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Two Life-Changing Events

On this date in history, several important events occurred. Columbus landed on San Salvador, discovering the New World in his quest to reach the East by sailing west. That event, of course, was first celebrated in the United States on this date in 1792.

More than a hundred years later, the song “Three Blind Mice” was published in London. But that was by no means an earth-shattering, life-changing event, unless you were one of the three sightless rodents.

And in 1859, Emperor Norton I issued an edict abolishing the U.S. Congress. Maybe he was onto something there! (You can read more about Norton I in my articles “The Emperor of the United States, Norton I,” The Elks Magazine, February 2000, and “Emperor of the United States,” True West, November 2016, or at

But historical events are like surgeries; they are not major unless you are the one directly affected by them. None of these events affected my life directly.

But two events occurred between October 12 and 14 that did dramatically affect my life. In fact, they were life-changing events for me.

On October 12, 1979, our first child was born. We named her Rachelle Joy. And boy, did our lives change after that! Our theories about parenting suddenly were put to the test of practical daily living. And we had to admit that many of them had been wrong, so we had to make countless adjustments to adapt to reality.

Three years and two days later, October 14, 1982, our second child was born. We named her Elissa Cheri. And that further changed our lives. By that time, practically all of our theories about child-rearing, especially of multiple children, were out the window. We were parenting by the seat of our pants. Or maybe like two blind mice. Our grand idea of dealing with both children identically was one of the first well-intentioned theories to be tossed. We hadn’t taken into consideration that no two children are exactly alike, therefore requiring us to deal with each individually. Looking back now, I wonder how we could have been so naive.

Each of our daughters in her own way added something new to our family. And each of them brought about truly life-changing adaptations and challenges and joys to our lives. And there were still two more daughters to come over the next three years. Like Columbus, we truly were discovering a new world!

But now our nest is empty. Our daughters have flown the coop and have begun families of their own. Lately, however, my wife and I have ventured into more uncharted waters. We suddenly have found ourselves grandparents. Seven times over. And, believe me, we’re still learning!

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