This pregnancy was rather unimaginable to the Blair kids—the “first family,” meaning we five “starter kids”–the ones who trained our parents in preparation for the “second family.” In late 1968, Mom and Dad had summoned the five of us kids into their bedroom for an announcement. We knew it was important. A move? A promotion? Dad was going to become the bishop?
Dad opened it. “We need to let you know that Mom and I are going to have another baby.”
Did I ask it? I don’t remember. “Mom’s pregnant?”
“Mom is pregnant,” Dad said.
And then—oh, the excitement! This would be akin to announcing the Second Coming to someone who hadn’t yet heard of Jesus.
Mom’s wardrobe changed. She had never bought many clothes for herself, but now she bought some, and they were all colorful and springy. When we went to Santa Barbara to visit Dad’s mother, Mom wore one of her beautiful green maternity tents. Dad told Grandma that our family would be adding another child, and Grandma said, “Well, that’s obvious.”
Indeed it was.
On July 29th, astronauts landed on the moon, and the Peace Corps volunteers booed Nixon. Dad and I (I was with him when he trained peace corps volunteers that summer) watched “one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”
It was a pretty important event. But not nearly as important as what happened on August 25th of that same year.
Mom and I were painting the master bedroom. She told me to quietly inform Dad that she might be in labor. He was in the front room reading a newspaper as I whispered the news. He folded the paper and grinned.
Mom’s water broke as they headed out the door.
We didn’t know that she had toxemia. Nobody did. As she lay on the delivery table, the nurse reported her blood pressure numbers—which were dangerously high. The doctor nodded, and the nurse said, “Doctor? Did you hear me? Did you hear the numbers?”James Groberg Blair was born not breathing, his color a sickly blue. The doctor gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and he finally took air. Mom, meanwhile, was fighting for her own life. Over the next hours of her recovery, she became blind. It lasted for two days.
We kids did not know how close we came to losing our mother. When Dad called us to announce the birth, he said, “Is Jim there?” I replied, “No.” “Well,” said Dad, “he’s here!”
We ran down Cedar Avenue shouting, “We got our baby! We got our baby!”
Mom and baby came home five days later, as I recall. Mom made some promises to God as she prayed for her life and her son’s. She promised God that this baby would be raised in righteousness, and would be His servant.
That has surely come to pass.
Has it really been forty eight years?
Jim, you made all of us, your siblings, into parents. You were the most spoiled baby in Provo. Clearly, the spoiling worked, because you are a great man. That’s the goal of spoiling, right?
Photos of Jim and family follow. With love.