Saturday, August 23, 2008

and next.......

comes Gabe. I went to see Dr. Nanni 2 days before my due date and he checked me and said...
"We must have won't deliver for a couple of're not ready." Honestly, I wasn't disappointed by those words, because frankly...I wasn't ready to have my first child. I didn't mind being pregnant and I was scared to death to be a mother and be responsible for another human being. That day I came home from work and started getting sick...I called my mom and told her that I thought I had eaten something bad or was getting the flu because I had cramps. She chuckled and informed me that I wasn't sick...I was having contractions. I had no idea...I was expecting labor to feel more like earthquakes (yah...I was young). I guess Dr Nanni was wrong too. I made it through the night, spent the majority of the next day at my moms and decided to head to the hospital that next evening. I didn't deliver Gabriel Marc until 4:10am and as soon as he was born, Mike went running out of the delivery room and down the hall way to announce to all family members waiting that we had a boy. He came trotting back down the hall way only to have the door shut in his can't just walk back in to a sterile room.

Thank Heavens for mothering instincts...because for someone who was so scared and unprepared to have a child, pure instincts sure kicked in. Even the once gross thought of nursing came easy to me. How could it not be...I had just given birth to the most beautiful baby ever born (the same thought I got each time I had a new baby). I was sure all mothers were jealous of me.

I think there is something about August babies, because Gabe too was very easy. The only trouble we had with him as a baby was when at 4 months I went back to work and he basically starved for the first several days because all he knew was nursing...we had never given him a bottle.

Being the first nephew and grandchild from the Rodriguez side...and the fact that Onitie Melinda had take up photography, Gabe was of course the most photographed baby ever. And I don't think he ever took a bad one.

Gabe sailed all the way through middle school with ease and was an allstar athlete. He played soccer one season, he played baseball through freshman year in high school and even gave wrestling a go. High school proved to be a very challenging time for was through those difficult years that he spread his wings and rebelled...and who could blame him considering all he went through. Being the oldest child at home, it was he who was often held responsible by Mike for the actions of his siblings. And for those who now know what those years were like in the Rodriguez house hold, you can only imagine the challenge Gabe went through to cope through those years.

Gabe's senior year in high school an Army Recruiter talked him in to considering joining the military. The thought of my child leaving home just about killed me, but it was a motivator to get him through school. He graduated and 3 weeks later at 3am, the Recruiter picked him up and took him to LA where he would wait until that late afternoon to board a plane to Fort Sill Oklahoma. The Recruiter promised me that Gabe would be able to give me a call to tell me when and where he was departing from. The call didn't come until 2pm and that call gave me just over an hour to drive to LAX, run through the terminal to one of the last gates on that row to find him 4 bodies from boarding the plane. It was at that very emotional moment that I gave him the letter that I had written to him a couple days after he was born.

That day was the very first day I came home from work to a completely empty house and pure panic engulfed me. I was so upset I had to track down a neighbor to calm myself. Gabe's departure was much more than just my first baby leaving my home, it was my support leaving the home, but I didn't blame him...didn't blame him at all. His departure made me realize that I wasn't doing my children any favors by keeping them in a negative, miserable situation. I found a new place and moved myself and the rest of the kids out 1 month later.

Gabe has always taken care of his mother. He sent me paperwork from his fist military bank account to be a signer, with a note attached saying..."dip in to it when ever you need to". Although I never "dipped", I kept that note as a reminder of the generosity of my son, and was most upset when the old wallet (with nothing else in it) was stolen out of the center console of my car just a couple years ago. Also...when we moved out we didn't have a a family we started a collection jar to save up for one. Christmas time was approaching and we had just enough to get a 19". Gabe came home on leave a couple days before Christmas, saw what we had purchased, took it back and bought us a 27" tv for Christmas.

Gabe had originally signed up for 3 years, 3 years turned in to 7 as he signed up to go abroad, where he lived in Italy for 4 years (he absolutely loved it and would love to live there some day). Shortly after he returned, he joined the National Guard and served another couple all in all, Gabe has served our country for 9 years.

It was in the National Guard that he met Rosie Gamez. I didn't want to like her when I first met her, but I'm not known for being a good judge of character. Rosie has turned out to be the most loving, hard working, supportive partner for Gabe. I love her dearly and love the beautiful grand daughter that she has given me (with #2 grand daughter on the way). Last year Gabe, Rosie and Mia moved out here to give Arizona a shot. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have family around.

Gabe, because you were the oldest and we were in the situation that we were in...I leaned on you and depended on you much more than is probably healthy. You went through a lot as a child and teenager and I know you harbor quite a bit of anger over the whole experience. I can't tell you how heavy the burden of guilt I carry for what I put you and your brothers and sisters through. I owe you a lot for taking care of me in a way that a son shouldn't have to. I am grateful every day for you and for all you do for me. I love your sense of humor, with your whit and ability to mimic just about any keep us all laughing. I'm very proud of you and of your family. I look forward to watching you grow as a person, a husband and a father.

Happy 29th Birthday my beautiful son....XOXO~ma

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