Saturday, September 6, 2014

Birthdays, Birthdays...So Many Kids, So Many Birthdays

Unlike most people, my first thought when I wake up isn't, "Coffee! I need coffee!" As a father of 14 children my first thought each morning is, "Is it one of my kids' birthdays today?" Now I usually can't make that determination until after I've had my morning cup o' joe, but quite often the answer is, "Yes." Today is one of those days. Our son Abram turns 15 today. So join me in wishing him a happy birthday.

Birthdays in the Sabo house are pretty cool. For one thing, we don't have to throw a big party because, well, it already is a big party. He already has 13 of his closest friends, in this case brothers and sisters, at his party. Our birthday tradition runs like this: We let the birthday kid pick out where he or she would like to eat dinner or lunch and the treat's on us. We have a cake, typically a fairly big cake, open some presents, -- our parental expenditure budget on birthdays is around $20; if those in the Sabo house who have a regular income choose to get a present for the birthday kid, then that's their prerogative and often times they do -- sing the birthday song and generally enjoy the festivities.

I distinctly remember Abram's birth. Now that I think about it, I distinctly remember the births of all the kids. I remember Eli was born at night when I was trying to watch the women's gymnastics competition during the Olympics in 2004. The U.S. women were going for the gold when Julie got serious about. I politely asked her if she could hold on just a little longer because the U.S. women were going for the gold ... just kidding! I said no such thing. May not have even thought it ...

In September 1999, I was commuting from Prineville, Ore., to Corvallis, Ore., after taking a job over in the Willamette Valley as a correspondent for The Oregonian. It was a three-hour drive and I would leave Prineville on Monday morning for the lovely cruise over the Cascade Mountains and come back Friday evening. Julie was due right around Labor Day, Sept. 6, and on that particular day I remember giving her something of an "ultimatum." I explained to her that if she didn't have the baby soon, I would be leaving for Corvallis first thing in the morning. So, you know, things needed to get going.

So Julie took matters into her own hands. Or womb. I remember going for a brisk walk around the block with her when she started going into serious labor. It was late in the afternoon and our midwives -- Abram was among the stretch of Sabo wee ones born at home -- we're having trouble making it to Prineville on time. So I started boiling water, cutting sheets and doing things doctors do. Just kidding! I believe I prayed fervently that the highway traffic would part like the Red Sea for our midwives.

They made it on time and Abram was born late in the afternoon, a whopping 8 lbs., 13 oz. and the chunkiest Sabo on record. It was a difficult birth and Julie hemorrhaged and I remember feeling helpless. The midwives were able to slow the bleeding with doses of Pitocin before we had to rush her to the hospital, which was literally a block away. I thank the Lord that Abram and Julie were fine.

Fifteen years later Abram is a wonderful son. He is kind, gentle, helpful, responsible an amazingly skilled Legos contractor, a faithful servant at church and very good with our little ones. One thing in particular I love about him is that every night I can find him in a quiet spot reading his Bible. At 15 he is one of the wisest people I know.

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