Happy Birthday Trevor!

Four years ago today, I received a birthday present one day early. Even though I still had more than 4 weeks to go in my pregnancy we were headed to the hospital and welcomed our little Trevor into our family. It was a BIG surprise and Trevor has never ceased to surprise us in the four years of his life.

I am so thankful for his happy face and mischievous smile but most of all I am thankful he has survived the first four years of his life. It seems we've had a few close calls and we finally bought him a T-shirt that says "I do all my own stunts". He really does do all his own stunts even if they aren't planned or very carefully thought out. The following is a story I wrote about an experience we had with Trevor when he was about 16 months old.

Trevor's New Hat

Having a baby with a big head can cause some problems, especially when it comes to finding a hat. Out little Trevor has a big head! As his second summer approached I pulled out the boxes of baby clothes to see if Trevor could wear one of Anthony's old hats. No such luck, so the search for a new hat began.

Everywhere we went we looked for a hat. The baby hats were way too small and the big boy hats were huge. It seemed impossible to find something in between. Trevor wasn't the only baby with a big head. Trevor's cousin, Aaron, was having the same problem. Grandma Cindy came to our rescue. For the babies' first birthdays, Grandma bought them matching hats that she found at Old Navy.

Since Aaron and Trevor were turning one, we figured that the 2T/3T size would be plenty big. Boy, were we wrong on that one. The hats were exchanged for the 4T/5T size and they were a great fit! I think I was finally beginning to realize how big my baby's head was!

Now that we had a hat for Trevor, Trevor didn't want to wear a hat. He soon learned that if he was going to be outside he had to have his hat on to cover his big, bald, head. That hat got lots of use as we spent our summer days playing outside, swimming, camping, visiting parks, and hanging out at Old Sturbridge Village. We couldn't go anywhere without that hat!

Our long anticipated trip to California came with lots of excitement as we packed our suitcases and prepared to be away from home for a whole month. On the list of things that couldn't get left behind was Trevor's hat. It was packed with care – wadded up into a ball and shoved in the suitcase with all the other hats – and we were ready for some fun in the sun!

A few days after arriving in California we repacked our things and headed out with Mom, Dad, and Samantha to Scott's Flat for a Christensen reunion. We were going to be able to see aunts, uncles, and cousins whom we hadn't seen in years. The kids didn't really understand our excitement for seeing all the people we kept listing off but they were very excited with the fact that we were going to be camping for four days and three nights.

Poor little Trevor didn't think the camping stuff was all that great, but he sure was a trooper. Since he wasn't walking, he spent all of his time in the stroller or in the tent. Even the activity of playing in the lake didn't amuse him. Michaela, Anthony, and Natalie had a blast playing in the lake and going out on the boat, but Trevor wasn't impressed.

On the second day of our camping trip we all decided to drive down to the Yuba River – a popular place for swimming and snorkeling. After grabbing life jackets, sun block, and hats, we were off. The river was beautiful and emptied into a pool of still, crystal clear water. Huge rocks and boulders were all around and lots of people were sliding or jumping off boulders into the river to keep cool. After Jeremiah pointed out to the kids the areas they needed to stay away from because of the swift river current, we put on their life jackets and started walking across the pool area to a small spot of shade so we could sit and put on sun block. Jeremiah was carrying Trevor and walking ahead with Michaela, Anthony, and Natalie. I was lagging behind because of the rocks on the river bottom. Guess everyone else in my family has tough feet!

Michaela got too close to where the water from the pool drops down into the river. She didn't act quickly enough and the current started pulling her out of the pool and into the river. Michaela's face had a look of surprise on it as she called out to me but that look of surprise quickly turned to fear when she saw me screaming and trying to get to her. I felt helpless knowing that I was too far away to get to her. I screamed for Jeremiah as I kept working my way towards Michaela. As she went into the river my one small comforting thought was that she had a life jacket on.

When Jeremiah realized what was going on he set Trevor down on a boulder and went in after Michaela. As I was struggling to make my way to Trevor I watched with horror as he slipped off the rock, fell into the water, and started going down the river. I was frantic as I saw my little baby, face down in the water, getting farther and farther away from me. Without even taking the time to think I tried to close the distance between Trevor and myself by jumping and lunging into the river. The current was stronger than I thought it would be, and I just let it take me – hoping to get close enough to grab my baby.

For a split second I thought that maybe I had acted to rashly when I realized that Anthony and Natalie were now left standing alone in the water. I kept thinking that Jeremiah wasn't that far ahead and would be able to get Trevor. Then I caught a glimpse of Trevor's tiny body face down in the water and knew that if I didn't get him he would drown. What seemed like an eternity was probably a mere 30 seconds of terror as I kept reaching out for Trevor and only grabbing water. Finally, on my third try, I was able to grab Trevor's arm and pull him out of the water. I was so happy to hear him crying, and I knew he was ok.

That happiness lasted only a few seconds as I realized that I couldn't stop myself from continuing down the river. The water was shallow enough that I could put my feet down, but the current was too strong, and I couldn't stop. I was holding Trevor in one arm while trying to keep him above the water and with the other arm grabbing rocks and boulders and trying to stop. I was starting to panic and scream, and was very relieved when I could hear someone coming down behind me. Not long after I went in for Trevor, Ben and Mom jumped into the river as well. Between the three of us, we were able to brace ourselves up against some rocks and finally stop going down the river. From where I was, I could see that Jeremiah had gotten to Michaela and they were both climbing out of the river.

As we were trying to figure out how to best get out of the river, some people climbed down the rocks on the side of the river to help out. One man took Trevor from me, and then we were able to climb back up the rocks and out of the river. At that time the shock and adreneline wore off, and I realized for the first time how close we came to losing Trevor. My body started to shake so much that I could hardly walk. After some tears and lots of hugs, we realized that although we got Michaela and Trevor out of the river, the river did claim a few of our possessions. The sunblock I was carrying when I went in after Trevor, my sunglasses, mom's sun visor and glasses, AND, Trevor's new hat.

Even after that scary experience, the kids wanted to stay and play in the water. Trevor, who was now without a hat, had to wear Michaela's purple hat so we could keep the sun off his head. He didn't care about the purple hat, but he didn't want to go in the water.

That night, as I lay in the tent trying to sleep, I kept having dreams of my children floating down a river and me trying to reach them. What a terrible feeling and what a relief to wake up and know that all my children were safe and sleeping. Going through an experience like that really made me realize even more how fragile life is. We often take for granted the time we have with our family members, but I found myself appreciating each smile and giggle and hug from my children even more.

Our camping trip ended without any more close calls and we headed back to Walnut Creek. We were only one week into our month long vacation so we knew we needed to find a new hat for Trevor. While we were doing some window-shopping in downtown Walnut Creek, we actually found a new hat for Trevor. I didn’t even care that it cost twelve dollars. It fit! Trevor looked so handsome in his new hat!

As I have reflected on this experience, I have thought of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and their love for us. Through our Prophet and other church leaders, our Heavenly Father warns us of dangerous places, but often we find ourselves getting to close, and the current pulls us in. No matter how many times this happens, we have the arm of our Savior, waiting for us to grab hold of so we can be pulled to safety. How blessed we are to have the restored gospel in our lives. How blessed we are to be sealed together for time and all eternity.


angie said...

Happy Birthday, Trevor. Happy Birthday, Tamara. I had forgotten that you spent your birthday in the hospital four years ago. Whew. I'll never forget the river story, and you telling me about it. I think I'd STILL get weak knees thinking about it if it were me.......

Vicki said...

I am grateful for you, Tamara!
Happy Birthday!
Mom J

Jenn said...

Happy Birthday Trevor! I remember hearing your story and again wanting to cry! Hope you have a great birthday tomorrow!