Erin, Seth, and Carrie were born December 22, 1978. Jane had received a One Year Diary at a baby shower and passed it on to me. She was quite certain she would not have time for writing. Its gilded pages are protected by a sky-blue cover and secured with a tiny brass lock. The key is long gone but it doesn’t matter. There are no secrets inside, just scribbled notes about a hectic but rewarding first year.
I don’t know if I’ve kept diaries all these years or journals. I heard somewhere that diaries are mostly for ladies and journals for men. I looked online and found that diaries usually record events and journals include more reflective thoughts. I think that first year I kept a diary, just like it says on the cover. But over time it evolved more toward a journal as I supplemented facts with perspective. Whatever it’s called, I thought it would be interesting to do a synopsis of those early writings.
When I read through that first diary recently, I was reminded of something that was brought to my attention in fourth grade. My handwriting is sometimes illegible. Mrs. Hazel McGough, my very patient teacher, thought I showed potential to become a doctor. Thankfully, a few years later at Unadilla High School, Mrs. Ruth Cross taught me how to type. She was such a splendid instructor that I quickly became able to type much faster than I think, a technique I often demonstrate in my weekly column.
January 1, 1979 – “Babies born December 22nd. 22nd through January 1st most time spent going to hospital at night to feed babies. Nurses very understanding. On Christmas day I go up to see Jane and give her my poem. She likes it.”
Birth Is A Miracle
Birth is a miracle, God’s gift,” she said. “Of course,” I consented and nodded my head.
On she continued her repertoire true, telling me things I already knew.
Espousing her wisdom as freely as dust, I listened only for feeling I must.
But I now understand my sentimentalist wife, for she brought three miracles into my life.
Erin Margaret was first born, slender and long. My wife named her Erin and for Margaret my mom. Seth Neil followed after when she gave me a lad. Seth ‘cause I liked it and Neil for his dad.
Then Carrie Ellen our third miracle sent, with her great grandma’s namesake and for Ellen her aunt. Three miracles came, yet a fourth just as fine. She brought us three blessings but all at one time.
“Birth is a miracle, God’s gift,” I said. She only smiled and nodded her head.
That 1979 diary gives an account of some very uncertain moments during our first few months. It also shows, however, the triplets’ improving health could be measured by their increasing smiles. I noted little milestones like turning over, crawling, and standing, but it was their smiles that we relished most. It was their smiles which gave us a growing confidence that everything would be alright. As they celebrated their one-year birthday, I penned another poem. These two poems are only simple rhymes, but they touched Jane’s heart, while she and three children touched mine.
Three Days Before Christmas
“When Christmas passed last she was three days old. It looked though we’d salvage naught but her soul.
Now three days before Christmas I remember to pray, to thank God for his grace and Erin’s birthday.
Joining his sister, fairing even less well, life seemed too elusive for a body so frail.
Now three days before Christmas I remember to pray, to thank God for his grace and Seth’s birthday.
The last of the trio I watched with a sigh, largest of all but too limpid to cry.
Now three days before Christmas I remember to pray, to thank God for his grace and Carrie’s birthday.
When Christmas passed last three blessings we’d reaped, yet we feared they were borrowed and not ours to keep.
Now three days before Christmas I remember to pray, to thank God for his grace and our children’s birthday.