On Being A Parent

Brent was born Jan. 11, 1955, 4 ½ years after our marriage.  I was 33 and Maxine was 31 years old at the time of his birth.  Brent was our first and only.  Maxine was not supposed to get pregnant because of a childhood bout of lupus, but accidents do happen.

We had been so sure that we had been careful, that against my father’s objection, we had put our names to the Jewish Family Service that makes arrangements for adoptions.  We had been accepted after being checked out by a social worker who visited us at our home to see what a child might encounter if given to us.  When I called the agency after Brent was born, I was told that they had a newborn girl that they were going to call us about.

Maxine’s pregnancy had been a distressing period, because I was so fearful of losing her, but she was adamant bout going as long as possible towards delivery and she would brook no idea of having an abortion.  Thank God she was so adamant.

Maxine and I decided that my Father should have the honor of naming our son.  Dad was so pleased because Brent was his first grandson and he wanted his named after his father.  Ben-Tzion.  Maxine said O.K., but there were two other of my Father’s brothers who had named their first-born Benjamin (shortened, of course, to Ben) and we were going to name our son Brent Tzion.  His Hebrew name translated to Son of Zion.  My uncle Isadore, the oldest of the brothers, told me that he had wanted name his first-born Bentzion (in English) but Aunt Jenny had objected and his son was the first of the two named Ben.

As far as Maxine was concerned, Brent was her miracle baby and she treated him accordingly.  Actually the miracle part wore thin as he grew older and developed the croup. He cried so much day and night and couldn’t be soothed unless someone carried him.  When I was home after work, I could help out with the carrying, but at night I couldn’t hear the crying and Maxine went almost nuts from lack of sleep.  Finally, I agreed that on weekends, if she would wake me when Brent did, I would take over the task of  walking with him as needed.  Then the miracle did happen, that weekend Brent finally slept through the night.  Do you think he really knew what was happening and didn’t quite trust me?