>Well, I turned 53 yesterday, October 23. One of my 2 brothers (the one in the photo) called me as is our custom with each other and sang “Happy Birthday.” The same song was shared gleefully at my 2 charge conferences last night. My other brother called earlier in the week and sent a card. He is in a nursing home and has a tough time. My brothers are special to me. I love them and I know that they love me. We’re 8 years apart in age. I guess Mother and Daddy didn’t get a lot of consistent alone-time since Grandmother and Papa’s room was across the hall. I was 2 when my oldest brother left home for USC. I have no recollection of him ever living at home.
Nevertheless, with both parents deceased, I think about my brothers today and thank them for their love and care. They got to name me. They gave me the name William as my first name after my mother’s father, and my middle name Timothy came from the name of the bear in the “Dick and Jane” books. No joke! I guess they got naming rights from my parents so they wouldn’t kill me or because Mother and Daddy were just too worn out to do it themselves. Mother was 40 and Daddy 41 when I was born.
According to her, Daddy, and my brothers, she thought I was an ovarian cyst or early menopause for about 8 months. I guess I didn’t kick a lot. When my Dad was attempting to explain the “facts of life” to me as a early teenager he asked me a peculiar question: “Do you know that you’re a M.A.C.?” I replied, “Sure, I know that I’m a Mc-Clendon.” He responded, “No, I mean a M-A-C, Middle Age Carelessness. Do you understand what I mean?” Reluctantly I replied, “Sure.” That was his sex-talk for me. I guess he figured if I knew what he meant about my birth, the rest would be okay.
My brothers naming me and Daddy’s attempt at sex-ed has often come to mind over the years and made me wonder, “Did they want me?” “Was it a happy surprise?” I think so because they sure did love me. Mother said I kept her young. I do know this in terms of self-awareness: I have too often tried to live in such a way by working hard, pushing frenetically to somehow prove to my parents, even in death, that I mattered and should have been born.
I want to give that push-push-pushing up. It’s one of the reasons I love the mountains where I sit and ponder; I love pottery making because it’s slow and reflective; and I need my cave-time on Saturdays to feed my soul more than I do the rest of the week. I guess we all battle our demons and tapes about self-worth. The best news is that I know my wife loves me, my children, and grandson are glad I’m here, and a lot of other folks along the way. Even better is that God knew me in my mother’s womb even if she didn’t.