January 11, 1986 was one of the happiest days of my life. January 11, 1986 was one of the saddest days of my life. Every January 11 since 1986 was been a day of celebration. Every January 11 since 1986 was been twinged with "what if?" January 11, 1986 started out earlier than most days. About 2 o'clock in the morning, my wife woke me, saying she thought she was in labor. Now, she wasn't due until March, so I said what every loving, concerned, intelligent man would say, I told her to go back to sleep. She did what every submissive, patient, loving wife would do, she called her mother. Her mother responded, what are you calling me for, you should be on your way to the hospital. So off we went. The hospital was about thirty minutes away via the expressway. I remember speeding along the expressway, hoping a policeman would pull me over, so I could say, "My wife's having twins!" Then he would say, follow me! And I would fly behind a police escort all the way to Christ Hospital. No such luck.
Side note. On the day I found out that we were having a multiple birth, I did wreck our brand new car. I can still recall the details vividly. I was driving down the road and noticed that a cup of pop had soaked through and filled our holder with pop. So as I was trying to clean it up with some Kleenex, I wasn't watching the road. Like it was in slow motion, I looked up to see that I had missed a slight curve and was headed straight for a telephone pole. I can remember glancing to my left and seeing a man watering his lawn and watching me head for the pole. I remember thinking, he must think I am an idiot. I hit the pole head on, snapped it in half. Live wires were draped over the hood. I wasn't wearing my seat belt, and it was before airbags, but by the grace of God I wasn't too badly injured. Sprained wrists (bent the steering wheel) and stitches in a busted chin. The man ran over and said he had called the police, but he wasn't going to touch the car (totaled by the way) because of the wires. Eventually they got me out with the "jaws of life." The EMTs insisted on a neck brace and a back board on the way to the hospital, in spite of my protests. In the ambulance I asked them if they were going to check my underwear. Mom always said to wear clean underwear, you'd never know when you might be in an accident. I was quite disappointed to find that they didn't check to make sure. All that laundry for nothing.
Sharon's OBYGN meet us at the hospital. He said that being six weeks early, that they would give her medicine in an IV to stop the contractions and hopefully buy more time. So they started the meds. Later he came in with a portable sonogram machine to check on the babies. He grew very quiet. He kept going over the same area. He looked puzzled. Eventually he said that these small machines weren't very accurate (sonograms then looked nothing like today's!) and that he was sending us downstairs to the big machine. They wheeled Sharon downstairs with me following. For a reason I have never understood, the technician made me wait outside, as she did the exam. I waited in the hallway for a long time. Suddenly she came rushing out of the room and ran down the hall. When she returned she was with two doctors. A few minutes later the doctors came out into the hallway. "Mr. Wilson, your wife is having triplets." We were expecting twins. They continued, "One of them is not viable." I replied, "You mean one is dead?" "Yes and we need to deliver the others immediately because they are in distress." Cynthia Suzanne was stillborn. Jacqueline Nicole and Lauren Danielle were born at 3 lbs and 4 oz but otherwise healthy. Six weeks later we brought them home. And now they are gone, with families of their own. Six and a half years later God gave us a son, Christopher Brett. They won't admit it, but every dad wants a boy. God gave me a fine son and I am proud of him.
When the twins were about three years old and we were living in another state, The OBGYN that delivered the twins called our home. He said that one of the doctors who had assisted him in the birth of the girls had recently died of AIDS. He felt that it would be prudent for Sharon to be tested for the virus. So we went to the doctor for her to have an AIDS test. This was in the early days of the AIDS scare, everybody was terrified of the word. The test had to be sent to the lab and the results would take a few (nerve wracking) days. A few days later, the phone rang at my office at church. Why they rang that number I do not know, but they asked for Sharon Wilson. I said this is her husband. The person calling replied that she had the results of the test, but that she could not tell me! I had to have Sharon call. We lived in a parsonage. I remember walking from the church to my house with a lump in my throat. One thought was in my head. If it had been good news, the lady would have told me. Since she had to tell Sharon, it must be bad news. It was the longest walk of my life. Nonchalantly I walked in the door and said, Oh yeah, the doctor called, you are supposed to call them back. No big deal. I didn't tell her I was nauseous with worry. She called, everything was fine, praise the Lord.
Christopher has always been very insightful. He is a thinker. When he was five years old, the church was in the process of selling our property and relocating. The membership had given an unanimous vote to proceed. A man started coming during this time, who was not a member and was very vocal about his belief that we should not be wasting money on a new building. One evening during a Bible study, he used the opportunity to express publicly his disagreement with the church's direction. I finally had enough. After the service I asked him and the deacons to join me in my office. I proceeded to explain to him in no uncertain terms that what he has just done was inappropriate and also that since he was not a member it was none of his business. I then told him to keep his mouth shut or do not come back to the services. After everyone left my office, I found Christopher hiding under my desk! He had heard the whole ordeal. On the way home, he said to his mom, "Daddy talked to that man like he was his daddy!"
When he was younger, Christopher was fascinated by that fact that my job was at the church. He realized this was not normal. He asked me how I got paid. I told him that I got a paycheck just like everybody else. He wanted to know where the paycheck came from. I told him the church paid me. How did the church pay me? I told him that the men took up the offering and the treasurer deposited it in the bank and then wrote me a check. That week he was over at the house of a couple in the church. They wanted to order pizza, but didn't have any cash. Christopher said, why don't you do like my daddy does for cash, he gets it out of the offering plate!
Christopher and I went to see the movie Valkyrie recently. It is a true story about a failed assassination attempt on Hitler. On the ride home he asked me what I thought the effect would have been on the war if the plot had succeeded. I said, not much, some lives saved, but the war was almost over by that time, so not a huge difference. He said I was wrong. If the assassination had been successful and Germany had surrendered then, Russia would have never made it to Germany and there would have never been a Berlin Wall or a communist East Germany, and the U.S.S.R would have been radically altered. Wow. I told you he was a thinker.
I was reading a book in which the author was making the point that TV executives were in the business of selling viewers, not commercials. The commercials sell themselves (i.e. The Superbowl) if there are enough viewers. So what really was being sold was us. I had never thought of it that way. That day, as Christopher and I were driving somewhere, I told him I had read something that was profound. I asked him, what are TV executives selling? He thought for a moment and then replied. Us. I said what? He said yea, if we aren't watching, nobody is going to purchase commercial time, so they aren't selling commercials, they are selling us. Little brat.