Humor Non-Fiction posted September 18, 2016

This work has reached the exceptional level
Embarrasing moment #928923 when meeting JFK's nephew.

I Birthed Him!

by Mary Wakeford

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

Mordrid, I must remind you that I am a civilized man. With occasional lapses."
      -King Author of Camelot

Every now and then, my inner thoughts don't always come across in the spirit they were intended when they spill out of my mouth.

For example, yesterday having already hit the MVD's "take a number and wait forever" with my two year old grandson in tow, knew I was pushing the envelope by stopping at SteinMart on the way home to fetch a birthday gift.

As I approached the checkout registers thirty minutes later with a screaming toddler attached to my leg, I noticed a long line of people waiting behind a roped off area and sign reading LINE FOR SALES EXTRAVAGANZA EVENT.  As I approached one of two peeps working the registers, basically cutting thirty people, I blurted over the meltdown screaming of the toddler below me, "Is that the line for everyone (pointing to the throngs of people), or are they participating in something special, because my grandson is about to lose it and I need to check out fast, I don't have any extravaganza coupons to use."  You would have thought I thought I was a Kennedy from the looks I received from both sales clerks..."Seriously lady, get to the back of the line, you're not special, nor is the screaming kid attached to your left leg."  In short, I'm a blurter.

As I contemplated the genre for this story from the list of options, I was torn between:
  • Horror and Thriller -- to my son, daughter, husband, JFK's nephew, and everyone else in the room--horror, or so I've been told.
  • Nature -- Because there's nothing more natural than natural childbirth.
  • Humor -- From a hindsight perspective, perhaps.
I chose humor.  You will be hearing from my inner voice, Brunhilda, throughout the story. This story of 'us' made her top ten wicked funny list.

a.  the time when a baby comes out from the body of its mother
b.  the beginning or origin of something
--used to describe the kind of family a person comes from
3.  parentage, ancestry, line, blood, family
6.  start, commencement, inception, genesis, launching, inauguration.
-Source Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Perhaps I should have gone with inauguration instead of birthed in my intro.  It would have worked nicely considering the presidential theme to my epic Faux Pas three years ago.

There is an app called TimeHop. It's icon is a cartoon dinosaur who pops up multiple times every day with a reminder to view photographs taken on that date since inception of the account.  My account was 'birthed' seven years ago.  

I'm an incessant amateur photographer with an emphasis on incessant vs. great.  My dinosaur seems to have A.D.D.  He's constantly interrupting my creative flow with his flippin' reminders.  Today's photo stroll became fodder for this writing.

I'm known among family and friends as an annoying serial shooter.  I document almost every event, moment, or "Oh look, a squirrel!" sightings to the degree I max out my available data each month which clogs up the functionality of my phone. I take a lot of heat for being the official Wakehouse photographer.

Our son received word three years ago that JFK's nephew, Dr. Tim Shriver, was traveling to Arizona for a Special Olympics fundraiser, and requested to witness the Unified program our son had a hand in developing for students at Raymond S. Kellis High School.  Dr. Shriver's visit created quite a stir on campus, within the district, and among family and friends.  We would learn Michael's innovative program had been on Shriver's radar for some time, after achieving national acclaim.

It was going to be an exciting day, and guess who my son called to be the official White House EEEERK
Wakehouse photographer? That's right, m'wa--his father would man the camcorder. Once we negotiated the terms of 'for free', we were joined by his sister, at the time a twenty-one year old college student. 

In retrospect, I may have affected the prospect of future 'Wakehouse' grandchildren by three when introducing myself to the president's nephew.  "Hello my name is..." went from my mouth to my daughter's ears, then straight to her ovaries rendering them in lockdown mode. To say she was psychologically damaged would be an understatement.  Brunhilda got a kick out of the expression on her face as it all went 'downtown'.

We arrived at the high school well ahead of Dr. Shriver's scheduled appearance.   I positioned myself for perfect lighting, angles, and vantage point which involved hustling a few teenagers out of direct line of the lens on my Samsung Tablet since my phone camera was maxed out on data, and wouldn't hold a charge.

The school lobby and campus were decorated with festive signs welcoming Dr. Shriver.   A patriotic balloon arch bobbed with excitement as if mimicking the assembled mob.  It's not every day a rose from America's Camelot visits a school campus in the desert.

A dark unremarkable sedan carrying American royalty eventually rolled up curbside and our son joined his  principal in greeting Dr. Shriver, and two executives of Arizona's chapter of Special Olympics as they entered the building.  A swarm of buzzing tree-sized adults, teenagers and parents closed in on the celebrity, immediately blocking my viewfinder.  Brunhilda wished my shortness at least came with a booming voice that could be heard over the din.  I was batting zero for two.  Jump shots apparently work best in basketball, as I have a lot of blurred Shriver's in my gallery.  I don't excel at hang time.  I should have considered stilts as Brunhilda quipped, "I HATE being short!!"

Following Dr. Shriver's gracious comments to the crowd acknowledging the warm welcome, he was ushered into a conference room off the lobby with approximately twenty staff members made up of the special education department and school administrators who would provide him with a brief overview of the afternoon's agenda, set to "launch" a few minutes away.

In the flurry of ushering, my husband, daughter and I were asked to join in the cattle call by someone other than our son in the conference room.  Michael knows better.  You should know Brunhilda just snickered.  It was about to get cra-cra awkward!

So there we were, packed like sardines in a conference room with a "Kennedy" who in my opinion greatly resembles his maternal uncle, the 35th U.S. President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  

My son was postured across from us, at the far end of a long conference table.  My daughter and husband, settled in to my right.  The school principal stood between me and "The Shrive".

I knew Michael had put a lot of late night hours into creating the presentation, inclusive of a video program highlighting the Kellis Unified Program and their endeavors, on fairly short notice. Part of his presentation included speeches by parents of his students, and co-ed partners.  I could see the signs of diminished sleep and stress of perfectionism percolating within his withers, a marker in our family gene pool.

The ga-ga vibe in the room being in the presence of American presidential history was causing me to feel uncomfortable, I couldn't imagine what it was doing to my son who would be taking stage in a few minutes.  Brunhilda remarked "this explains a lot about Presidential conventions,"  before suggesting we shake things up to ease the tension.  It seemed like sage advice at the time.

As Pets on Parade continued, Shriver was the Great Pyranese puppy everyone was drooling over. It was getting weird.  Sensing the awkward energy could affect the quality of the presentation just minutes away, it was necessary for mama bear to change things up. The proverbial tea kettle was whistling Dixie and needed a release.  A stroke of comic relief might be just do the trick.

Once the conference room door closed, we were asked to take turns introducing ourselves and position at the school. This was already going to be awkward for mom, dad and sissy. We were just the photographers. Shitty, short ones at that. The Wakeford trio already felt out of our comfort zone which was about to take a nosedive in 3.2.1.  

The closest I've been to a president is I went to grade school with a guy who now prepares Senator John McCain's taxes. That's the extent of my six degrees and five decades of separation. Fast forward fifty years and I was one person away from Camelot's RoseKennedy bush; the oval office, Martha's Vineyard, Jackie O, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Macaroni the White House pony.  The guy to my left probably rode Macaroni more than a few times around the White House Rose Garden.

As the mundane but honorable,  "I am so-and-so and I teach special education" intro's circled the drain, Brunhilda and I ran through some things we could say to make people laugh and get them off the gaping stares directed toward "Kenn-e-doll".  

It was my husband's turn.  I was two peeps away from looking at this man, JFK's nephew, who shared the heritage of being raised in Massachusettes, like my own mother.  My heart began pounding so hard I could barely hear Brunhilda yelling, "Say it, say it, and don't stutter like you tend to do when you get nervous--say it loud, and say it proud!!"

"I'm Roger Wakeford.  I'm Michael Wakeford's father."  B.O.R.I.N.G. Followed by "I'm Emily Wakeford, Michael Wakeford's baby sister." Cute, still boring.  Brunhilda snored before rolling her eyes, suggesting I needed to spice things up, repeating the mantra, "SAY IT AND SAY IT PROUD, SAY IT LOUD, SAY IT PROUD!!"  So I did.  

Ten seconds later, I wished I was back in my mother's womb after taking Bruni's bait. I opened with "Hello, my name is Mary Wakeford, and--I birthed him"  pointing in the direction of my son, the second rockstar in the room.  I may have even curtsied as I gestured toward him.
I remember hearing an audible gasp to my right; an "Oh my God" to my left; a "She did NOT just say that" statement somewhere in between; and though I couldn't identify the source, someone was laughing hysterically--that person was from my tribe.  

I definitely changed up the energy, but judging from the mass exodus from my personal space and gaping expressions, I made it even worse. Brunhilda suggested "That sounded so much better up inside our head than on delivery.  It didn't go over as well as it could have--maybe you shouldn't have curtsied"   

As my face reddened and my innards began coagulating with the failed delivery, I looked at my birthing product poised across the room.   He immediately broke out with the most delightful grin and downcast eyes as if to say, "Oooops, she did it again."

Dr. Shriver, in a gesture reminiscent of his uncle, brought his left hand over his dropped head, downcast eyes and thick dark brown hair as if trying to unsee the medical scene and stirrups I had conjured up with my selfie-intro.

It was obvious the entire room needed bleach for their brains to un-see mama Wake's intro.  My son's principal, a quick thinker, looked at me and said
"So you're taking ALL the credit for Michael???" I nodded in the affirmative, and motioned toward my hubs who was standing stoic and staring straight ahead like a dead man.  I added perkily, "With an assist by" as I gestured this time toward ole' dead-eyes, minus a curtsy.

Between episodes of stifled nervous laughter circling the room, Brunhilda suggested that I stop talking, immediately.

Soon after my birthing share, the meeting room door opened causing my inside body temperature to drop forty degrees when the flow of forced air-conditioning wrapped my now menopausal birthing vessel as Dr. Shriver was whisked out of the room by my son, the principal and imagined Secret Service agents that appeared out nowhere.  

As they began their walk of fame across campus toward the auditorium through the tunnel of bobbing balloons and hordes of cheering students, parents and teachers, I began my walk of shame alone, having been ditched by the Wakehouse husband and daughter.  

As I walked to the auditorium, Brunhilda tried to convince me that although it didn't come across as planned, it really wasn't that bad on a scale of 1 to 928923 in my vast catalog of most embarrasing moments, adding I never once stuttered throughout my hot mess intro.  

When I arrived inside the darkened hall, I sensed nineteen pairs of sideways eyes watching me carefully with horrified expressions.  As I scanned the tiered darkness, I spotted my youngest birthing down in front; sitting poised, now psychologically damaged in row three, seat 17.  I settled in quietly beside her, leaned in and whispered, "On a scale of one to ten, how bad was my introduction to Shriver?" She turned to me with the most horrified look on her face and said, "Mom, that was so gross!!!!  It was NOT funny!!!!  I was MORTIFIED!!!!"  

A few minutes later, my husband settled in on the other side of our daughter. Brunhilda pushed for a second opinion,  so I leaned across Emily and whispered to my husband, "Hey, was it really bad what I said back there?  I was just trying to change up the weird energy."  He didn't hear me, so I had to repeat my question.  At the point of the question mark, he stopped me short with "Oh my God, what were you thinking??? Everyone in that room had a visual of you with your legs spread popping out a baby for God's sake!!!!  You definitely succeeded in changing up the energy---you made it fucking weirder!!!!"  I gasped. Brunhilda started laughing uncontrollably, a typical nervous reaction for us.  I thanked him for his input as I leaned back into my chair wishing I could unbirth myself.


As I conclude this story, I had the thought to check out the dictionary known for its crass humor--The Urban Dictionary.  On a slow day, I highly recommend you do the same. Start with your birth name--being sure to scroll through all the interpretations of it.  It will knock your socks off.  Just like I did in a packed conference room three years ago today, according to a pesky little dinasaur with A.D.D.  

birth  (Urban Dictionary)
1.  The beginning of a very long death
2.  When you are shot out of beaverville

Alrighty then.

As it turns out, my son thought it was hilarious; Dr. Shriver returned to the high school a second time last year with his team of Special Olympics executives to witness the magic at Kellis.  Our son, Michael, and a few of his inspirational students received a mention in Dr. Shriver's book, Fully Alive, Discovering What Matters Most.



Reference to everything rose was intended. Rose Kennedy was the patriarchal "birth" mother to the Kennedy family.
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