Here's is a shout out to baby Harlan, born yesterday to one my first cousins who is serving in Afghanistan and his wife. What is really cool is they made the news! Click to watch video. My cousin was able to watch via Skype to see his son come into the world.
Of course this news sparked the inspiration for today's sporadic publication. I am the oldest cousin on both my mom and dad's side. Only three of us are married and until yesterday, I was the only one with a child. I can't remember exactly how old Brandon is but I am going to guess that we are about sixteen years apart. Brandon is the reason I wasn't going to have any kids for a long long time and I wasn't having any boys. Well the long time part worked out, but I wouldn't trade my boy for anything.
When Brandon was born and about two weeks old, I went to stay with my Aunt for a few weeks. He was born in June so school was out. I had traveled from South Carolina to Delaware for what I thought was a little vacation. Except for my brother, who is seven years younger than me, I had no experience with babies. My Aunt also had an almost two year old little girl at the house.
I can remember my brother doing his fare share of crying... there was this one road trip from Pennsylvania to Washington D.C. for a wedding. We were traveling in a Pontiac. I sat up front in between my grandparents (no seat belt but plenty of room) and three adults and my baby brother were in the back. He was that age where he could hold his head up to cry long enough to try and make eye contact with someone before his head fell back down. I think he fell asleep when my grandfather was pulling into the front of the hotel to drop us off. Lawdhamercy that was a long ride.
Once in D.C. I had a cousin to play with and we wanted no parts with my crying brother and felt no obligation to try and entertain him. Imagine a time in the 70s when two young kids could run around in and outside of a hotel without adult supervision in a city! Wow, times have changed.
So back to my point, the couple of weeks I was helping out my Aunt, I do not remember a moment that Brandon wasn't crying. For whatever was wrong with him that caused his discomfort (thrush I think) his meds gave him a purple tongue. Between the wailing and the purple tongue that just made him even more alien to me. I did whatever I could do to help out with ANYTHING else. My little girl cousin wasn't talking yet, and she hardly cried at all. Now that I could deal with. I would give her half a stick of gum while I did her hair. It took her so long to get the gum open that I was usually done with her hair before she realized I was doing anything. Little girls were easy and quiet so I thought.
Fast forward to the summer of 1989; they were four and almost six. I was staying with them after my freshman year in College. I would come home from my summer job to them competing for my attention at the end of each day. LAWD I wasn't having any kids ANYTIME soon. They talked and talked and talked and TALKED! I can remember that Brandon was funny. He intended to be funny but he didn't want anybody to laugh. He didn't understand that his humor and laughter go hand in hand. He would shout, "DON'T WAFF!" before he started crying.
Here's the thing... why has it taken me 20+ years to realize my parents sent me to "help out" both summers as a form of birth control? Well it worked!
Kenya G. Johnson