A year ago I wrote about how my wife and I had our first baby in this post. I wrote a lot of that post in the hospital late at night when Kelly was in labor and the next night, our first with Jack. The weeks and months after 2/28/2011 transformed me into a different person.
For an expecting mother, the child is real a part of her life for nine months of pregnancy. She has time to hold and feel the baby as an individual, a separate person, as the child grows inside of her womb. For me, the father, I truly was not prepared when this little creature appeared in the delivery room. It was a shocking moment for me, that marked the beginning of our new life together as a family.
Looking back on the day of his birth I remember being in a state of pure instinct, too removed from my normal state to think or process what I was feeling. My time at the hospital, in this strange animal-like state of mind, was the closest I’ve ever felt to God. Sometime after leaving college I began to fancy myself as an intellectual, allowing reason to chip away at the Catholic faith I developed as a child. At one point, I would have described myself as a non-believer, though I’m not sure I ever sincerely believed my own non-belief. But being so close to the beginning of Jack’s life reminded me that I can feel or imagine God in certain moments, if I cannot reconcile Him with reason in others. Jack has given me the gift of destroying my unbelief.
Today, being Jack’s “dah-DEE” is a joy. I chase him around the basement or he chases me. I tackle him and tickle his ribs and he laughs till he can’t stand it anymore and squirms free. A week or two ago he walked over to a book, picked it up, and brought it over to me. I sat him on my lap and read the whole book to him. It was about how Elmo gave a Valentine’s Day card to Cookie Monster who then shared it with the rest of Sesame Street family.
I’m so proud of every little thing Jack does. I’m proud of him when time he waves to the old ladies at church or to the other little kids in the check out line at the grocery store. The other day I took him outside and I was proud of him stumbling around the yard kicking the Select Club soccer ball uncle Jody gave him. Kelly’s convinced Jack is advanced in athletic ability, but then again she never saw Jack’s dad play sports when he was a kid.
We’ve got a little buddy in our lives now. Now Kelly has someone to watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills with, and I have someone to watch Star Wars with. Before Jack came along I wanted to have just two kids, but now I wouldn’t mind a hundred little Jacks running around. I always said I wanted a family, but never would have guessed how much I love being a family man.
Happy birthday little buddy!