By Richard Watkins
A few days ago, my son turned 13. Mazel Tov, my boy, Mazel Tov! In the Jewish tradition he would be considered a man. But we are not Jewish. So, the most he is considered by me is old enough to start using some of the power tools to make my life easier.
Besides my giddiness over never again having to strap a leaf blower over my shoulder, this was a momentous occasion. Especially when you consider how he came to be.
You see, my wife and I weren’t spring chickens when we married. In fact, we were more like late Summer chickens with Autumn coming up fast. The big question, after the honeymoon was over and after all the “lovely” and “thoughtful” gifts not from the registry were returned for store credit, was when to start a family. We didn’t want to wait too long because of slowly approaching AARP eligibility, but we didn’t want to rush it and not have a chance to establish being a couple first. We were in a proverbial pickle.
We spent a good four months or so straddling the should we/shouldn’t we fence when we decided to split the difference; we wouldn’t necessarily try, but then again if something should happen, we would be okay with it. But, that didn’t really work either because we would second and third and fourth guess ourselves. And this is how it went.
Then came December 10. I woke up sometime in the 3:00 hour and couldn’t fall back to sleep. Now there is something you have to know about Watkins men: we can sleep anywhere at any time. My dad used to fall asleep during 49ers games. An uncle of mine once fell asleep in his recliner, midway through eating a saltine. For me to not simply go back to sleep, something was up.
I got out of bed and went to the other room. I sat down on the couch. My mind was racing. My heart was beating fast. I was sweating. I was anxious, antsy and uneasy. I rubbed my hair with my fingers as if I was trying to get the demons out of my head. And then I spoke, out loud.
“Okay, God. Whatever you want. Whatever your plan. You want us pregnant, fine. If not, fine. I put it to you and your will.”
The interesting thing about that moment is that I don’t think I had never spoken out loud to God like that. Sure, I had prayed routinized prayers and sometimes I would freewheel one or two. But they were always silent and within my own mind. This one though, was out loud and could not be taken back. Still feeling a little “mezza-mezza” (as my Nana would say) I went back to bed and fell asleep. It was sometime a little after 4 A.M.
At 6:10 I am awakened by my wife and three high pitched, shrilly “Richie’s”. I open my eyes, not lifting my head from the pillow. It was Sunday after all I was still in Bachelor sleep mode. I managed to muster up a groggy “what?”
“It’s blue,” my wife responded holding an at home pregnancy stick merely inches from my face.
I think I was able to manage to spit out “what? really?” a couple of times before it hit me. Then came the laughing and hugging and kissing. A bunch of “okays” were expressed. I few dozen “wows”. But then, all of sudden, I stopped. My eyes widened and I started shaking my head in disbelief. I looked up at the ceiling, raised my fist in the air, shook it, and blurted out “Why I oughta…”
You see, God had something to tell me, but He was tired of waiting for me to ask it. So, instead, He compelled me to ask in order for Him to tell me. And what did he want to tell me? That the stick was going to be blue. I truly believe that had I not asked and put it in His hands, we would not have been pregnant that day. And we wouldn’t have been until I did.
And that’s the story of my how my oldest son came to be. Now my second son, well that’s a completely different story. It wasn’t God who helped out with that one. But pretty close. That assist goes to the one and only Mrs. Katie Coyle. Maybe I’ll tell you about it sometime.