June 24, 2004

“Rock-a-bye, And goodnight …”

The song seeped from intercom speakers throughout Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center at 12:15 p.m.on June 23. Another baby born. Naomi June Maxwell, eight pounds and four ounces at birth, was soon surrounded by an ecstatic family. Grandparents, family and friends filed into mom Cynthia’s room throughout the afternoon and evening. And Naomi saw her father, Trey Maxwell, too. Even though he’s in Iraq.

Cynthia and Trey shared a high school romance; she one-year his junior. Ironically, they met in chemistry class. In October of 2003, Cynthia returned from Advanced Individual Training, and Trey met her at the airport, ring in hand. They were married just days later, as Trey was slated to leave for Fort Hood, TX, in November. When he left, Cynthia was pregnant. Trey returned to Russellville for two weeks at Christmas and for a month in February, and in March the sergeant was deployed to Iraq with the 39th Infantry Division. In May, Cynthia sent him cigars for his buddies in preparation for the birth — but they got passed out and appreciated before the big day. Cynthia kept him abreast of the impending birth via telephone and photographs. In fact, she went a step further than most would to ensure Trey would be present at the birth of their first child.

“Cynthia comes from a military family,” according to her aunt, Cindy Hoffman. In fact Cynthia herself is in the Army Reserves, Special Operations. When Cindy’s husband Kurt was absent due to deployment this past Christmas, Cindy, a creative at heart and owner of a local scrapbook store, decided her family needed to see Kurt during the holidays. So she took out a photograph and made a life-size one-dimensional head. She backed it with cardboard and dressed it in her husband’s clothes. The family has scrapbooks of Cardboard Kurt celebrating Christmas. On December 26 the family took several shots of Trey and blew up two to life-size. Cardboard Trey was on hand for two baby showers and the birth of his daughter Naomi June. He looked like a proud papa. When real Trey called Cynthia in recovery, he kept saying, “I’m just so happy.”

Occasionally strange scenarios arise when one’s accompanied by a cardboard husband. People working fast food drive-thrus have spoken to Cardboard Trey, but he rarely talks back. The poster-size head scared Cynthia in the middle of the night when she awoke without her contacts on. And the couple’s three cats are a bit afraid of it, too. As was a cute blonde boy at one of the baby showers Trey was overseas during.

Another interesting twist: The day Cynthia went into the Reserves office to announce her pregnancy, her higher-ups pulled her aside before she made the announcement to let her know she was going to be deployed. That changed when she told them she was six weeks pregnant. A whirlwind marriage, an overseas romance, a beautiful baby girl and a cardboard husband. And Cynthia’s never been happier.