About a week and a half before you were born, I was walking to a meeting when I fell on the ice and broke my pelvis. I remember sitting in the emergency room in stunned silence as the doctor told me — while your mother, carrying you for the final lap, leaned back in the chair next to me. “How could this be?” I wondered. “First of all, I’m 34 and not 64 — aren’t I a little too young for my pelvis to break? Secondly, there’s a baby on the way any moment. How am I supposed to be the dutiful husband on the big day when I can’t even walk?”
Fortunately you waited until my healing had me only hobbling on one crutch, which allowed me to drive your mother to the hospital for the big event — two years ago today. Your arrival was not an easy affair (what a surprise, I know) but I remember that through the difficulty of delivery, your heart beat never waivered. Through the heart monitor it sounded like a techno song, a “thumpa-thumpa” so powerful I can still hear it in my head to this day. It is the strength of that heart, I know now, that has brought you through to this moment. Turning two is a big affair for anyone, but in your case it is a quiet miracle that almost didn’t happen. I have wandered through today with a mix of typical parental glee, great sadness for what you have endured, fear that this may be the last birthday, and yet joy at the opportunity to celebrate your big birthday at home with family and friends, rather than the hospital.
These days I find myself looking to you for strength. Here you are, after more than 6 months of hell — needle sticks, blood transfusions, surgeries, drugs, radiation, tube feedings — and you run about grinning ear to ear, wearing your birthday crown with the enthusiasm of any giddy toddler. Your youth gives you the ability to be present in any moment, allowing you to forget the sickness of yesterday and be present with the cake, strawberries, toys and family that is your today.
There is so much I have learned from you already. As I watch you run around with your new remote control car, laughing wildly as it spins on the ground, the only thing I can think is how desperately I want more birthdays with you, and how much more I’m sure you have to teach me. As you mark your transition from baby to toddler, I just want to throw out to the world how crazy I am about you. In spite of everything we’ve been through, I wouldn’t trade your presence as my son for anything in the world. I’d gladly break my pelvis again, or bear any pain necessary, to see you laugh like I saw you laugh today.
Here’s to many more laughs as father and son. I love you, kid. Happy birthday!