It's nearly 3am. My friend Dave and I just finished playing Sega Genesis for the past 4 hours. I tip-toe in to the bedroom trying not to wake Chris. It's no use. She's awake.
“Don't get comfortable.” she says.
“The doctor told us to stay home until you can't stand the pain any more. Let me get a little sleep and then we'll see how you are doing.” I tell her.
I dive in to bed and fall asleep hoping to steal 4 or 5 hours. But it's no use.
12 days had passed since her due-date came and went. After 9 months and 12 days, and roughly 6 weeks before I'll be able to legally purchase a beer, we are headed to the hospital. This is it. The big day.
I'm scared shitless.
After a relatively uneventful labor, sometime around 5pm, my wife gave birth to our first child. Our Son. Paxton.
That was 18 years ago today.
18 years. Wow. It still sounds incredible to say. My Son is 18. How is that possible? How did that happen? Where the hell did the time go?
It would take weeks to write about all the fun, exciting, terrifying, frustrating and proud moments I've experienced over the years. Instead, here's just a few that jump out.
The first day
That day was filled with a bunch of firsts. I remember vividly how amazing it was to watch the doctor hand my wife our newborn baby. A few minutes later I filled out some paper work and wrote a word that had taken on an entirely different level of meaning; Father.
Chris and I hadn't confirmed the gender of our baby with the doctors ahead of time. Though we both strongly felt we would be having a boy. Even still, we hadn't purchased any gender specific items prior to the birth. Even though I was running on almost zero sleep, after the Paxton was born and the doctors ran through their litany of tests, while Chris took the opportunity to get some much needed rest, I ducked out of the hospital with a friend and went to the mall. I returned a short time later with a pair of infant sized Air Jordans.
Eye surgery… yikes!
When Paxton was 6 he needed to have surgery to fix a “lazy eye”. This is one of those times in a parents life where they would give anything to switch places with their kid. No parent EVER wants to see their child having surgery. And of course, because of this, the whole process leading up to the event is absolutely terrifying to Chris and I. But, as parents, we need to explain to our Son what is going to happen. And, like the honest and forthcoming parents that we are, we sat Paxton down and told him the following; “Here's what's going to happen. The doctor is going to give you something to drink that will make you go to sleep. While you are sleeping he's going to pull out your eye and pop it in his mouth and swirl it around to clean it all up. He'll then pop it back in place and you'll be all done.” There was a whole visual that went along with this where the doctor at one point drops the eyeball and it rolls around like a marble which he picks up, dusts off on the sleeve of his jacket and pops back in his mouth for further cleaning.
Remember: Honesty is the best policy!
Kids say the darndest things
I used to play in an ice hockey league which always had games late in the evening. Chris hated to stay home alone, so many times she would drag the kids along and sit in the stands to watch the games. As you can only imagine, as a little kid Paxton didn't really enjoy going. He'd play some games, have some snacks and mostly be fairly civil. But that wasn't always the case.
One night at a game on the other side of town, Paxton did his best to give Chris a hard time the ENTIRE game. By the time the game is over and I've had a chance to change in to street clothes, Chris had had all she could take. We got in the car and headed home. I was driving and Paxton was in the seat directly behind me. Paxton was not ready yet to give up on driving Chris crazy that night. While Chris temper increased, mine shot through the roof. After having had quite enough of his antics, (while driving on the freeway, mind you), I reached behind me to give him a smack on the leg to let him know I meant business. Unfortunately, the angle was horrible and I couldn't reach him while driving without putting all our lives at risk. So instead of a smack, it was much more like a tap.
With the timing of seasoned comedian, Paxton says, “You hit like a girl.”
Houston, we have lift off.
I pulled the car over to the side of the freeway. I'm pretty sure Chris thought she was about to watch her son lose an arm or leg. Chris pulled out the perfect mechanism to defuse the situation… she started crying. We sat on the side of the road for a minute, collected ourselves and then got back on the road. The rest of the ride home was fairly silent. When we got home and put the kids to bed, Chris tells me that she had to start crying just to keep from laughing her head off. We must have spent the next 45 minutes cracking up about the whole scene.
To this day, “You hit like a girl” never fails to make me laugh.
Kids say the darndest things, part 2
Mom does all the laundry in the house. Which is a good thing or else we'd all walk around either naked or wearing some seriously stinky clothes. As kids get older, the size of their clothes start to get closer and closer to those of the adults in the house. So it's really only a matter of time before somebody ends up with a stray item of clothes in their drawer that doesn't belong to them.
One day Chris took the kids to Chuck-e-Cheese. After getting home Paxton goes to change in to his pajamas. When he comes out he says to Chris, “Mom, why did you buy me these freakishly huge underwear?”
Realizing that Paxton had been wearing my underwear the entire time they were out, Chris doubled over in laughter.
And now, here we are less than a month away from his high school graduation. Chris and I are pretty much in a state of shock. At any given moment one of us is always on the verge of vomiting. But really, we feel like the luckiest parents in the world. Paxton has always been a great, great kid. He's never once been in trouble at school, he's nearly a straight A student, we constantly get complements on his manners when we're out… now, if we could just get him to clean his room.
Yesterday afternoon he hopped on a chartered bus with his classmates and headed to Disneyland for Grad-night. He got to spend the first few hours of his 18th birthday at the Happiest Place on Earth. Sounds like a pretty good birthday to me.
Happy Birthday, Paxton.
Now, get a job.