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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Girls Just Want to Have Fun - Part 1

SusanB&Wage25 by you.

When I was in my 20s, suffice it to say that I was a complete mess.  No, I wasn't on drugs.  No, I didn't drink.  No, I didn't smoke.  Yes, I had many a guy ask me "So then, what do you do?"  I refuse to answer that for fear that it may incriminate me.  What I did do was burden myself down with responsibility for 2 baby girls by the age of 21 and a marriage to a nice young man who, yes, loved me, but whom I did not "love" in the same way.  It was all my fault.  I had screwed everything up royally.

SusanProm3 by you.

I was impatient to grow up from the time I was a hormonal teenager going to the prom.  I was impatient to jump to the finish line, get married, have kids, play house, play the part of the perfect wife.  I had read too many Sidney Sheldon novels and was living out the story in my own life. 

Plebes by you.

From the time I was 16 and old enough to date, I had been drawn to those handsome men in uniform.  Dang they looked good.  Real good.  I wanted one of them for my own.  I had visions of being a military wife and traveling the world with our perfect little family.  Told ya I was reading too many Sidney Sheldon novels.  Before I met one of those Navy men in my teens and fell in love, though, I dated a great guy.  And he is still a very dear friend today - Tim.  I told that story here if you're interested, but when I fell in love with Mike, it was a cliffhanger kind of love.  I fell completely off the cliff in love with this guy and I jumped without a parachute.  That upset Tim, of course, because he had plans of his own, but I had a thing for guys in uniform - they looked so - so - hunky.  Not that Tim didn't - he was his own hunk-a-burnin'-love in those days, and for that matter, he still does look like a somethin' somethin' for his age.  I occasionally wonder, though, what my life would have been like had I married Tim all those years ago.  But, I was a silly teenage girl who had her sights set on other things, and none of them were the direction that I should have been traveling.  While all my friends were thinking about college, I knew that I had to work to help my family out when I graduated.  Why?  Because my father had left my mother for a couple of years to run himself through the proverbial mid-life crisis and left us kids and my mother to pick up the pieces.

SusanProm2 by you.

I sure looked upset about something in this picture.  Was I gritting my teeth?

I was a good girl, novels or not, I didn't want to spoil a good thing.  Until - just before Mike's graduation from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, I decided that a graduation present was in order.  So we spent a weekend together just before his graduation at the Thrift Inn on Rt. 50, growing up - together, scared out of our minds, hopelessly in love, and impossibly clumsy and stupid.

Why stupid?  Because we didn't think about protection back in the 70s - we just wanted to have fun.  And Whammo!  Mike goes off sailing out to sea for the next 5 years and I found out I was pregnant.  That should have been a wake up call for me to pull it together, go to college, stop reading Sidney Sheldon novels, stop listening to "Little Feat's - Waiting for Columbus" tape, and get a life for Jimi sake!

MikeSmithNApic by you.

I do think that the reason I turned to Mike for his attentions had a lot to do with the fact that my father was going through a  mid-life crisis at the time and had succumbed to a man-eating blonde beauty who had been married 7 times by the age of 34, and 2 of her husbands had committed suicide.  Oh, excuse me.  My life wasn't messed up at all!  Diana's?  Crapola! Did she ever screw up her life or what!  She was the poster mother for screwed up!  But Dad got sucked into her web and it nearly killed him.  I took out my grievances by seeking out comfort in Mike's arms, among other things.

Mike was, in my eyes, the hottest thing since John Travolta danced his way into my heart, and you can read a little bit about Mike and me here so that I don't repeat myself.  I was hormonal.  I was curious.  I was crazy.  I was in love - all consuming love.  I was a mess and I was pregnant.  Fortunately, I had a loving and supportive family, and supportive friends like Tim and Alison tooMy brother Mike offered to babysit.  He was such a good guy.  My brother, Bill, offered to play with the new little person.  He was good at that.  Billy had always made it a point to play with me when I was a kid.  Whereas Mike would snuf me off, Billy was always ready to race me in a game of making our beds, or wrestle me in the living room and tickle me till I turned red, or play tag or ride bikes with me.  Billy was the best brother ever!  Well, so was Mike.  I can't pick.  They both are great brothers.  At the very least, Billy was the most fun.   So, when my mother told Billy that I was pregnant, he was laissez-faire about the whole thing.  Billy was too busy with work and his own life to be bothered with the emotional upheavals of his little sister, but he was supportive and he told me he loved me.  My mom wasn't happy with me at all, and my dad, although I thought for sure he was going to kill me, instead said "Yippee!  We need a baby in this house!"  Yeah, right.  I needed my head examined.  

Mike wasn't about to get married.  He loved me, though, and he visited me every few months when he was docked within 400 miles.  He was good like that.   But he was committed to at least 5 years in the Navy after his graduation and wasn't about to think of commitment to little 'ol me until he was established.  He was smart.  I was sinking fast. 

img257.jpg by you.

As luck would have it, when I had Kathleen, Mike was there with me.  He had just docked in Philly and he drove like a bat-out-of-hell at 3am to my home in Brookeville, Maryland.  Then, he rode with my brother, Mike, to Sibley Memorial in Washington DC to be there when Kathleen was born. 

At about 3am, my mother had driven me 11 miles down the road from our home towards the hospital and I couldn't take it anymore.  Holy cannoli!  Who was this kid trying to kick her way out of my body and "get me to a hospital - NOW!"  I rode in an ambulance from Olney to Wheaton and then from Wheaton to Sibley.  A dozen times the medics asked to examine me and a dozen times I said "Heck No!"  I wasn't about to show my private parts to a complete stranger, much less have him examine me.  "Are you kidding?!!!"  So for the entire trip to the hospital, bad shocks and all, I screamed bloody murder (literally) and kept my knees clamped together.  Oh, how I prayed that I didn't have this baby in my underwear.

Once at the hospital, the nurse tried to hook me up to an IV and I slapped her away from me.  "Don't you dare touch me with that needle or I'll pull your hair out."  Then my doctor, Dr. Donald Payne (who married that National reporter Jessica Savitch - he ultimately hung himself and she died in a car accident - I told ya I have the stories to tell) As I was saying, Dr. Donald Payne (Payne - get it?  Pain? - I sure know how to pick 'em) came into my room and told me I was messing up his golf game.  "Sorry about that doc, but you didn't tell me my body is about to explode."  I managed to kick Dr. Payne in the ribs a few times during his examinations, because although I was 9 cm dilated, my water had not broken.  He came at me with this long plastic hook and I took my skinny leg and kicked him again.  Of course he had something to say about this "Susan, you have to let me break the water so you can have this baby."  - "Over My Dead Body!" I screamed.   His reply "I hope to hell you're not planning on having anymore kids, because this is impossible."  Tell me about it!  "Get this kid out of me!  Before I kill somebody!"  During a contraction, Dr. Payne broke my water while I wasn't looking.  Smart doctor.

Mike walked into my labor room between contractions (how nice of him) and tried to be comforting, but the truth of the matter is, is that he was as scared as I was and he didn't know what to expect or what to feel.  As soon as my contractions started to kick in again, he exited as fast as he could - and he didn't come back - until after Kathleen was born.  I can't say that I blame him, really.  Me and natural labor don't mix.  Remember, I wouldn't let anyone near me with a 10 foot pole, or a long plastic hook, so I ended up having natural childbirth. 

Kathleennb-1.jpg by you.

There is no way to describe the euphoria of having a child or the pain that comes just prior to that experience.  I may have still been a child myself, but I felt complete having Kathleen.  She was beautiful.  She was healthy.  She had long fingers and blue eyes.  She was perfect.  I sat up on my elbows feeling the heat from the lamp in my crotch and the stinging of Dr. Payne sewing up my ripped willy when he looked up at me and said "How do you feel?"  - "Feel?  Well, hmmm, let's see doc, if it weren't for this pain in my willy I'd say let's go dancin'!" 

Kathleennewborn.jpg by you.

They put Kathleen in my arms.  Clueless.  I was completely clueless.  Now what?  They let me hold her and nurse her for about 15 minutes, then they whisked her away to do more tests.  My mother was in the delivery room with me, holding my hand and helping me breathe.  After Kathleen was born, she rubbed my forehead and we both began to cry together.  My mom loved me.  She only wanted the best for me and Kathleen.  She wanted me to be okay. 

Mike made one last round to visit me and Kathleen.  He called his family in North Carolina and told them the news, and then he rode back to my home with my mom and brothers to Brookeville, had some breakfast, and left again for the ship in Philly.  It would be 6 months before I would see Mike again.

To be continued ...

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