“Hello, my son
Welcome to Earth
You may not be my last
But you’ll always be my first.”
— Sturgill Simpson lyrics, “Welcome to Earth”
It is a wonderful chapter in our lives: Our son now has a newborn son.
On the day the baby arrived, we all were so excited to learn if we would be greeting a boy or a girl, as they had chosen to be surprised. Names, too, were kept under wraps.
When Cort introduced us to the tiny baby boy, he moved us to tears with the name he had chosen, honoring my Dad by using his middle name as the baby’s first name.
This first-born son will be a strong man of leadership one day if the age-old native belief holds true. The first born son to a first-born son, whose father and both grandfathers and great-grandfathers were first-born sons, will carry the wisdom of the ages forward.
My father was born in the family home in 1932 and named after the minister who prayed for his safe arrival and the doctor who delivered him.
Stanley Marshall Young grew up with the realization that family meant everything. He loved being a father, and later found a way to spend as much time with his grandchildren as he possibly could, mostly by including them in his farm and tractor work, and sharing sweet treats from his lunch box in one of the tractor cabs.
My son was about to turn 9 when his dear grandfather died at age 63, and holds vivid memories of a beloved man. When the work was done, Cort remembers playing Chinese Checkers with his grandpa, or sitting with him as they looked through books about tractors and toy tractors.
For those of you who have read my column for many years, you will know that my son has suffered through serious health issues from long-undiagnosed Lyme Disease and other tick-borne disease. Soon to be married six years, he and his wife, Karen, had reached a sorrowful acceptance that parenthood likely was not to be.
Earlier this year, scheduled and prepped in the hospital for a minor surgery, Karen was told the surgery would need to be canceled.
“Why?” my son asked, naturally a bit miffed.
“Because she is pregnant!” was the happy reply from their doctor who wanted to be the one to break the good news.
On the day the baby was born, Cort said to his father and me, “Let me introduce you to Marshall,” and as he placed the baby boy in my arms, things grew a bit hazy from tears of joy.
In the song written and performed by Sturgill Simpson which opens this column, tribute is paid to his own newborn son by using sentiments from a love letter his grandfather wrote to his grandmother from the South Pacific in World War II, feeling certain he would never return home to raise his own baby.
“I’ve been told you measure a man by how much he loves. When I hold you I treasure each moment I spend on Earth, under Heaven above…..and holding you is the greatest love I’ve ever known.”
In a gift of an Allis-Chalmers toy tractor to our newborn grandson Christmas morning, my mother enclosed a note to him.
“Your parents gave you the name of a very good man. You are tiny but mighty, just a few days old. Swaddled in the love of many generations, I wish you a wonderful time as you grow, collecting your own tractors and writing your own life story.
“Have lots of fun along the way and always have a kind heart. See the wonder, magic and majesty in the world! This will take you on a memorable, commendable life’s journey.”
And now, his journey begins.
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