Today is #1’s birthday, so most importantly, Happy Birthday #1 -I love you very much and hope that you have a wonderful day!
Prior to his birth, being a parent was never real to me. Even though I watched my wife grow larger, saw the ultra-sounds, was with her when she went into premature labor and then sentenced to bed rest for 8 weeks, actually having a baby was more surrealistic than realistic. The entire concept was an abstraction, the scheduled Cesarean was a date marked on the calendar, a day when I would not go to work. A day with other events scheduled before and after. I was completely naive, selfish and simply unprepared for the remarkable ramifications that would unfold.
A little back story for those who don’t know me: growing up I could be characterized as difficult. I probably got into more trouble than the average kid. I could be mean, insensitive, aggressive and generally difficult. I gave my parents, my JHS teachers and peers a tough time. I was a bit more subdued while attending a private HS but some of the more wild traits re-emerged in college and beyond. By the time I met my wife and got married in late 80’s I was more “mature” but certainly still aggressive and prone to rage, especially when frustrated. My view of the world and overall philosophy could be characterized as zero sum or all or nothing. Your gain was my loss and my gain, well I didn’t really care about the ramifications of my gain. If you were not with me you were the enemy.
Back to August 17, 1994. While my wife was in the OR, I was outside, trying to get my scrubs on when the anesthesiologist burst out and rushed me inside. I saw my wife on the table and her insides were literally on a tray as the Ob/Gyn was extracting my son. He looked perfect, like a movie prop (as all Cesarean babies are -they don’t get squeezed during delivery). My wife was fine and she held him. I was pretty scared to hold him, frankly more scared than each of the times when I was shot at, but I did it anyway. And I think that is when it hit me. That was when my life began to turn, when my anger, fear and aggression began to dissolve.
When I held my son I had an epiphany; I realized that everyone on this earth is some-one’s child. And that someone hopefully loves them as much as I loved this little boy. And further, they may even be some-one’s mother or father, they may be a person who loves their kids and is loved by their kids.
My perception was changed. I was changed. I was made more human by understanding our commonality. Black, White, Asian. Christian, Jew, Muslim. Male or female. It doesn’t matter, we were all born and we were all someone’s child. With that understanding, how can we not love and feel compassionate to each other?
Thank you #1, you and your brother have changed my life forever for the better. I do and will always love you both. I am forever grateful that you guys came into my life.