretty impressive stuff, and clearly she’s come a long way. But she’ll always be my little lamb.