Randi Kreiss

Jason Kreiss at 50: Blessings on your head

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How is my son, Jason, like a MacDonald’s quarter-pounder?
They are both 50 years old this year. And, might I add, both awesome. Also 50 this year? Disney World, the Nasdaq, email, floppy disks, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Hamburger Helper.
Right up alongside my shock at being the mom of a 50-year-old is my shock that e-mail is only 50 years old. How is that possible? The day Jason was born, I couldn’t email anyone or send a text or snap a photo on my iPhone. That gizmo wouldn’t be launched for 36 more years.
When your child hits the half-century mark, attention must be paid. How did the little kid with mittens clipped to his jacket learn to drive a car, run a household, start a business? How did the boy who tracked seagulls overhead instead of the soccer ball find his way? What does it mean that he was born, and how does he see this gift of a life to live?
His story is his to write, but let me say what only a mother can get away with saying: He is a mensch, a loving family man, a loyal friend and a responsible earthling. These things I expect. What I could not have known when he was 6 pounds 9 ounces is that he is both a skilled, empathic lawyer and a dedicated fisherman. One is his profession, the other his passion.

You’d have to ask his kids what they think about his parenting, but I expect, like most teens, they’d give him a B today and an A when they turn 50.
You can see that I’m taking this landmark birthday seriously.
I was such a kid when he was born. Twenty-four years old. He was due on Halloween, and all that day I rested on the couch in our apartment, waiting for some sign and getting only annoying trick-or-treaters banging on the door. Clearly it was too late for second thoughts, but I began wondering what I wanted kids for anyway. They would just grow up to become annoying goblins beating at the door.
We had a crazy dog in those days, a toy poodle named Lambchop, who quickly became known as the Chopper due to his appetite for domestic goods. That day, while waiting for Jason to be born, I rested on the couch and apparently dozed off for some time, because when I woke up, my pant leg was gone. The Chopper had been gnawing on my cuff (in his favorite flavor, polyester), found a thread and unraveled the entire leg. It was a sign, but not the one I was looking for.
I thought Halloween would be my low point, but seven more days would pass before Jason’s birth. And every day I got bigger and more nervous.
On Nov. 6, I ate a large corned beef sandwich for dinner and went to bed early. At 4 a.m. on Nov. 7, my water broke, and my husband and I went into Birth Alert. In a scene reminiscent of a sitcom, my husband leapt up, cracked his head on the headboard and nearly lost consciousness. We immediately called our best friends, who were on call to drive us to the hospital, and told them we might need them within a few hours. They really appreciated that heads-up at 4 a.m.
“Don’t worry,” I reassured my husband, “it will be many, many hours before the contractions start. Go back to sleep.”
As he put his head back down on the pillow, I got a contraction. A big one. “Get up,” I said. 
“I think I just went to sleep,” he said.
“But I’m getting another contraction, and it’s only two minutes later,” I said. “It’s not supposed to happen like this. We better get to the hospital.”
Six minutes after we first called our friends, we called them back to pick us up.
Then the friend who drove told me what he said was the hardest thing he ever had to tell anyone in his life: “I have to stop for gas.” He was on empty.
It was a wild ride, but we got to Long Island Jewish Hospital at about 5:30 a.m. Forty minutes later, our son was born.
We named him Jason Wyatt and he will be 50 years old next week. To us he’s still a kid, still evolving. But the early results are promising.

Copyright 2021 Randi Kreiss. Randi can be reached at randik3@aol.com.

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