Welcome to the World, Son

Early Sunday evening, I became a father for the second time.  My son was born at 8:11 p.m. and weighed in at five pounds, thirteen ounces — not bad for a little booger who made his appearance nearly six weeks early.  He was even bigger than his older sister, who was also born early back in 2006 and weighed in at five pounds, five ounces.  The crazy thing?  Both of my children, early as they were, were born at the very same gestational age:  34 weeks and four days.

I think my wife’s uterus may have a time limit.

Despite all of the similarities between my daughter and my son, the way that I feel in the aftermath of this most recent  delivery is starkly, profoundly different.  Part of it is that neither Joanna and I are scared of C-sections or incubators or feeding tubes or neo-natal intensive care units anymore; we’ve been here, we’ve done that, now let’s get to the part where we enjoy holding and snuggling our child.  Likely part of that different feeling, too, is the fact that in May of 2006, we went from childless to parents, from carefree to held responsible, from disposable income to disposable diapers; this time, we’re going from one child to two, merely adding another happy, smiling face to a life and home that is actually ready for him.

Also part and parcel of that “different” feeling in me is my political consciousness.  May of 2006 pre-dates America’s Right, and while I was busy reading and studying and beginning to get involved at that time, at no point was I as acutely aware of what awaited my first child as I am now with this newest addition.  At that time, the war in Iraq seemed to be spinning out of control prior to the surge of 2007, the ouster of Porter Goss from Central Intelligence was the talk of the Beltway elite, and former President George W. Bush’s characterization of the Global War on Terror as “World War III” had the left’s undergarments in a twisted bunch.  Beyond that, however, the value of our home was still appreciating, the unemployment rate was a mere 4.6 percent, and the word “bailout” was more often associated with sinking dinghies than tanking economies.

Sunday evening, however, my son was born into a very different world, and born to a dad who had a much greater understanding of its pitfalls and perils.  While in a corner booth at Panera Bread studying for the Bar Exam back at the end of January, acutely aware that my wife was at home on physician-ordered bed-rest, I recall overhearing one patron at a nearby table say to the other in the context of a political discussion that he could not imagine “bringing a child into this world.”

Overseas, in the death and destruction so vividly captured in the images and video coming out of Japan, we see the arbitrariness of life.  In the Middle East, which only recently has progressed from campfire to conflagration, we see how the trappings of money and power will be defended to the death, with Hosni Mubarak having been overthrown–regardless of what Mr. Mubarak may himself insist–in Egypt and his neighbor just to the west having taken to slaughtering his own people in an attempt to perpetuate his own power.  Meanwhile, while similar protests have taken place across the region and the Arabian Peninsula, and in spite of efforts in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to stop the various popular movements before they take hold, the one country that has the means and the capacity to project strength in an attempt to foster stability–and, in the case of Libya, to save lives–has remained deafeningly quiet.

Stateside, over the past two years alone our rapidly expanding entitlement society has received an enormous boost from the most entitlement-sympathetic chief executive in American history, and just as France and Greece and England and Spain in only the past few months have witnessed firsthand the reaction of the entitled masses to the reining in of certain benefits, in state capitals from coast to coast we have seen the same thing.  In Wisconsin, thousands of people have protested and leveled death threats against a Republican governor and state legislature who have done  nothing more than remain steadfast and honor campaign promises to rein in the excesses of public union power.  The level of discourse from the American political left has descended so far down into the doldrums of incivility that even Time Magazine referred to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as “Dead Man Walker.”  The interests of this nation and her people have taken a back seat to political gamesmanship and theatre.

A few hours ago, I had the chance to feed my son for the first time.  Staring at my little boy while seated in a rocking chair in the NICU, finding peace amidst the beeps and chirps of expensive machines and the vulnerably weak grunts and cries from little boys and girls in cribs and incubators on each side, I found myself telling him about his big sister and puppy dog back at home, explaining to him as best I could the trials and hurdles he must face and surmount in the next few days, and sharing with him our hopes and dreams for his coming life.

I did not have the heart to tell him that, despite only having drawn breath for approximately 24 hours, his share of the national debt was already a whopping $45,774.  Nor did I have the heart to explain to him that, according to an already outdated and far too optimistic analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, his share of the public debt will reach roughly $60,000 by his 12th birthday, $80,000 by his 18th birthday, and $170,000 or so by the time he reaches my age now.  I also did not feel right explaining that every American taxpayer owes more than $1.01 million as their share of unfunded liabilities such as Social Security and Medicare.  And, frankly, if I had explained that costs associated with higher education are outpacing inflation by anywhere between 350 and 650 percent, he might have been confused because of all that prior talk of our hopes and dreams for his coming life.

To my right, here in the hospital room, my wife is finally sleeping soundly after a couple of long, difficult days.  A few yards from here, my son is sleeping under bilirubin lights designed to treat newborn jaundice.  I, however, am wide awake — partly because my lower back is in no hurry to assume the same position as last night, but partly because I look at the television and see the reality into which my wife and I have brought our son.  I recall the news from just five days ago that the $222.5 billion budget shortfall in February set the record for the highest monthly budget deficit in the history of our nation, and I wonder how as a father I can really abide by our federal government’s determination to carry out this generational theft.  Thinking about how small and fragile my premature, newborn son is, I feel absolutely helpless when it comes to protecting him and ensuring that he enjoys a better quality of life and more opportunities than did I.

In a way that I did not feel only about five short years ago, at this point it seems as though the world is conspiring against our future.  In my daughter’s sparkling newborn eyes, I saw potential.  In my son’s, I worry that it has already been squandered by forces out of my control. This is the United States of America — potential should always be within reach for those willing to push hard and reach for it.  That I feel otherwise tells me just how much work needs to be done.

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Comments

  1. whats_up says:

    Congrats Jeff, a healthy son, outstanding!!

  2. John Feeny says:

    Go get ‘em, kid.

  3. John Broad says:

    Jeff, It is always the darkest just before the dawn.

  4. Sam says:

    Congrats!

    Your new son and my year old grandson in Chattanooga can get together in the summers and knock out their $340,000 combined debt doing a kool-aid stand together. Or is that not allowed under the new Food Safety legislation?

  5. Bob Upton says:

    Congratulations Jeff, to you and your wife!

    May the blessing of God’s presence and the reward for your hard work keep your family safe and secure.

  6. Fatandhair 911(lbs) says:

    Babies born to debt? Noooooo problem, just take ALL of the billionaires money!
    The numbers in this video show you what fools Michael Moore, and this government are.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbwMPzbzVJM

  7. Dee says:

    Congratulations, Jeff, to you, your wife, your daughter, your new son, and of course, the puppy! May you and your family be blessed with all the good things life has to offer.

  8. nana3 says:

    Congratulations, Jeff to you and your beautiful family! No matter how many times you experience it, the birth of a child reminds us of how precious LIFE is and that children are gifts from God. As a grandmother who has experienced that time in a neo-natal unit with a tiny, 2 pound 6 oz. little boy, I can say that miracles do happen every day as these babies fight for LIFE. I think we all share your concern for their future and I ask myself every day :”What are we doing to our children?” I am a ‘worrier’,so I’ve been told, but I remind myself frequently that God is in control and I must trust Him in all things, not just in some things. You are certainly doing your part to make this a better world for your children and we should all dedicate ourselves to that goal. When we see the innocence and trust in the eyes of a child, we must be inspired to live better and be better people…they are the future, but we are molding their future through the decisions we are making today. I wish happiness and blessings for your family as you begin a new chapter in your life. Enjoy your precious family!

  9. Randy Wills says:

    Congratulations, Jeff, and blessings on Joanna, your new son, and of course your daughter. Moving over on the family stage to make room for a new arrival isn’t always easy. When my third son was born, my second son said “take him to the dump”. Later in life, I wasn’t sure that that wasn’t what I should have done, but now he’s a rock.

    It’s impossible at the moment to see how life can be peaceful and happy for those who follow after us, but with God all things are possilbe, so that is what we will pray for. In the meantime, I’m sure that no one could provide a more loving and safe environment for this new soul, your son, to take shape in and form perspectives that will influence the rest of his life.

    Randy

  10. Boston Blackie says:

    Congratulations to you, Joanna and big sis!! Your son is beautiful.
    It takes being a parent to put things in perspective. Hopefully for all future generations, we are coming out of the dark.
    I will say a prayer that the little guy gets to come home soon :)

  11. L. Banks says:

    Jeff,

    Great news for you and your family and congratulations. He also looks very alert. I’ll bet he is going to be a handful. Big sister will have to keep him in line. God Bless.

  12. Laurie says:

    Oh Jeff…CONGRATULATIONS!! May God wrap His arms of love around you and yours and put His hand of protection over all of you!! My best to you and the whole family….just wonderful news.

  13. Lilly says:

    Congrats Jeff, he’s a trooper and a cutie! Ditto what John B said! I have total faith in our country, we just have to stay awake and correct it the best we can by holding our representatives accountable. If we do that at the local, state and federal level, your son, daughter and all of our kids and grand kids will prosper and be stronger for it!
    Again congrats and just be the best parent that you can be!

  14. William A. Rose says:

    Congratulations Jeff. One word comes to mind: Bittersweet. And that more intense than I have ever imagined or experienced.

  15. Ima SoBelle says:

    Congratualtions!!! Glad this young man arrived safely and hope that all will go well for him and all of you. He’s got a great family.

  16. Gail B. says:

    Your iPhone takes great pictures! The Schreibers have beautiful children! And whats_up said something nice! (Whats_up, you know I had to rib you.)

    I am relieved that everyone is okay, including the puppy. But I do have a question — didn’t you have a cat with the Polish name for “beer” in Pennsylvania?

    Now if you can just figure out how to get him into John Feeny’s school and classes in Rhode Island, while you’re in South Carolina, you son will have a solid education.

    Be sure your daughter understands that the new baby is HERS, TOO! That’s important. Oh, I am so happy for y’all!

  17. Game of Life says:

    Now the tough decision. Raise him to be intelligent, to maybe fix our countries problems (if that is now even possible), or raise him just the opposite (as most of todays youth), so he doesn’t have a clue, nor a care in the world.

  18. T.I.M. says:

    As always, Jeff, you’ve produced more great labor. As you are successfully working to reverse the dumbing down of America, I look forward to seeing some thoughtful essays from your son in the near future.

  19. Kahleeka says:

    Congratulations and God bless!

  20. John Feeny says:
  21. Donald Trump says:

    Congrats! and hang onto this little guys birth certificate!
    http://www.westernjournalism.com/donald-trump-goes-birther/

  22. Joe Bidin' time says:

    DO NOT let your baby boy see this video. The dollar figures, and the violence headed our way, are both frightening.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eyhnw6TBfI

  23. mahon says:

    congratulations to you and your wife¡¡¡¡¡
    may all the good things in the world come to you and your family¡¡¡

  24. Jenna says:

    Congratulations to your family! :) He is beautiful!

  25. Congratulations to all of you. He is beautiful.

    And as always, a great piece of writing.

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