I’ve talked about both of my sons, then about my soap opera/train wreck, so today, I’ll tell you a little bit about my only daughter, Regina Marie. In the family we call her Gina. She grew up as Gina. Until high school she was Gina. Then she wanted to redefine herself. When she started high school, she became Regina, so all of her friends from high school on through the rest of her life know her as Regina. But to the family she will always be Gina.
She is my first, the volcanic baby who was so beautiful at birth that she never looked like a newborn. Just a lovely, pink and white miracle. Until we got home. Then she started screaming, screaming, red faced, looking me straight in the eye, screaming. At one week old I took her to the doctor, where of course, she smiled and cooed, and was pretty and pink, and the nurse took her around to all the other offices to show her off. The doctor told me she was fine and gave ME some pills.
Back at home the screaming started again, so I called my mom. Of course she came running, took one look and told me it was colic. After 7 of her own, mom knew colic when she saw it, and that baby, all scrunched up and screaming had colic. Mom called the doctor then. He put Gina on a formula, which she refused to take. He sent some red medicine which she refused to take. I put it in her formula, and she was finally hungry enough to take it, but she slept. Four hours in the afternoon. During which I had to cook, clean, and do laundry. At night she screamed.
The night I was walking the floor with her, crying as hard as she was, her dad raised his head from the pillow and lovingly asked me if I needed help. “Yes,” I sobbed. He got out of bed, went into the living room, and came back with a rocking chair. “Here,” said he. “Sit down and rock her for a while.” With that he climbed back under the covers and went back to sleep. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to throw the chair or the baby at him.
Gina grew up and grew out of the colic, acquired two baby brothers, thought both of them were her dolls, and after being disabused of that idea went on to play with other, more appropriate toys and/or other objects. On several occasions I had snapped at her the age old adage: “I hope some day you have a child just like you”.
Fast forward to college. University of Kentucky. Gina spent 5 years there in the undergrad programs, with 5 majors and 2 mnors. It wasn’t that she couldn’t make up her mind. She was very serious about each of them, and didn’t want to drop any of them, so as far as I know she just kept adding, and never dropped anything. Well, she may have dropped the Russian Area Studies. In her fifth year she met Bill, and it seemed to be love at first sight. Of course, it had seemed that way a couple of times before, but there was something special about Bill that was missing with the others. He got her out of the professional student mode and seriously into graduating.
After getting her Bachelor’s degree she decided to take a couple of years off, so she went to work recruiting for UK. She would call home and talk about the people she met in Eastern KY, and about the hollers up there, the beautiful scenery, the scary driving conditions in the winter. And after two years she called to tell us she had enrolled in the Master’s Program at Ohio State, Columbus, to be with Bill. He was working on his Doctorate by then, so she worked on her first Master’s.
One Sunday I got a tearful call telling me she was so homesick, she just wanted to come home. My first thought was “trouble in paradise”, but I calmly told her to come on, dinner would be waiting for her. It was quite a surprise when she and Bill walked in together, and even more when she extended her left hand to show me the engagement ring. I didn’t know she could fake the tears that well.
Gina and Bill were married in June of 1991. I remember the year so well. I was going to make her dress, and the bridesmaid’s dresses. BUT! On Jan. 3, 1991 I had the first of 4 surgeries in 5 months. We managed to travel over half the state looking for the patterns and the exact shade of KY blue for the dresses, but in the end my mom made Gina’s dress, I helped a bit with one bridesmaid dress, and I don’t really remember who made the rest. I do remember finally getting my dress, several sizes smaller than I was in January, around the first of June, and since my last surgery was toward the end of May, I was still in pain when we traveled to Lexington for the wedding. Someone had forgotten to turn the a/c on in the church and reception hall, so it was extremely hot, and with all of their friends crowded around I’m not sure I even got to hug the bride. The entire day is somewhat of a blur to me.
The following year I got another landmark call, telling me that Gina was taking a second Master’s course. Bill still had a year to go on his Doctorate and she had found a Master’s course that only took a year, so she was going for it. Then, finally, the big day. They were graduating. Don asked Gina if she was going to call Bill Doctor, and without any hesitation she answered “sure, as long as he calls me Master.” I don’t think that has happened yet.
So, for the photos above, we have Gina, with pink hair. I didn’t ask. Andrew. Again, don’t ask. Bill and Ethan in New Orleans, in 2012 when UK won the championship, and at the bottom, but certainly not the bottom of the list, twins, Anika and Laurie.
And lest I forget, soon after bringing Ethan home from Romania, Gina called me and asked if I remembered the day I cursed her. I was totally confused by that one. When asked to explain, she reminded me of the day I told her I hoped some day she would have a child just like her. While I laughed, she cried and told me the day had come. I’m sure she has said that to all of her kids by now, so the old adage will continue for another generation.