There was almost no discussion about having a child before or after we got married. Being a lot older than most people to the parenting party, not discussing it was probably insane - yet…..what else could I say when the person I loved so much wanted to have a child with me? Should I have brought up all kinds of logistical things? Do I discuss money and our future then start on all the things that could go wrong? Do I try to micro manage the dream of something so beyond my wildest dreams? Still - I had no idea how much I wanted to be a father. I could never have imagined what I was holding in. Then one night Stephie handed me three envelopes. When I opened the third one, there was a drawing of a heart plus another heart equalling a baby. I cried harder at that moment than I had ever cried. My insides just opened up and I couldn’t pull myself together for a long time. It was the deepest ache and joy simultaneously.. How can you know how much you want something until it is really there? How can you know the love of your life until you are really living each day together?
There is no way a man can appreciate all a woman goes through having a child. Even though we are hopefully a big of source of support, we cannot be inside that beautiful body going through such an intense metamorphous. The time spent pregnant is both compressed and goes on forever. On the morning of our second anniversary, Stephie said, “I am going to give you the best anniversary present ever.” 7 hours of intense labor after that, Jackson appeared in three breaths. CRIES. SWEAT. First the top of his head poked out. BREATHE. PUSH. Then his whole head. Jackson’s whole head was right there emerging from Stephie. She was doing all the work and I stood holding her and looking through streams of tears. AWWWWWEEEEEE! Finally on the next breath Jackson launched into the world.
Everything in your life prepares you for this moment and yet it is nothing you can imagine. Jackson was alive in our arms and I cried even harder while trying to count his fingers and toes. As tightly as we held him, I also knew the process of having a child is the process of letting go. Even from those very first moments.
Jackson is 8 years old on our tenth wedding anniversary - which is today. My mother said last night, "The amazing thing about Jackson is he never says good, he always says great. He never likes things, he always loves them.” He comes by that honestly.
Jackson never misses a beat in appreciating what makes each moment sing. He has albums full of mental pictures he saves on his internal hard drive. There is so much we love about our kids, but I think before everything, I so appreciate Jackson’s kindness. His good mornings and goodbyes. His kisses and hugs and being so sensitive and appreciative. When I am going away for a work trip, he fights back his tears so bravely and says, “I am going to miss you Dad.” Just before I completely fall apart, he throws me a bone giving me a count of the days until I will be home for us both to look forward to.
Jackson is a child of the world now, but oh how we love him, and oh…..how he loves us back.