Today I said goodbye to my little girl, who will be a mother the next time I see her. Emily is not the normal mother-to-be. Not asking for help for the little things, other than the amazingly large belly housing her son well out in the open, you wouldn’t know she was pregnant. The most obvious was her competing in events every weekend in freestyle kayaking. Just yesterday she toke home a victory against fellow USA Team members and current world champion, Claire Ohara who beat her at the last world championships. Watching that victory, with Emily choosing her ride carefully, doing only the moves she was comfortable doing in her condition and that didn’t strain her stomach too much. In the scheme of things there are few sports that require more ab muscles than freestyle kayaking. Emily managed to paddle from the time she was first pregnant, through 9 months pregnant. Her last big event and victory turned quickly into packing the Sprinter Van with Nick and heading straight home to our house in Rock Island. Her and Nick hope to get home before she goes into labor. Her due date is in 3 weeks, but the doctors think her baby might be further along than they originally thought. She wants to use a natural birthing center and they require that she make it one more week along or she’ll have to go to a hospital. Those are the facts…
Emily is a special mother-to-be. She is a shining example for women showing how much a woman can really do if they want to while pregnant. Sure there are plenty of special circumstances, like my wife, Kristine who is prone to having pre-mature babies and had bed-rest for both Dane and KC due to complications and the boys wanting to be born too soon (Dane was at 28 weeks and KC at 32). Traveling around in their van, competing in the Southeast, Colorado, Idaho, and training daily, Emily is strong. She is strong mentally and physically and ready for whatever she will soon be facing. Nick, was certainly cautious and wanted Emily to hold back, to not do anything dangerous to the baby, like boatercross this weekend. Emily decided to do it anyhow, but to wait for the girls to get ahead and not go into the hole with them. I couldn’t help but to smile.
This morning the reality hit me. Emily and Nick were packed up and loading up the dogs. Emily came over to say goodbye. She was just Emily, pregnant, but her baby tucked away and I have never met him. The next time I would see her, she would be holding her baby, my grandson. She will be a mother. She will be raising her own child. I am still a father and Kristine still a mother to Emily today. Not that she needs us, but we have never been separated by more than 30 days and are usually together every day. Parents will do what parents have always done, try to teach their children, and take care of them. Emily, however, manages to take care of me, too, and has done so since she was about 10. She is my reminder, my “did you call mom?, did you do this or that? do you need some money? Do you need some food?” She has the motherly instinct, much like her mom. She is also very conservative as a mother-to-be. Hard to believe with her paddling while pregnant, but I expect that between her and Nick this first baby of hers will be well protected. I can’t believe we are so close now.
What will change with her and Nick after the baby is born? Everything and Nothing I think. Parenthood changes your outlook on things instantly, assuming you are taking responsibility for your child. Taking care of a baby isn’t easy, and many things can go wrong, while at the same time they are quite resilient. I think we’ll see my grandson being passed from mother to father, and back again, and then to grandma, who will try not to give him back. I will get a shot at holding him, but I doubt Emily and Nick will pick me for babysitting. We’ll see. Why? Because I like it that way. I’ll delegate to KC and he’ll have magic marker all over him. Hmm…
I can’t wait to see what they call the baby… Beau Jack Troutman? (bojack is a type of trout- and said properly it is a bad ass southern sounding name.. add the French spelling and you have Canada too!) Maybe he’ll use my name that I couldn’t convince Kristine to call KC… Sir Finn Jackson. “Just call me Sir.” J
Well- Kristine and I are on our way to Canada, Emily and Nick on their way to TN. I am expecting to see her at the end of the month after I do Jessie’s kid’s camp and the Triple Crown in CT. Can’t wait!
A new Jackson chapter about to start- becoming a grandfather, Kristine a Grandmother, Emily a mother, Nick a father, and Dane and KC become Uncles. Can’t wait!
Here is a family video that seems so old new, but only a few years old, Emily was far from a mother then… fun to see her like that again, but looking forward to her being a mother!