1987: We become Parents

This is the year that we became parents. We spent the first part of the year setting up the nursery and getting ready for our little one. We found out around Valentine’s Day that it was going to be a boy. We had already selected the name, David, because it was a strong Biblical name.

You were focused on getting the car ready to bring him home safely, while I was focused on getting the nursery ready. You got all new tires and the car completely tuned up. I made the crib bumpers and blankets from Precious Moments fabric and balloons with the alphabet out of matching colors for the wall. The sheets were coordinating fabric as well. (It was always so special to me that you were proud of how “crafty” I was. You were my biggest cheerleader in everything.) And, of course, we bought the crib and a matching dresser for the room.

We thought it was special that David was due on our dating anniversary, June 15. However, his actual arrival was even more special – our wedding anniversary, June 4. I had worked on a cross-stitch as we traveled to Ashland over these past four years, and you had it professionally stretched and framed for me for our fourth anniversary. It still hangs in the family room of our home. But the joke was that I gave you the best present.

The second half of the year was spent taking care of our little miracle. We had planned for me to take the traditional six weeks maternity leave and then David would go to daycare. It is one of my favorite memories that my big, strong husband just couldn’t leave our son at daycare. The day I returned to work, you were to take David to daycare as my workday started before yours. You did drop him off, but then cried as you were driving away and went back to get him. (I can count on on hand the times I saw you cry, so this was big.) You took the rest of the day off and called to tell me that we needed to work things out so we could care for David on our own. Your part was to switch to nights so you could watch him during the day. And, you went without much sleep for the next six years to be the best Dad ever.

Arthur Young sent me on a trip for training and auditing soon thereafter. Mom came down to help with David. I missed you all so much that we decided that I would quit to be home with David and help you get more sleep. And, about this same time, we learned that I could make money by going back to school as a scholarship for parents who had graduated in the top 20% of the class was more than tuition. So, I went back to school to earn my education degree that Fall.

The holidays were more exciting this year, because we had a little one. We dressed David up for Thanksgiving as well as Christmas (and most days, really), and had one of the best Christmas celebrations, because it was David’s first.

1986

This was the year of our first house and the beginnings of our becoming parents.

You had always said that you wouldn’t want to have children until we had a house. We had been in Louisville for six months and had time to research where we wanted to settle down for a bit. We selected Jeffersontown, because I liked the feel of the area with the nice neighborhoods and proximity to downtown and you felt it would be a good investment as you sensed the area would develop more.

We had been trying since soon after we both landed those good jobs to be pregnant, but nothing had happened. And, in Spring 1986, I had a stroke. I was only 23, so I was hospitalized for a battery of tests. They determined it was hormonal. With the stroke and the almost a year of trying to grow our family with little result, we were directed to the Doctor’s. We selected Dr. Watson as our OB/Gyn and went for what we thought was regular check-up and follow-up from the hospital tests. Yet, Dr. Watson told us that the NAVY doctor had put me on too strong a birth control for my body, and he wasn’t sure if that could be repaired. We were devastated and elected to try anything. I was put on Clomid and instructed to do the most interesting exercises as we attempted the process for a baby. In late Fall, we had the best news. We were expecting!

Thoughout this time, we were house hunting in Jeffersontown. We found a beautiful 3 bedroom 1 /12 bath split-level at 8710 Avondale Court. We purchased it and moving in during the Summer. It seemed that God was smiling all over us – beautiful marriage, a child on the way, and a nice house. Our love story was growing and deepening with each day.

1985

For Valentine’s Day this year, you sent flowers as you always did. But, you also took me to the Ice Capades in Capital Centre.

The biggest thing that happened this year is that you had decided not to re-enlist, so we were getting out of the NAVY. I gave my notice to Dowell and Dowell in February to allow time for them to hire and for me to help transition and train. They were very gracious even though I had been there less than two years. They took me out to eat and gave me a bracelet as a good-bye gift.

You had 30 days leave, so we were able to leave Arlington on June 1 even though your last day was officially June 30. This was good, because you would still be paid through June and neither of us had a job yet. Even though we had put out applications within 180 miles of Ashland for several months, no jobs had transpired yet. So, we decided to settle in Louisville as the largest city in Kentucky for two reasons: (1) More opportunity for jobs, especially in IT as it was a new field at the time, and (2) We’d have a better chance of our children staying close when they grew up. Now, remember that these children hadn’t been born yet, but we were planning.

The NAVY came and packed up our furniture and delivered it to our apartment on Brownsboro Road. We stayed with Charlie and Mary for a few days when we first arrived, and they helped us select an apartment. We felt like we were really moving up now, because the cost of living in Louisville was so much less than Arlington. For about the same cost of our one bedroom in Arlington, we could now get a two bedroom – with air conditioning. Woo-hoo!

And, within less than two weeks after our arrival in Louisville, I got a job with Arthur Young – one of the “Big 8” accounting firms at the time. At about this same time, you were hired with Dairymen. You went the first night for orientation, but no one showed up to orient you. This happened for the next two nights, and you decided this company was just too disorganized to be a good fit for you. We had trusted God this far and continued to follow his leading. We talked often about how that was such a good decision as LG&E came along soon. So, by the end of June, we were secure in Louisville with jobs. We were convinced that was God.

One funny thing that I remember from this Summer is that you decided to have a yard sale with the stuff we had from Arlington and no longer needed. Now, remember, we were living in an interior apartment with no yard. Yet, because of your out-going personality and interpersonal skills, we did pretty well. I had teased and razzed you about this little escapade the whole time and was quite surprised when you proved me wrong.

Fall brought the end to my Grandpa Rardon’s life on September 29, 1985. We went with the rest of the family to Ravenswood, West Virginia for the funeral. We were the first to arrive as the others had farther to drive. The Riggs were coming from New York; the Earl Rardons from South Carolina, and the Edlers from Ohio. As the Edlers were coming in, you said to Dad, “Carl, here comes your sister.” You had never met Lois but she looked just like me. I thought it was funny that you recognized her right away.

Fall also brought Thanksgiving. We were now about 2 1/2 hours from Ashland, so we went there to celebrate. And, we returned to Ashland for Christmas for the traditional festivities.

Winter 1984

Winter brought in Thanksgiving. We celebrated this year by inviting all our NAVY friends that couldn’t afford to go home either. I baked a turkey and the fixin’s (stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, rolls, etc.) and spread it out on the small table we bought for our eat in kitchen and the kitchen counter top.

About 20 people piled in our little one-bedroom apartment with each bringing a covered dish or alcohol. We laughed that more brought alcohol. We crowded in the living room and kitchen, but it was nice just to be together with friends.

This is yet again another example of your reaching out to others to provide some sense of belonging that we all need. You were always so generous and giving!

For Christmas, we were able to go back to Ashland and celebrate with family. And the rest was daily life in Arlington, Virginia.