Recent Splats according to Miz Yank

November 24: one of my calendar favorites ever since 1998

November 24 is a big deal, in case you didn’t know.  On this particular day, Mount Vesuvius erupted (1759), Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species was published (1859), and, most importantly, my nephew J.J. was born (1998).

November 24, 1998, was a Tuesday. As I had on many Tuesdays before it, I was staring down a full day at the Department of Defense agency where I worked, topped off with four hours of classes at the George Mason University School of Law. I was a first year law student struggling to juggle work, classes and studying, a process that consisted of figuring out which ball was the best one to drop on any given day.

I gave no thought to any of that when I got the call that my sister Suzi –the first of me and my siblings to start a family –had gone into labor. I just hopped in the car and made a beeline for Johnston Willis Hospital in Midlothian, about 90 miles south of my office. My parents were in the waiting room when I arrived. According to their update, things were progressing quickly, so I’d gotten there just in time. My mother mentioned that, under hospital protocol, two people were allowed to be in the delivery room with my sister. My then-brother-in-law was already in there, so I assumed Mom would join him.

Before I could even voice that thought, she looked at me and said, “I think you should go.”   Mom had always epitomized selflessness, but letting me witness the birth of the first Yankosky grandchild instead of her truly took the cake. Like any good daughter would, I ran out of the waiting room without giving her a chance to reconsider.

I suited up, scrubbed down, and went in.

If I were to describe the room in geographical terms, I’d say that my brother-in-law had stationed himself in the Northern Hemisphere, somewhere near San Diego. I stood guard on the coast of Ecuador, which I thought was prime real estate until something in the Southern Hemisphere erupted. I can’t say for sure what happened, but if it’s what I thought it was, I would not have described it as “miraculous.” I told my brother-in-law to stay right where he was.

Moments later, a nurse brought the doctor a very serious-looking pair of scissors. As soon as I realized they weren’t meant to cut fabric, I looked at the nurse, pointed at my sister and blurted out, “Does she have any idea how much that’s gonna hurt?”

Had her hands not been sterilized and otherwise occupied, I’m pretty sure the nurse would have slapped me. Instead, she said in a very stern voice, “That’s not helpful, ma’am.” I decided to let my sister be the judge of that.

A most unkind cut was made, and shortly thereafter, my nephew made his debut on Planet Earth. A combination of blind, pure, unconditional love and unbridled happiness expressed itself in the tears that made their way down my cheeks. It was the most frightening, beautiful, astonishing thing I’d ever seen in my life.

The fact that, after seeing that, I chose to remain childless? Pure coincidence, I assure you.

Happy 16th birthday, J.J. You are one of my favorite people in the world and easily the most gifted sewer-diver I know. I love you!

JJ baby picz


  1. Happy birthday, JJ!


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