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Of Christmas Bricks and Babies | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

Of Christmas Bricks and Babies

Christmas Present BricksWhy did I get a brick for Christmas this year? Strap in for the long version of the story. That brick was there when my journey as a mother began.

But wait – there’s more.

In 1993, I was working for a local law firm when their network administrator quit. I inherited his job to add to my other responsibilities. As I learned to manage a computer network, we added some wrinkles to the job. The firm was moving, and the move was prime time to upgrade our network. So what did we plan to do at the same time the office moved?

  • Fire our computer vendors and find a replacement company.
  • Upgrade all 25 support staff members from Dos to Windows. Train them on how to use a mouse.
  • Set all 20 attorneys up with PC’s on the network.
  • Migrate from 2 file servers to 1.
  • Migrate from paper phone messages to emailed ones.
  • Make sure the attorneys, some of whom hadn’t operated a PC before, could get their phone messages on the new system.

We moved over Halloween weekend. The offices closed at noon on Friday. Our goal was to have the new network in place and operational at noon on Sunday, ready to go for work on Monday morning.

Our PC team and I worked to meet the deadline. I slurped Mountain Dew in giant cups to stay alert as we climbed, crawled, and made sure things worked. That Saturday night, I tied my copy of our new office key to my shoe lace because I was so tired and slap happy I was afraid I would lose it. At 2 a.m. Sunday morning, all was well.

Things were a little crazy when the office opened, but we worked through it, and my goal was met. I continued working late fixing bugs and by Wednesday evening, I had lost my voice and was sick – since my throat hurt, I knew I had strep throat. I went to a new convenient care center – St. Mary’s off the Expressway to get antibiotics.

As I sat in the waiting room, a woman rushed in yelling, “Do you take gunshot wounds?”

The nurse at the desk told her, “Go to the emergency room.”

When my turn came, I told my doctor, “I have strep throat. Give me a strep screen and antibiotics, and I’ll go home and go to bed.”

The doctor ordered the strep screen and asked, “Do you think you could be pregnant?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think so,” I answered. We had just lost our first baby that May, it was too early for me to be pregnant again, and that was the last thing on my mind.

He ordered a pregnancy test too. As I waited for the results, I heard nurses whispering outside – I was sure they were talking about another patient. “Will you tell her?” “No. You tell her.” And finally I heard, “Let’s wait for the doctor to tell her.”

The doctor came in and told me, “You don’t have strep throat. But you are pregnant. And exhausted. And you need to go home and go to bed and stay there for 2 days.”

I called my boss and told him, and he replied, “Well, I guess you went home from work early at least one night this fall.”

Flash forward to this January. St. Mary’s was opening a new care center just behind that convenient care where I found out I was becoming a mother. I was invited to participate in a sneak peek “Tweet Tour” before it opened. As we toured the new center, I told the story of my learning I was pregnant.

When I asked what was going to happen to the old center, I off-handedly commented I would love one of the bricks from the old convenient care center where I found out I was pregnant.

Now flash forward to Christmas morning. As I opened this heavy gift, I saw a brick in the box. It puzzled me. Then I read the caption on it. It’s that brick I said I wished I had.

My family told me the back story. One of St. Mary’s marketing team tracked down my daughter (the one I was pregnant with at the time) and told her they had a brick I wanted. She’s a junior in college out of state, so she forwarded the message to my husband. He picked up the brick, and they kept it a secret until Christmas Day.

Not to be outdone with unusual gifts, my daughter gave me a hen ice cube tray. It makes egg-shaped ice cubes. I love chickens, and she thought I would enjoy egg ice cubes since we no longer keep hens in our backyard.

My son, born after that night’s adventure, made a bobble Groot with a 3-D printer, printing the parts, assembling it and painting it for me.

The wise men may have brought baby Jesus gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This year, I got a special brick, a hen ice cube tray, and a bobble Groot.

And those gifts are just as precious to me because they remind me of the greatest gifts of my life – my family – and the adventures we have had together. They aren’t clean, neat, or perfect. But they are real, and they are mine.


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