I’ve been a mother for fourteen years now. Today (or what’s left of it) is Collin’s birthday. Or as I like to think of it, today is the day my son makes all my college friends feel old.
Josh was finishing his last semester of college when we had Collin. I will say, being pregnant on a college campus is interesting. Especially a very pro-life, pro-family college campus. Babies were something to get excited about, and it was mostly just the professors wives having them. So when one of our own was having a baby – look out world!
Some things were predictable. Like “Name the baby after me!” being shouted at us as we walked across campus. Whether or not we knew their name, it was suggested to us. Oddly enough, it was one of these suggestions that got us the name Collin. See, Collin was going to be named Sean Edward (Edward for my grandfather.) Then one day, some guy said that to me, and I asked Josh afterwards “What is his name anyway?”
He said “Colin.”
I thought “Hmm…Colin Edward…that sounds really good!”
So we told Colin, who was surprised to hear his name was actually in the running. He’s the one who gave us the advice of spelling it with two L’s. A few years later while researching my grandmother’s family line, I found the name Collin as a first name. I’ve since joked that it was an old family name. But really, it was just some random guy from campus who inspired us.
Another funny bit was that Josh’s one theatre professor’s wife was expecting a baby at the same time we were. I have a great memory of sitting in the back of the theatre while the directing class watched “A Christmas Carol” as Beth (the professor’s wife) and I sat eating Tootsie Rolls. She had a giant bag of them leftover from Halloween or something. We sat there, eating one after another, when her husband looked at us and joked “Should you be eating all of those?”
Without missing beat, Beth looked at him and said “Of course. Chocolate is necessary for lactation.” I have quoted her on that since then.
The most annoying thing about being a pregnant gal on campus was all the stomach rubbing. Apparently I was Buddha and people had to rub my stomach for luck or something. Because it happened all. the. time. Complete strangers. People who thought they knew me but I had no clue who they were. Random strangers. Everywhere I went, people would go into ecstatic convulsions over my pregnant stomach sticking out and had to rush over to rub or pat it. Now Collin was a very kicky baby. He was also 9 lbs at birth and I’m short-waisted. So my stomach was huge. He would kick and kick and kick and it would hurt! So when he’d calm down, I was happy. One day, I strategically placed two chairs and a coffee table between me and the path people took through the student center, and plopped my tired gestating self on a sofa to wait for Josh. The baby had been kicking at my internal organs for a half an hour, but finally had stopped. A sense of relief washed over me. Finally! No more kicking! I propped my feet up on the coffee table and relaxed.
And then some girl I didn’t know came by, spotted my stomach protruding, , skirted around the chairs and table, patted my stomach as she stepped over my outstretched legs, and went on her merry way.
And the baby started kicking again.
And I found myself, for the first time, mad at someone for waking the baby. I did find the irony that I was mad at someone for waking the baby, and the baby was still in utero.
Collin was born on Good Friday, 1996, after two days of labor. Ironically, our professor’s wife gave birth to a son the same day as well. One of the cafeteria ladies heard the news and posted Collin’s birth announcement on the special’s board for all to see, which still makes me smile.
Looking back now, there were so many things about that pregnancy that would never happen anywhere else. Like getting chastised by frat guys on New Year’s Eve for stealing a sip of champagne (no really – they informed me how you shouldn’t drink alcohol while pregnant – it was very cute)…or having our two guy friends come over a week after Collin was born to clean our kitchen as payment for me feeding then every Thursday night.
Poor Collin – he never stood a chance at being normal! But I wouldn’t have had it any other way.