Over this past weekend, my wife and I threw a party for our two children to celebrate their birthdays. A small army of kids were invited with a seemingly even larger contingent of parents in tow. My wife was wise enough to rent a facility with an open space for the kids to run and play including a giant inflated play castle which allowed our tiny guests to jump inside with reckless abandon. The flurry of activity that passed before my eyes triggered a flashback to another event filled moment in our lives. The day my daughter was born.
My son was barely 2 years old at the time when my wife was carrying my soon to be born daughter. The pregnancy, relatively speaking, had gone smoothly up until that point in time. My wife and I knew what to expect and consequently felt more confident as the due date drew near. At about 4AM in the morning, my wife gently nudged me awake ( more like a loving right cross to the arm) announcing it was time. We grabbed our stuff, drove over to the in-laws to drop off our son, then headed to the hospital. It turned out our baby girl was still in rehearsal for the big show which at best guess would not be debuting for several hours. My wife and I went for breakfast followed by a nap at home. Once again I was awakened with a love tap (a soothing shot to the solar plexus) with the news break “We need to go!…but make me sandwich for the ride, I’m hungry.”
As we drove to the hospital, my wife would oscillate between writhing in pain from the contractions to taking ferocious grizzly bear bites of the sandwich I made her. It was quite comical to witness, especially since that sandwich I prepared was a gargantuan hero meant for the two of us. My beloved extremely pregnant wife, barely able to sit comfortably in her seat, found the presence of mind to devour every single bite of that sandwich while barking orders at me the entire journey. Unbeknownst to us, our baby daughter had other plans having canceled her matinee performance to prepare for the evening show instead.
Fast forward several hours of labor pain, the day had been encompassed by breathing exercises, walks in the hallway, and finally capped with an epidural treatment to ease my wife’s pain. All of sudden, in an alarmingly quick pace, our daughter emerged to greet us. Yet there was only silence. Her tiny lungs were filled with fluid which needed to be drained. Remarkably professional nurses cleared her lungs and suddenly our little lady’s first cry graced the world. “Daddy, I want pizza.” “What?” “Daddy, pizza! PiZZA!” “Oh. Okay.” My baby girl, now 2, tugged at my hand to hasten my pace. We had a party to attend and the food was ready.
Life moves in a flash. Savor every moment if you can. Challenges await parents every waking moment, and still, the little miracles we’re so privileged to witness remind us of why life can take us by surprise and shape us in ways we’ve never imagined. Never take that for granted. At least that’s what I remind myself every day.
How about you? What have been some of your most memorable moments in the early years of parenthood?