It was the eve of 1996. For the past three days my mother had been watching the developing weather situation. A winter storm threatened to spread over the eastern half of the United States, raising the likelihood of sloppy, dangerous travel between her house in New Jersey, where we were staying at the time and Cleveland, where we lived. We were supposed to make the trip back on New Year's Day, but on December 31st it looked like we'd better leave sooner. This proved to be a good decision in more ways than one.
My wife was a few days past eight months pregnant. Her doctor had told us to be very careful about traveling at this late stage, but it was Christmas. She said we would probably be okay.
We travelled to Cleveland ahead of the storm and went to bed ahead of the ball drop. We've never been much for New Year's Eve. Last night was no exception to that rule, especially since I'm a pastor for one more week and today is Sunday.
At 12:45 on January 1, 1996 my wife nudged me awake. I recall a hazy awareness of my name being spoken, "Jim... Jim."
It was time. The baby didn't come out until late in the afternoon. She was three weeks early, and small. But she slept through the night almost from day one and she has a New Year's Day birthday. This one is the tenth.
Happy Birthday Amy, our preemie New Year's girl.