I was pregnant from 1973 to 1983 — or so it seemed. I became pregnant with our daughter in 1973 and after that, three sons followed in 1977, 1979, and 1983; thus, I felt like I was pregnant for 10 straight years.

Don’t get me wrong. I always felt great being pregnant. I had enough energy for three people and got so many things accomplished. Well, let me backtrack a wee bit. For the first three months, I could have slept 24/7, but of course I didn’t. By the second trimester, I was raring to go.

Our first son, William Heath Brooks, was born on my 30th birthday and he was the curious one. By the time he was 3, I can’t begin to tell you how many questions he had asked. Things like “Why is dirt brown? What does ‘mortimer’ do? Or “Why are tomatoes so good?” He started the questions when he was not quite 3.

I am not an overly religious person, but I took the easy way out with dirt. I told him God wanted it that way. I had to figure out what “mortimer” was until he told me he wanted to help his daddy with the “mortimer.” His dad was using mortar on our well house, thus “mortimer.” As far as tomatoes being so good, I told him he inherited his love of tomatoes from his daddy and me.

He loved to graze in the garden and later on wanted to be an archaeologist because his preschool teacher taught him the love of dinosaurs. He did do archaeology work for a time. After graduating from UGA, he eventually went to law school. He and his wife and daughter live in Huntsville, Alabama, where he practices law.

Our second son, Hayden Emert Brooks was the only child of ours to be born in Tennessee, but that is another story entirely. This is about him and not Tennessee. In truth, he was the only great happening that we brought back with us from Tennessee. Don’t get me wrong. I love Tennessee, but not living where we lived.

Hayden was a beautiful child almost born in a pickup truck. We had a friend who drove us to the hospital because we were 25 or so miles from Knoxville, the roads were snowy, and it was about four in the morning. We did make it to the hospital and within the hour, this beautiful baby boy made his appearance.

I did learn that Carol Burnett was right when someone asked her if childbirth was painful. She said to take your lower lip and squeeze it as hard as you could — and then pull it over your head. I had epidurals for the first two and had no idea.

Hayden was an intense child growing up and we called him “the streak” because if he was in trouble, he’d run fast as greased lightning. He was also an excellent athlete. I loved to watch him play soccer. He was so good and once he put his head down and started running down the field, I knew he was gone. He’s our last UGA graduate and is now a consultant. He’s married to Carrie and they have three children.

I didn’t know I was even pregnant with our third son. At the time, I was teaching Vacation Bible School and so didn’t want to be there. I wanted to sleep so badly. My friend who was teaching with me said, “Maybe you’re pregnant.” I remember thinking, “No way.” But I was wrong.

Our third son was born on Valentine’s Day in 1983. He was the most precious baby and his older sister and brothers spoiled him unbelievably. I couldn’t discipline him … at all.

As he grew older, he did great impersonations of Pee-wee Herman and other characters. He was a performer from the beginning. I remember when he was The Mad Hatter in a high school production and some girls kind of went crazy. It dawned on me that they were reacting to him in a most positive way. As his mother, I was a wee bit shocked.

Hartwell was a troubled young man, though. He wrote me a long letter when he was a teenager and confessed that he was gay. Well, heck, I already knew that. I’m his mother. You know these things. I had no problem with this at all. I know he was born gay. It’s not a disease. It’s who he is.

He has been with Christopher for over 9 years and I performed their marriage ceremony this past summer. It was so fun! They are living in Jersey City and enjoying New York City. Hartwell is a Georgia State graduate.

Our three sons. What truly wonderful people they are. We are blessed.

Coleen Brooks is a longtime resident of Gordon County. She retired as director and lead instructor for the Georgia Northwestern Technical College Adult Education Department in 2013. She can be reached at coleenbrooks1947@gmail.com.


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