Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Celebrating My Son's 11th Birthday

This day marks 11 years since the blessed day when my son was born and entered our lives.

It is truly remarkable how much such a physically small being (at least in the very beginning) can so drastically change the lives of those people touched by that new life. For me, his entry into the world gave me a new focus and sense of purpose. 

What is funny is that, while a child, you sometimes feel small and insignificant, as if the activities that you are engaged in are petty and pale in comparison to the ultra important activities of the adults in your life. Yet, as an adult, you cannot help but regard your own child engaging in such activities with a very different perspective. Some small moments for him became huge memories for me, and this started from day one.

Yes, I remember seeing his head pop out first, before anything, and catching my first glimpse of the new life that I had at least helped to create. I remember holding him in my arms for the very first time - and what an unbelievable, magical moment that was! I remember cutting his umbilical chord. Introducing him to the family later that day. At one point, he was crying and would not seem to stop, and I held him in my arms and, for some reason, hummed in my deepest possible voice. He stopped crying and looked around, perhaps trying to figure something out. I held out my finger (think it was my pinkie), and he squeezed it. Somehow, that moment still resonates with me. 

Then, there was the act of bringing him home. I remember a coworker telling me that as soon as she had brought her baby daughter home, it was like somebody had turned up the volume, the crying grew much louder. Sure enough, that was the case with my then newborn son's crying, too. 

Since then, I remember watching him grow. He grew bigger physically, his face changed. He was born with hair, then lost it, and then regrew it again. At first, it was baby fine hair, naturally. Then, it started to become more like a little boy's. There was the first time that he started to crawl, then to stand and, eventually, to walk. There were his first words. And one humorous moment when I went to check in on him while he was sleeping in the crib (I always loved watching him sleep - and actually still do!), and instead of sleeping, he looked at me with seeming mischief in his eyes, and then took one of his long legs and lifted it up over the top of the crib, and climbed up. I was so surprised, I just kind of stood there and watched, having heard that he had gotten out of the crib by himself. 

There was one time that he, his mother (and my then wife) and I were in bed on some morning, and he did something (I forget what, and it is unimportant), and I used a stern voice. He looked up, then cried, and draped himself onto his mother, crying fiercely. Then, he came to me and did the same thing. It was just about the cutest thing ever!

And there were times when I brought him into work. At the time when he was still a baby, I worked at a school, and my baby boy was a source of endless fascination for both students and faculty alike. I remember walking in, and he was like a magnet for all of the women working in the place. The front office was very crowded with admirers, most of them wanting to hold him. The memory still brings a smile to my face. 

A few years later, I remember bringing him to his first ever school, and holding his hand. This was the first time that he was ever away from mom and day (or Grandma and Grandpa) for any real length of time, in terms of hours, and how at first, he was excited with all of the other kids, and the toys. But later, when I checked in on him, I was told that he was not talking to anyone and had gone over to a corner of the room to be by himself. I sat with him, and talked softly (don't remember what I said), and eventually, he cried and hugged me fiercely. I wrote about that moment, and thought it would be good to add that here:

Of course, not every moment was wonderful like those. There were some sad moments, and some heartbreaking ones, as well. When he got older, I told him how his mother and me were going to get a divorce. He stood there with a blank look, and I told him that it was okay to cry, that this was not good news, and then I held him as he started sobbing. 

And of course, like any parent with children, there are those moments when you have to do what you do not want, and discipline the child. When I do so, when forced to use a stern voice, I derive no pleasure from it. Yet, that is part of parenting, too. To be hard, tough, to say no. Almost always, I will get down to eye level with him afterwards and explain why I am doing this, and usually, that makes things better. But I hate to see him sad, either with tears in his eyes, or trying very hard to fight those tears. 

Again, though, that is a part of parenting, and every bit as important as the wonderful times. You do not have a child simply to get admiring looks and comments when you walk your newborn in a stroller through the park on a sunny day, or when you bring him or her to work. Inevitably, there are moments when you need to be the adult, when you need to deal with the less savory aspects of childhood behavior. 

Through it all, we have been together, father and son. We have grown together, changed together, and shared good times and bad times. I have always wanted to be a good father, and although there have been times when I have failed to be a better father, I think that, for the most part, I am a pretty decent father to my boy and that, bar none, is the greatest accomplishment of my life.

The way that I see it, my son is the greatest responsibility in my life, but he is also the greatest privilege that I have ever received, as well. Truly a miracle, and a welcome gift. He has grown to be his own person, with his own characteristics, and he makes me smile and feel good every single time that I see him. 

Whenever we part, I always remind him that I love him with all my heart, that he means absolutely the world to me. It seems very important to me that he hears this, and often, and there seems no better way to leave one another's company than this little reminder for him that he is always loved, always welcomed, that he is a blessing in this world, and that at least with me, he is always home. 

Here is a post from past birthdays that seemed worth sharing:

One little side note for this particular day.

You see, on top of everything else, today is my son's birthday.

On top of everything else, today is my son's birthday!

I had heard all of my life about the "miracle of life". And eight years ago on this day, I was not only witness to the birth of new life, but also, that new life was from me! My own flesh and blood, a new generation for my family was created right there!

It was a miracle, on so many levels.

And through a span of eight years - not always easy times, of course, - I still feel very thankful for his presence in my life, and for my roll as a father. He means the world to me, and I make sure to remind him of that every time that I see him. The one thing that I never want to make him feel like is unwelcome, or unappreciated, because his presence measures beyond any poor attempts at words here for me to express!

He just keeps on getting bigger, and somehow, predictably, I grow sadder watching him outgrow things. When he stops playing with some of the toys for very young children, or stops watching shows for the very young children, or says that he's "too old" or "too big" for certain things.

Yet, that too is only part of the story. I take joy in watching him grow older, in growing smarter and more world savvy. Plus, he is still just a kid, with plenty of time yet (for now) before he gets a taste of what adult life really is like. He is fixated on being bigger, on growing older, and closer to adulthood, and all of the respect and freedom that he associates with it.

Of course, that is the way that kids see adulthood. Once you reach it, you realize that it is a lot more than that. The privileges that come with that extra responsibility wear out fast, and the pitfalls begin to dominate after a certain amount of time.

Still, there is time for all of that. Right now, he seems happy, enjoying his childhood. That is as it should be, and I want to make sure that he does not grow up too fast. Let him enjoy this now, and worry about adulthood later. Why rush these things?

I look at him, and am reminded of the miracle of having a healthy and happy little boy to add blessings to my life, and hope always for the future. I never wanted to make the mistake of taking him for granted, or of making him feel like he was some kind of a burden in my life. So, I remind him that I love him, and that he means the world to me, every time that I see him. It is my way of making sure that he understands that, with me, he is always home, always welcome, come what may.

So, even though he is unlikely to see this particular blog entry today, or to care much about it if he does, it nonetheless gives me great joy to wish him a very happy birthday!

”˜˜”*°•.¸☆ ★ ☆¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.¸☆
╔╗╔╦══╦═╦═╦╗╔╗ ★ ★ ★
║╚╝║══║═║═║╚╝║ ☆¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.¸☆
║╔╗║╔╗║╔╣╔╩╗╔╝ ★ BIRTHDAY ★
╚╝╚╩╝╚╩╝╚╝═╚╝ ♥¥☆★☆★☆¥♥ ★☆]
[̲̅̅w̲̅][̲̅̅I̲̅][̲̅̅S̲̅][̲̅̅H̲̅] [̲̅̅Y̲̅][̲̅̅O̲̅][̲̅̅U̲̅] [̲̅̅A̲̅][̲̅̅L̲̅][̲̅̅L̲̅] [̲̅̅T̲̅][̲̅̅H̲̅][̲̅̅E̲̅] [̲̅̅B̲̅][̲̅̅E̲̅][̲̅̅S̲̅][̲̅̅T̲̅]
*”˜˜”*°•.¸☆ ★ ☆¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.¸☆...

I believe this was the first picture of my son and me together, from the day that he was born, I believe! It is my favorite baby picture of my son, then only a baby, and I'm reposting this, and a bunch of others, for this, his 11th birthday. Simply amazing how quickly the time flies, and even more incredible to think about just how much a new life can grow and change your life forever, and for the better. He was a miracle, and his presence in my life has added such meaning, such focus, and such a sense of gratitude, that words hardly do it justice. But for now, I am just happy to have shared so many great memories with him, including on this day, his 11th birthday!

My favorite baby picture of him! Ridgewood, NJ - 2005.

A couple of pictures from a few years ago, when I took my son to see the Jets versus the Raiders.

Posing, making an angry face. Don't exactly remember when this was taken.


My son's class picture for academic year 2013-14.

My son's class picture for 2014-2015.

My son enjoying his time at Camp Yawpaw:

No comments:

Post a Comment