A Letter to my Son... Happy Birthday!
Today, my first-born, you turn 10 years old! That is amazing to me that you have been alive for a decade. A week prior to your birth, Mommy and I had attended our last birthing class. The advice I remember the most was to have Mommy walk around if she thought she was having contractions. This is where I learned about Braxton Hicks contractions and how walking could help calm the abdomen. That week we took a walk every night, thinking about how we were going to meet you very soon. Then, in the wee hours of the night, Mommy nudged me awake. She said she was having contractions and she thinks you were on your way. The advice from the teacher entered my drowsy brain and I responded, “It’s Braxton Hicks. Just walk in a circle.”
I look back on it now and think it was hilarious. Mommy was none too happy at the time but she took my suggestion and paced in our tiny bedroom. She then nudged me again and told me to get my ass out of bed, we had to go to the hospital. I remember the day you were born. I was wearing my “In Search of Chocolate Eggs,” t-shirt, hadn’t shaved in a few days, and I was starving. All of the family and friends showed up to support the beginning of our new family.
When it finally came time to push, the doctor came in the room and stated that they only allowed one person in the delivery room. Grandma (my mother-in-law) looked at me as if she had an assigned seat next to the hospital bed and I was to exit stage left. I looked back at her with an “I don’t think so” look. I think she still hurts a bit because of that but I wasn’t going to miss your birth.
I stood next to Mommy trying to guide her through the breathing techniques, keeping her calm. I was pretty excited but not nervous at all. I had been waiting for this moment since second grade. I should probably explain that. In second grade, Mrs. Russell asked every kid what they wanted to be when they grew up. I said, “A pro basketball player and a great Dad!” On this day, 10 years ago, my dream came true. You, Ayvren, my son, was born, healthy, a head full of hair, and darker than everyone in the family besides Grampys (my Dad) and KK (my niece).
I was so overwhelmed in thinking about my past, staying present in that moment, and all the things I wanted to share with you in the future. Mommy did so well. I don’t know how women do it. I watched the whole thing, I mean the whole thing, and there is no way I would ever want to even try to endure such an emotional and physical roller coaster.
We got to take you home and I was in love. I would bathe with you. I would lay you on my chest and you would fall asleep instantly. We would lay there for hours as I watched the game or took a nap myself. I fed you, changed your diapers, and played with you. I wanted to take you everywhere. Then you started to crawl. Then you started to walk and talk. Before I knew it, you were in school, in sports, on my electronics, and sometimes getting on my last nerve. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
The only part I wish I could go back and fix was my state of being during those formative years. Mommy and I were having some issues being in a new marriage and being new, young parents. I was in graduate school, working full time, and coaching football. I was still trying to hang out late night with my buddies once a month or so. I was still very young and very unsure about who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. I wouldn’t change all of that per se, I just wish I would have paid more attention to the time spent with you and away from you. I was there and I didn’t miss anything but there were times where I wasn’t fully present. There were times where my emotional baggage was something you had to deal with and attempt to understand. I am sorry for that Son. You deserved the right to just be a kid who was loved and supported. You loved me dearly and I loved you for that. Thank you!
As I write this, I smile because I do feel I have achieved my goal of being a great Dad. I still have more time left with you and your brothers, but I believe I have set a great foundation. I look at you now and it is bittersweet. You have grown into a confident, kind, loving, sometimes a bit of an asshole (you get that from me), and awesome kid. Yet, time has passed so quick. People always tell you to enjoy “these days because it goes fast!” They are right. It goes way faster than I expected or would have liked.
Worry not though, for there is always today, right now! I will continue to do my best to be everything you need. I will continue to listen to you, talk with you, love you, and share with you. I will continue to learn from you and better myself to be the best for you. I will continue to be the best version of me, for you.
To my son, I Love You! I am so proud of you! Happy Birthday and here is to many more.