The Stress probably began with the arrival of my main dawg "J-Jam" or as the state of Alabama calls him, Jesse Christopher Perry. You see, Jesse was born about 2 months premature. The night that we realized that Jesse was indeed on his way, so to speak, was surreal to say the least. Cheryl's Mom and Sister were visiting from Wisconsin for baby preparation stuff, and we really had no reason to believe anything out of the ordinary was going to happen. The pregnancy had been completely normal up until that night in early May 2003, and I should have known something had to give cause the word "Normal" has never really jived with the Perry clan. We first noticed something was amiss when Cheryl's water broke, let's say quite a bit earlier than it was supposed to. We spent the next several minutes trying to convince ourselves that this was probably normal, and we shouldn't worry. Unfortunately, we didn't have the services of the Magical and Mystical iPhone back in them days. (It feels funny saying, "Back in them Days." Sounds like something my Daddy would say) If we would have had those fine Apple products we would have known that the fact of the matter was that Cheryl was in full labor. There is no such thing as a "False-Water Break" or "Pre-Mature Breaking of Water." The bottom line became pretty apparent, once the water goes....It's On! The Labor has commenced. If you've ever seen the movie "Nine Months" with Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore and remember the labor/journey to the hospital scene, then you've got a pretty good picture of the chaos that follows. This was running into doors time, and the amount of anxious/stressful moments was off the charts. The drive to the hospital was not really my finest hour or most shining moment, and the quote "I'm driving this Boat!" most likely originated from this event. Long story short, baby Jesse was born during the Dr. Phil show at Brookwood Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama the next day May 12, 2003. He spent a month in the NICU, and he was a little over 3 lbs. at birth. If you've ever seen him on the Baseball Diamond or the Football field then you know that he suffered no ill effects. He was just ready to come into this world, and he's a stubborn little fellow. Still is to this day.
While I'm on medical related stressors, how bout those 5 year old shots? That is some Medieval type torture stuff if I've ever seen it, and when I was holding Jesse down for this horrible event I felt like I needed that black bag or mask that the executioners of old once wore. I was shaking like a leaf on a tree or at least like an Eddie Money song (Ba Dump Dump/Drumroll for a joke). Maddie will be due her 5 year old torture very soon, and I just don't know how I feel about that. I had a hard enough time when the Doctor put a Q-Tip to far down in her ear, and she gave me that lamb being led to slaughter look. I said, "Is all that really necessary Doc?" It was really necessary, and our Pediatrician is top notch, by the way, one of the best around. Maddie has got wise to this whole Doctor thing anyway, and every time she sits on that crinkly paper on the patients table she gets that look of defiance and goes all Squirrely. I won't even try and explain the wrinkles and loss of what hair I had left that occurred with the "catheter" incident with a two-month old little Jesse at Children's Hospital. If there has every been a moment where I almost climbed a clock tower with an assault rifle it was that one. Poor little fella. I still cringe when I think about that one.
I'm going to close this area of thought and examination with the one that started it all. My furry first born baby dog Smokey. Smokey may very well have been the best friend I have ever had outside of Cheryl and the kids. Cheryl and the kids give me too much grief anyway (just kidding, sort of), and no one has ever been as loyal as my trusty German Shepherd Dog friend Smokey. Outside of tricking me to move out of my La-Z-Boy and then stealing it or maybe opening doors by herself and going places she shouldn't, she was spot on loyal. She was my dog. I saved her at the Humane Society, and she knew I had her back. Through thick and thin that dog was with me. She left us entirely too early, and we sure do miss her. I remember the first medical issue the young pup had (or at least so I thought). She had an alien obstruction of the ear, it appeared. Smokey and Cheryl's dog Abby (Whom in fairness was equally important to me, and I have written about her before) were down in the backyard and Smokey came up shaking her head and favoring her ear. As a new Doggy Daddy I immediately thought the worst, and I remember thinking, "Who knows, she could have picked up some kind of horrible backyard parasite." I reacted with my normal cat-like reflexes and the focus of a Ninja. The sense of urgency I had would have made Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban proud. (Nick is the man, by the way..Roll Tide) I rounded up Smokey and put her in my old blue truck and called Cheryl on the way to the emergency vet. It became apparent that Smokey was fine before we arrived at the vet, and that was a good thing because the emergency vet was only open at nights and on weekends and this was time was neither of those. Cheryl said the sight of my truck pulling up with Smokey sitting in the middle with ears perked up was precious. I would agree. We would do anything for our kids. Even the furry ones.
Lines and wrinkles are not near as bad as some folks make them out to be. I've told stories about my father before, and his face was worn with hard work , raising a family, and life in general. He had some really good lines, and I bet I had something to do with a few of those wrinkles. To me those lines mean something, and I know if they could talk they cold tell me a thing or two. Cheryl has told me similar stories about her Grandma Kabama in Wisconsin. She had a face like my father's, and it had a lot of character. She told me that she used to love to look at her face, and she thought how "Beautiful" it was wrinkles and all. It goes to show you, I suppose, these lines aren't flaws there more like proof that you have done some living. Some good, some bad, but definitely, living and taking what life deals you. I love my lines. They're kind of like scratches on a pick-up truck, They add character.