Today is my son’s birthday, and I still marvel at his birth and life. Well meaning “friends” hinted that perhaps I was too old to have another baby. Certain family members wondered aloud if perhaps I didn’t already have enough on my plate. I KNEW, however, that I was meant to have another baby and that things would be fine for all parties. I well remember the afternoon when an adjunct psychology instructor with whom I had been sharing some of my “older mother” concerns put a positive twist on everything when he said, “This is going to be a special baby, one that will complete your life and be the child for your old age…the one to keep you young.”

Although the pregnancy was uneventful, there were some scary uncertain days around 11 weeks. Then there were the crazy things I did like participating in three 10Ks despite extreme heat.  And in those days, I was into running to set personal records, not jogging and walking for pleasure and exercise. Still, this tough baby hung on despite his mother’s strenuous activities and advanced age and was born on a beautiful Saturday morning. Even then, however, we weren’t “out of the woods” since there were some challenges because of the umbilical cord. As I’ve mentioned already, he was destined to be here, and I knew things would be fine.

The night of the 18th was a miserable one for me. Tossing and turning, I couldn’t seem to get comfortable and finally moved to the baby’s newly set-up room to catch a few zzzzz’s. About 3:00 o’clock in the morning, I was awakened by that familiar sensation of a contraction. “Can’t be,” I thought. “The baby isn’t due for two more weeks.” Fully awake, I tried to lie there calmly to see if this was a false alarm, and in about five minutes it happened again. I can still remember feeling excited, almost electrified with joy, because I knew and the baby knew (sort of) that the drama was about to unfold, and no one else knew. All were sleeping peacefully.

I finally awakened my husband and off to the hospital we went. When I heard the words, “It’s a boy,” I could hardly believe it, and yet there he was, all eight pounds and seven ounces of him. We had decided on Benjamin Paul for a boy’s name, but when his dad took his newborn son to the nursery and heard the nurse say, “Ah, look at little Benjie,” he quickly changed Paul to the first name.

Names are important, and although we had thought about naming him John Edward after both grandfathers, somehow that name lacked the zing and sound we wanted. I asked my friend June what some of her favorite boys’ names were, and she said she’d always liked Benjamin. Me too! After thinking about what would sound good with Benjamin, we decided on Paul. His dad and I were in agreement that we wanted a strong name, one that would underscore this child’s individuality.  Both of his names are those of people we admire from the scriptures, Paul of New Testament fame and King Benjamin from the Book of Mormon.

A bouncing baby boy no longer, this fine young man has served a two-year mission in Mexico and is an exceptional college student, a senior. This seems as good a time as any to remind him that he was meant to be here and that he has a special destiny.

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