I am writing this at 11:30p. At this time last year, my wife and I were wide awake in our dark hospital room. Our families had long ago left and we were alone. Well, except for the new boy, Everett, sleeping next to us in the room. He entered the world that morning at 4:45a.
You often hear about that moment a child is born. I recall many describing it as a transcendental experience. One filled with tears of joy, of immeasurable pride, and deep gratitude. I distinctly remember the moment he was born, and how I was not crying. I was certainly proud and grateful, but I did not feel that I was transcending reality, and I did not have the urge to cry. I felt tired. Physically, of course, but mainly emotionally. This felt especially selfish, considering my wife had actually done all of the work. Not just that morning, but over the entire pregnancy. Nevertheless, I felt tired - tired from uncertainty, tired from fear. Why was I not crying? Was something wrong with me? No. Crying would come. Until then, happiness and exhaustion would rule the day.
Today we celebrated Everett's first birthday. One year later, I thought about those tears that eventually came. Tears when my wife and I were sleep deprived to the point of insanity. Tears when I did not understand why my son was crying and why my comforting hugs failed to stop his tears. Tears when I had to return to work. Tears the night before we first took him to daycare. Tears when I bumped his head while carrying him around the house. Tears every time I watched a TV show or movie involving a child being hurt. Tears when my wife told me stories of heartache at her job as a pediatrician. Tears when I knew things were bothering her in the same way and I did not know how to help. Tears when work and life were overwhelming and days were filled with frustration. Tears when he was sick. Tears when he hugged my wife and I saw how wonderful she was as a mother. Tears when he first said ‘dada’. Tears when he first said ‘mama’. Tears when I realized my son was one-year old. One. Year. It went by so very fast.
Tears - happy, sad, confused. Tears. My son has taught me many lessons. Some about him, a lot about me. He has made me happier than I understood possible. He makes me laugh. He makes me cry. He makes me feel. One year later, it was worth every moment. I happily await the many more to come.
Happy Birthday, Everett.