Saturday, July 16, 2005

Matthew Stanley MacNair

I had a brilliant plan. I knew that with the dawning of the year 2000 just around the corner, any child lucky enough to be the first baby born in their communities would make out like bandits. There isn't anything a manufacturer of baby-related goods loves more than to get their name out before the public. So... Laura and I were planning on starting a family anyway- why not make it our goal to have the baby on January 1st, 2000?

Laura's biology didn't cooperate with my material desires. We found out we were expecting in June of 1999, with an E.T.A. of February 2000. Man, a guy just can't cut a break :)

I've already told the story of how the pastor's wife at Victory Baptist Temple was disappointed that we hadn't consulted her husband before making this decision. Throughout the pregnancy my thoughts came back to the environment at Victory and how my son would be raised there. And it made me increasingly uncomfortable. I was taking this fatherhood thing seriously. I wanted to be a person my son could respect. I didn't want my son to hear one thing from the pulpit and another thing at home. I especially didn't want my son to be a blind follower of anyone. I wanted him to think and reason things out, something that wasn't likely to happen in an independent Baptist environment where the preacher did no wrong. So we left.

We had decided early on that if we had a son we would name him Matthew. His middle name, Stanley, is in honor of my grandfather Arthur Stanley MacNair Jr., specifically, as well as my great-grandfather and my father, both of whom had the middle name of Stanley as well. My grandfather was an American Baptist minister for over 50 years. He was a compassionate man, an educated man, an important man who always had time for his family. There aren't that many people in my life who have earned my respect, but Grandpa Mac will always be one of those people. He has been dead for 9 years but I haven't stopped missing him. If my son grows up to be half the man that his great-grandfather was I will be a happy man.

Laura went into the hospital on Monday night, January 31st, 2000. The plan was to induce labor on Tuesday morning. Seeing how nothing was happening that night, I went home to watch wrestling and came back in the morning. All vestiges of Laura's modesty were stripped away, and the waiting began. Contractions came, contractions went...but no baby. February 1st came and went- the first day.

Second verse- same as the first. Hours went by. Finally, after 30 hours of labor without a baby to show for it, they decided to do a C-section. The baby would be born on Groundhog Day. I cracked a joke to the effect that if the baby saw his shadow there would be six more weeks of pregnancy, but it didn't go over very well. They wheeled her away and came to get me an hour later.

When I went into the operating room my wife was on the table, her arms stretched out, a curtain hanging just below her chest. Her abdomen had been cut straight across and the skin stretched open, and there was blood. The Discovery Channel had not adequately prepared me for how cool this would be. I mean, you think you know your spouse, but you really don't know her until you see her guts, you know? A short while later the doctor pulled this purple, rubbery looking human out of the depths, and my first thought was "oh my God, there was a baby in there!" Matthew Stanley MacNair entered the world at 2:25 PM, out of a window instead of the door.

Out on the ocean sailing away
I can hardly wait
To see you to come of age
But I guess we'll both just have to be patient
Yes it's a long way to go
But in the meantime
Before you cross the street
Take my hand
Life is just what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans
Beautiful Boy
---John Lennon, "Beautiful Boy"


Blogger carpediem said...

Hello Mr. MacNair, I'm thankful for your post. I googled pastor A. Stanley MacNair and yours was one of the few links that listed. Evidently, it was your grandfather that baptized me back in 1953 at the University Baptist Church in Seattle, WA. The Certificate of Baptism lists A. Stanley MacNair as the pastor so hopefully your grandfather is the same person.

My dad was in the Navy & stationed in Seattle from 1951 to 1953. At the age of 11, I believed in Jesus & took the big plunge literally. As a young impressionable kid at the time, I can still remember the occasion due to the enormity of the event. It was a big decision but one that was right for me then as well as for eternity. I can still picture being baptized by your grandfather & the large baptismal.

I was touched by the admiration & love you have for your grandfather. I also enjoyed the story of your son Matthews' birth, best regards & God bless.

11:38 PM  

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