Jacqueline Kaye Brown was born on Mother’s Day, May 9, 1970. She is the fourth of my natural daughters. Her birth date has become easier to remember since Mother’s Day in Latin America has a fixed date, May 9th. There is something memorable about the births of my four daughters and two sons. Jackie’s mother, Helen, felt labor while we were out riding a good distance from home and the hospital doing some Mother’s day visiting. And the race was on.
Helen, God bless her, did not do this birth well. Once we arrived at the hospital, Helen was checked in and I was directed to the waiting room. Two or other three prospective dads were also waiting. Having had three kids with my first wife, I was cool. Anxious for the first son in four tries but cool. Then it started.
From the other side of the wall or a room down the hall where the women were stored before delivery came a wail that pierced my bones to the marrow. One mother screamed the most vile curses at the man who instituted nine months of discomfort culminating in excruciating pain. We men looked at one another before the three looked back at me. I was the son-of-a-bitch, mother-fucking bastard. She was letting the world know of my deed.
A long time after the screaming stopped, someone came in to tell me I had a daughter. Oh, shit! What’s wrong with my chromosomes?
I don’t remember how long it was before I was invited to face my accuser. She must have calmed down some because I’m still alive today. Nor do I remember exactly when I got to see my newly arrived tax deduction in the nursery. If I noticed anything at all about this baby wrapped just like all the other babies, it would have been that she looked like her older sister Lorene. These girls, having different mothers, it seemed strange that they should have features in common. But to this day, no one would question at first look that they are sisters.
Jackie was a good baby. She had her sleepless, crying nights and I had the pleasure of walking her or sitting and rocking with her until she fell asleep. She was a happy baby. She always had a smile or was laughing. How could a father not help loving this cuddly, huggy little girl? Her big brother Ray, whom I adopted when I married Helen, was a good big brother. They were good companions and playmates. With Baron, our German Shepherd, to keep baby Jackie on her blanket in the grass, life was so-o good.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last. Marital problems led to divorce and mom absconding with the kids. This became a multi-state legal problem that was finally resolved in my favor. With my new and very pregnant wife Terri and our son Joshua, we moved to California to start a new life. California is where Jackie blossomed. She was a good student, a talented actress, a damned good softball player, a lovely-voiced singer, and a fine traveling companion as we motorcycled around California and across the northern tier of states and Canada to New Jersey. But that joyous trip ended sadly for our family with another split-up.
The rest of the story has a lot of pain in it and I won’t publicize it. Jackie moved about the country before settling in the San Francisco area. She took classes and learned the skills of the sailor. She has a good job. She’s seen a lot of the world. She is happy with her life. That’s the most important part. She’s still my baby girl and I can still feel her hugs when I need them. I have often needed them in the many years since I last felt one.
When I look back over my 76 years at their highlights and lowlights, Jackie is a beacon beaming her inner beauty across the years and across the miles. She is a joy among joys. I am so glad God allowed me to be her father and she my daughter.