1981

Early in the morning, 31 years ago, Jacob wanted to be born.

It took much of the day.

He was born September 10, 1981.

One time when he was a teenager, I got a call that he was being transported to Duluth, MN, by ambulance with a “head injury” from a ski hill community a fair distance away.  I went to the hospital to wait for his arrival.  I was very afraid.  I did not know the nature of his injury.  While I waited I preregistered him with the birthdate of 9/11/1981.  Turned out, he greeted me with a smile and a joke as he was transported from the ambulance to the ER.  His injury was minor.

Thanks be!

All the years since then Jacob and I have bantered about which day is actually his birthday, the one I told the hospital that day when I was afraid, or the one he was actually born when I was very joyful.

November 1, 2011, a wee bit less than ten months ago, Paul Lawrence died.

We are staying, here in Kells, County Kerry, Ireland, in a home that was imagined by Paul Lawrence and then built by Paul and Martha and their children and some others.  Lawrence home - Kells It was built in the 70’s, at a time when the Irish construction industry was building ranch homes.  Paul did not want a ranch.  He wanted a house that was consistent with traditional Ireland construction and, at the same time was contemporary in design.  With the help of an imaginative architect he achieved both.  It worked then  . . . and it still does today.

We are grateful to Paul’s son, Tad Lawrence and his partner in life, Vicky Seelen, for allowing us to be in the “brilliance” of this space for three weeks of our lives.

Paul Lawrence Paul Lawrencewas the Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Organizational Behavior Emeritus at Harvard Business School.  In the obituary you can find about him on line, there is this paragraph about his professional vision:

During the past decade, when he was well into his eighties, Lawrence dedicated himself to the development of a new unified theory of human behavior, based in large part on his close reading of the works of Charles Darwin, particularly his book The Descent of Man, a volume that Lawrence said was too often neglected by modern readers. As part of that research agenda, in 2002 he co-wrote with his longtime HBS colleague Nitin Nohria Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices. In addition to Darwin, the book surveys a vast amount of literature from the natural and social sciences — from Aristotle to Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson — to come up with a theory based on the premise that “four primary innate drives…are hard wired in the brains of all humans”—the drives to acquire (the instinctive push to obtain things necessary to ensure continuity and reproductive success), bond (the push to connect and relate to our fellow human beings), comprehend (human beings’ need to understand the world around them) and defend (the desire to ensure that what is acquired is not lost). According to Lawrence’s son, William (“Tad”), of Roslindale, Mass., “My father was a sociologist who was interested in organizations, not so much as businesses but as the central manifestation of the human cooperative venture. This was nowhere more evident than in Driven.”

And this one about his more personal life:

Lawrence’s reach extended far beyond his professional life. A longtime resident of Cambridge, Mass., he, along with his wife of 63 years, Martha (Stiles), was actively involved in–indeed passionate about–community affairs, including leadership roles at the Cambridge Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports a broad range of local agencies through financial grants and technical assistance. To commemorate their community activism, in 2009 a plaque was placed near the Cambridge home where the couple resided for many years, naming the intersection of Foster and Willard Streets the “Martha Stiles and Paul R. Lawrence Square.”

It is fitting that their names be linked together. Not only were they a team in their community work, but their marriage was a model to many. Lawrence’s granddaughter once wrote in a letter to him that included these words: “What you have shared with Grandma is the most beautiful and pure love that I have ever seen. I cannot describe what kind of an impact it has had on me. It gives me comfort.” And before work-life balance became part of the vernacular, Lawrence made family matters a top priority. “He was able to do all that he did professionally and still do all the rest exceptionally well,” observed his son. “He was an exceptional father who always sought ways to support and nurture without being judgmental. One of his granddaughters described him as the most moral person I know. You are considerate, careful, and extraordinarily kind. Thank you for showing me that these qualities are essential.”

Paul is missed by family.  And those who knew him.  His heritage of wisdom is savored.

Hi son, Tad, is an artist.  You can find Tad’s work Landscapes of Irelandat:  tadlawrence.com  Vicky is also an artist.   You can find her work Seelan Beadsat:  seelenbeads.com

In a recent email, Tad invited us to go to the remains of the old homestead, up above us on the hill that was inhabited by the Kelly’s. candle lit for Kelly's He invited us to light a candle in honor of the Kelly’s.

We did.

We gave thanks for every good thing in their lives . . . and the harder things too.

I asked for the blessing to be upon us of the ever-changing view of the Dingle Peninsula.

The Dingle Peninsula is perpetually cloaked in a playful wash of light and then shadow and then mist and then clear and on and on.

It is at once soft and mysterious, inviting and distant, sensuous and earthy.

Thank you Kelly’s.

Thank you Paul and Martha.

Thank you Tad and Vicky.

Thank you God.

Some of you will remember earlier posts that referred to a quote from a man who, when asked: “What is the way with you?” replied, “I’m stumbling along among the immensities, you know the immensities of birth and death.”

Today as I write to you of this house and the death of Paul Lawrence (who I never met) I am astoundingly grateful for the birth of Jacob Martin Garrison.

September 10, 1981.

September on the Island (Madeline Island in Lake Superior, accessible by ferry from Bayfield, Wisconsin) was redolent with hues of approaching fall that September day.

The first run of the ferry to the mainland was, oh, I don’t know, maybe 6:30 or 7:00 am.  The mainland is where the hospital was, just a couple dozen miles south of Bayfield in Ashland.

Kandi’s labor began a good while before dawn.

Jacob wanted to be born.

Because he was to be our fourth, we had decided a home birth was not wise.  Our nurse midwife this time was Jan.  She planned to meet us at the birthing center at Memorial Medical Center in Ashland.

Labor intensified enough, still in the dark of pre-dawn, for us to believe it wise to call for an early “unscheduled ferry.”

Phil Schneeberger was the pilot.

He met us at the dock and shepherded us across the deep waters.

We drove easily to the hospital.

We got situated in the birthing center, Jan with us.

The labor of your birth came to a halt.

You were ready, but not yet.

We waited.

We walked.

We waited some more.

Morning passed into afternoon.

In those days we lived in the parsonage on Madeline Island part of the week and the rest of the time we lived in a Northland College campus house reserved for the campus minister.  I worked at the college part time in addition to serving St. John’s UCC on Madeline as their pastor.

Your mother and I had befriended two Northland students, both named Cathy, Cathy Moser and Cathy Palmer.  They used to care for Jennifer and Mark and Noah if we needed a sitter . . . but, mostly they were just great friends who were there for us and with us.  I remember them at the Ashland house during part of that day as we waited for your time to be born.

Labor began again.

We went to MMC.

Jan was there with us.

Paul VanPernis, the doc, came when it was time.

You were born into the world by the love and grace and strength and birthing of your mother.

Such a day of new beginning in our lives, and, of course, in yours.

It is a day that was possible because of many who were part of the journey with us. It took your mom, me, your sister and brothers, Phil, the boat captain, Jan, the midwife, Cathy Palmer and Cathy Moser, the hospital folks, Paul, the doc.

It takes a village.

Life is better because of you, Jacob.

I love you.

Happy birthday.

rainbow - Kells BAy - 9/10/2012

Stumbling along among the immensities here in Ireland.

It is a very good thing!

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7 Comments

  1. How beautiful is your view and that glorious rainbow!
    I laughed about your birthing date for Jacob because my first great grand child, Jax Brandon Marshall, wil be two years old tomorrow on 9/11/12. What wonderful memories you have of his birthing day – I cant say i remember those days so well. In those days they sent the fathers home to wait. When Diane was coming, Warren went home a built us our first TV. The ‘doctor’s asistant was asked to call him. When Warren asked if it was a boy or a girl the assistant had to go back and ask as he’d not been there for the delivery
    Keep enjoying the Dingle area – so beautiful.
    Hugs, Fay

    Reply

    1. Hello special ones, Awesome that we “skyped” this evening, My heart had just been “wondering” (as it does most moments) what you might just be up to! I have been thinking about tomorrow, September11th, The impact that this day has had on our “souls” here in America, What are the reaction felt in Ireland? Do they feel the hurt and pain that we do? Does the distance decrease the impact? In 2001 when my “wee” universe was destroyed and sense of order was taken out of my life, I felt like I was free- falling into chaos, The so many “WHY’S” simply made me crazy, I remember reading this passage from a poem Sally sent to me, ” It could happen any time, tornado, Earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen. Or sunshine, Love, salvation.It could, you know. That’s why we wake and look out – No Guarantees in this life. But some bonuses, Like morning, Like right now, Like noon, Like evening.” This for some reason calmed me, I sent the reading to May & Colin, Colin said, Hmm, ( possibly thought I was sense-less) * Did not mean to get so deep, Sorry, Just wondering! Really miss you two! Can you tell! Your pictures are so lovely! I think about cards!!! Hugs to u both, Love you, nn

      *
      funny, The many comments filtering in from N.Z. were for us, (Don and Me,) not so much for our country!

      \\\\\\\\\’

      Reply

  2. Thanks for your lovely thoughts about my parents. Oddly, I have always wanted to go to the Apostle Islands. What a strange path to cross – now I will have to go.

    Tad

    Reply

    1. Thanks Tad. You would love the Apostles. Please do go. Met Agnes and John today, briefly, on our way to Shannon airport. Agnes invited us for dinner on Wednesday at 7:00. We are very excited.

      Reply

  3. Greetings! Thanks for sharing your vision, thoughts and prayful moments. I do rememeber the day Jacob was born and staying with Jennifer, Mark and Noah. We were so honored to be there for your family – our family. Inviting us to be a part of your family was a most wonderful gift that Cathy and I have both treasured and spoken so fondly of these many years. Some of my favorite times spent in the Garrison home was spent in the kitchen just hanging out and cooking together. One such day that really stands out for me was a very wintery day in 1982 in Duluth Jacob was just 5-6 months old. I was carrying my own child then although I had not shared that with you at that time.I was taking particular note of our family time together and cherishing is dearly. My Kyle was born October 31, 1982 – He turns 30! Such a blessing he is. Watching you and Kandi parent your kids really taught me much Thanks! Happy Belated Birthday Jacob 🙂

    Reply

  4. Thank you Cathy. Am grateful to hear from you. Are you still at Conserve?

    Reply

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