Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Son Bradley

What a great gift the day Bradley was born.  I had waited 8 1/2 years for him and it was worth the wait.  He did not seem to want to enter the world for awhile.  I was 9 months and they did not want to wait longer since I was A negative and had already had one baby.  They put me in the hospital and tried to induce labor all day.  The doctor was pacing out in the hall until after 7:00 p.m.  He finally came in and said they were going to stop the shots and keep me overnight.  I went home the next morning empty handed.  My mother-in-law had come from Dallas to stay with Kay while I was in the hospital.  She had been there a week and I don't think she was too happy to see me come back without a new baby.  We waited until the next Friday and they put me in again.  They started the shots and got no where.  Finally the doctor said they were going to start PIT drip and that one way or the other we would have a baby.  As it turned out he (like Kay) was turned face down.  We finally were successful and I had a baby boy.  I have to admit that after having grown up with my brother, I was hoping for another quiet, sweet little girl.  Little did I know that boys can actually be all of that too.

He was born with a broken collarbone which I did not find out about until they x-rayed him before releasing him from the hospital which was normal procedure.  I brought him home and got him settled and took our cat to the vet for something that I cannot remember.  I got back and the phone rang and I had to take Bradley back to the doctor to be wrapped.  I could tell they were having a problem because all the things they were trying to use on him were too large.  They finally wrapped gauze around his arm and shoulder and we went home.  What a day. 

He was a good baby and happy.  We were living in a  two story old home owned by the university that my husband was teaching at.  His room had 8 windows and was large.  I think it was probably meant to be a sun room.  It had a flat roof and was on the corner of the house.  I loved the room.  He was born in September and that winter we had a lot of snow.  I never thought about anything, we were warm and the snow had stopped.  We went to bed and I got up for some reason and went into his room and it was like it was raining.  I guess the flat roof was keeping the melted snow from running off and it started coming in his room.  Thank goodness I got up.  My thoughts were that it might cave in.  The next morning the university sent people over to shovel it off and we all were safe.

Bradley also had his feet turned out so that they were heel to heel and they had to put the shoe braces on him.  Have you ever been hit in the head while changing a dipper with those things?  It happened many times.  He never complained about wearing them and learn to crawl fine with them on. 

He was also born with his tear ducts closed up.  No tears, but he could still make a noise.  One day he flipped of the table with his baby seat still attached and hurt his lip.  He cried so hard that the ducts opened up and we had tears. 

All of these things made him Bradley and very special.  We laugh today about how our first few months went.  You would think it was our first baby.  Maybe because we did not have Nanny watching over us.  She was in Texas and unable to travel when he was born.  We did have Kay though and she was great with him.  I mentioned that she did not like dolls and she was not a mommy figure to Bradley either.  But she kept an eye on him and was a great teacher for him.

When he started walking, we got Kay a baby gate to put on her bedroom door.  We told her that when she wanted him in there to take it down and and when she wanted him out to put it up.  It worked for both of them.  She had an antique school desk in her room and a blackboard.  She would bring him in for school and I wished I had a recording of some of the lessons she taught him.  When he was two years old we were swinging on a porch swing and I felt something on Bradley's head.  We brought him inside and found it was a tick.  I knew not to pull it out for fear of leaving the head in.  Kay was helping and we put alcohol on it, hot match stub, etc. and it would not back out.  We took him in to the doctor and they even had to really work to get it out.  When we got home Kay took a recorder and interviewed Bradley on the tick episode.  She asked him the funniest questions and he was so serious trying to answer them. 

Kay would have her girlfriends over for a sleep over and they would get old clothes and dress Bradley up.  He thought he looked good and could not figure out why they were always laughing at him.  Kay taught him a silly dance and when we would go out shopping, she would  say "Hey Bradley, hit it" and no matter where we were he would start his dance.  Kay also liked to freak him out at the dinner table.  She would fill her mouth with mashed potatoes and peas and look at him and open her mouth.  He loved it but acted like it was so gross and it was.

So many good stories between the two of them.  I worried that they would not be close with so many years between them.  I was so wrong.  They are very close and after Gary came into our family, the three of them were together most of the time. 

He was a great student and the teachers loved him.  The principal at his junior high school came up to me at an awards presentation and told me "You should have had more kids and had them all turn out like Bradley."

When he went to high school he was put in accelerated classes and did fine, but I wondered why I never saw any books coming home with him.  He had been a perfect "A" student in the past and I just figured he was getting his work done at school.  By this time, the parents did not have to sign and return report cards to school.  Well one day I did find a report card that he had not shown me and I saw "C's" where "A's" use to be.  I asked him about it and he would say, "No one cares about your grades in high school, it is college that matters."  I told him that if he wanted to go to a school of his choice, he better make the grades and get some scholarships.  He did not take it to heart and continued just getting by.  Now it was time to start checking out schools and getting ready to enroll.  He took his entrance exam and scored 31.  The average score at his school was 17.  He even took it again to see if he could get the math score higher.  He scored the same again.  He turned to me and said "It is all just common sense, I knew I could do well if I wanted to."  He picked Bradley University in Peoria, IL and they accepted him based on his score and gave him some scholarships.  We got grants and other things to make up the difference and off he went.  That was both a happy day and a sad day.  He looked so alone standing in the parking lot as we drove away.

He went to Bradley for 3 years and would intern at ADM in the summers.  The summer before his final year they offered him a job.  He decided to stay and accept it.  I figured at that point that he would never get his degree.  Some years later he graduated from Millikin University and proved me wrong.  It was a lot harder to have to go to school, work, and take care of his wife and son. 

Today he has a very good job at ADM in computers, he has two sons, and is a great father and Christian.  I am so proud of him and the hard work he does to provide for his family. 

This is Bradley, Diana, Ben and Josh.

This is Bradley and me at his graduation.

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