What's Up, Doc? New Columnist Remembers Big Event

Editor's note: This is the first entry in a new column by Menifee resident Randy Freeman. Randy and his family have lived in Menifee since 1993. Randy teaches kindergarten in Perris and his wife Karen teaches first grade here in Menifee at Freedom Crest Elementary School. They are the parents of four daughters: Daniela, 17, & 13-year-old triplets Sarah, Holly, & Megan. Randy earned his PhD in early childhood education in 2011 and has served on the Menifee Union School Board since 2008. As he explains it, this makes him Karen's boss for the first and only time in the marriage. His column will appear here every other Tuesday.

By Randy Freeman

Without a doubt, the most difficult job in the world is raising a family. Being a parent is a 24/7 position, entered into without any prior training or experience. It is strictly on-the-job training.

My oldest daughter was born when I was 41 years old. The change in our lives was immediate and drastic. Overnight, our lives were completely rearranged. I enjoyed Daniela immensely and I learned to sleep in short spurts in a space barely able to accommodate my body. I learned why kidneys were named kidneys. Kid’s knees were firmly planted in my back when I wished to sleep.

Eventually, I began to get the hang of it. God must have thought so, because my wife became pregnant again. She had informed me from the beginning that the first two pregnancies were "on her" but afterward it would be up to me if I wanted more children.

She never should have said that. At seven weeks, she came home from the doctor and wordlessly handed me a small blue bag. I must have looked puzzled because her next words were, "We have to move and you can’t go to Grand Lodge!"

I was no more understanding than I had been when she handed me the bag. I looked in the bag and saw three baby rattles. Okay, I was dense; I still lacked understanding. I looked at Karen with that husbandly puzzled look on my face. She finally spoke the words that brought understanding – and shock.

"I’m pregnant with triplets."

No response.

She stared at me. "We’re having three babies."

OK, now I got it. I didn’t move for about a good 10 minutes. When I found my voice, I kind of gurgled a bit. Karen reiterated the news that we were having three babies – at the same time.

When I recovered my equilibrium, I called my mom. When she heard the news, she laughed so loud and hard that I had to hold the phone away from my ear. Karen snatched the phone from my hand and slammed it on the hook. My mom called back and apologized – to Karen.

The following month, Karen had amniocenteses administered to make certain that the babies were healthy. The argument that we had been engaged in over learning the genders of the babies was made moot. One result of an amniocentesis was learning the sex of each baby. Then followed those fateful words:

“Baby A is a girl.” I crossed my fingers.

“Baby B is a girl.” I crossed my toes. (This wasn't easy to do, as I was wearing shoes at the time.)

“Baby C is a girl.”

I had nothing left to cross. I sat down with a thud.

It sank in slowly. The great news was that all of the babies were healthy. The fateful news is that I would forever be the father of four – that’s 4 in numerals – four daughters!

I was 45 years old.


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