The First Year

Tomorrow is my son Brendon's first birthday. I can hardly believe it's already been a whole year.

Right about this time one year ago, we had been in the hospital for 13 hours, not knowing we had another 8 ahead of us before our son would be born. Nor did we know we'd be spending the next week living at the hospital (all the way through Christmas) because he had to be kept in the NICU after birth, due to an infection and labored breathing.

That was a very tough week for us. It's also a story for another time. For now, I'm only thinking about all the amazing things that we've had a chance to witness in the last year.

His first smiles. The first time he really looked into our eyes clearly. The way he immediately took to the rest of the family. The first time he could sit up straight without assistance. His first trip to the beach. The first time he copied a word we said, or a note we sang.

The way he springs awake every morning and crawls all over our faces and giggles until we wake up and play with him. The first time he pulled himself up on my leg while I was sitting down, and just stood there blank-faced like he hadn't just done the coolest thing ever. The funny way he taught himself to crawl, dragging one leg while pushing off with the other.

The fact that he's almost ready to walk right now. The way he babbles at us incessantly as if carrying on a conversation. The way he latches onto a new word every week and uses it to describe everything he points at (some favorites: moon, cloud, light, dog). The way he gets excited and shouts "BROO CROOS" (Blue's Clues) whenever he sees Netflix loading on our TV. The fact that he already knows how to do things on our iPhones (bring up Siri, swipe between photos, etc).

I can honestly say that this has been the greatest year of my life. When I was younger the thought of having a child was the scariest thing I could imagine, but I wouldn't trade being a father for anything. I have friends who are still as terrified as I used to be, so I feel a certain duty to allay their fears and assure them how much they're going to love it.

I won't say that every moment is perfect. Far from it. There are times when I want to tear my damn hair out, like when he gets into that completely inconsolable state every parent has to deal with at some point. But the high points MORE than make up for the lows, and I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for us.

Happy birthday, son.