My oldest son is 8 years old today. It is yet another sign that the world isn’t slowing down. He’s actually the last of the birthdays in my immediate family. Starting on September 20th and ending today, my three kids and wife all have birthdays in that time frame. So, after having a Jedi party where we made lightsabers and trained in the Jedi arts yesterday, we’re done with birthdays in our house until mine comes in the Spring.
I vividly remember that day, becoming a dad for the first time. We were living far from family in Asheville, North Carolina. We thought that our baby was coming on Friday the 13th, but he waited about half an hour too long. My poor wife had been laboring since the early morning hours of the 13th, so it was a long labor.
We didn’t know that it would be a boy, but we were so excited when he came. He was a little jaundiced, so we had to put him under a Bili Light for a few days. We called him our little “Blue Light Special.” He was, and is, a cuddler. He loves to snuggle and cuddle and I’m not sure what I will do when the day comes when he’s too big to do that.
The first two years of his life, it was only him. I did my best to savor every moment. We probably have more pictures of him than either of the other two kids. Seems first children always get the special portraits, all of the attention, the new presents, and less hand-me-downs.
It’s when you have multiple children that you begin to appreciate just how time flies. I look at my son and am not scratching my head wondering how eight years went by so quickly. I look at my daughter and I DO wonder how three years has gone by so quickly.
The busier we get, the faster time flies, at least, that’s how it feels to me. It’s always key for me to look back at those pictures and remember. They bring me back to a different place and a different time, even though it was just a few years ago. Life’s pretty different now than it even was eight years ago.
Over the years, people have told me again and again how fast time flies. They have told me that I would blink and my children would be heading off to college. I’ve done my best to heed their advice and seize every moment, being around as often as I can, capturing the simple, silly moments, the stuff that memories are made of.
Yesterday, I was Jedi Master at a birthday party for my eight year old. Someday soon, he won’t have big birthday parties anymore. Someday soon, I’ll have to grill him to try to find out what’s going on throughout his days. Heck, I kind of have to do that already.
So, I’ll savor these moments. I’ll play the Jedi. I’ll stop what I’m doing a little more frequently. I’ll close my eyes and remember those days gone by. I’ll make memories in my mind, capturing those moments as best as I can.
But I’ll also think about what will be. Every chapter that ends is the beginning of something else. One day, we will look eye to eye and I will learn even more from him, probably more than he has learned from me. One day, I will move from father to friend. One day, we will share more than ice cream, candy, or cake.
I don’t want that day to come too soon, so I’ll just sit here right now and squeeze that little boy. I’ll take every hug that I can. I’ll savor the fact that he’s still not big enough to be embarrassed about kissing his Daddy on the lips. These are the moments that bring a smile to my face, and I’ll savor every one!
Happy birthday, buddy!