After all, it had taken me some time to fall in love with my dear wife, and even longer for her to fall for me. But here I was, my heart overwhelmed with love at the first sight of my first-born son, Philip. I could never have imagined how quickly this red-faced, 9-pound wiggling baby boy could steal my heart so completely, but he did, nor could I have imagined what an absolute hoot life as his father would be.
As I held him for the first time, marveling at all the muscles and lungs and mouth working so vigorously, I had no idea of all the places we'd go, the things we'd do, or the fun we'd have, but I just knew in my deepest knower that I'd never ever felt a love this absolute or this instant, clear down to my toes.
There was so much I didn't know yet, but it didn't matter. You were ours and that's all we needed.
Philip was born at the Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, and we really didn't expect to be transferred five times in five years, but that's how it worked out. He learned to walk in Michigan, learned how to be a big brother in Guam, learned how to avoid cheek-pinching girls in Italy, and learned to love climbing to the treetops in Virginia.
As he wiggled and cooed in my arms, I had only the slightest clue how much fun I would have with him and his brother Charlie as they grew. I didn't yet realize that exploring the world from a boy's point of view was just about the finest recreation a man can have, or that we'd spend hours on the floor with Matchbox cars and GI Joes, and long fun days hiking and sledding and riding bikes. I didn't know then, but it was sure fun finding out.
As Margie began her recovery and I fed my boy his first water bottle, I looked at his tiny fingers and hands and had only the slightest clue how wonderful it would feel every time his little arms would go around my neck, how special each and every snoogle, tickle and kiss would be. I never would have expected that now I'd look back and miss so badly those little boys and their hugs and whispers, and treasure all those sweet memories like a rich man counts his gold.
I had no clue, either, how much it would hurt to leave when duty called, to see all the tears I caused and couldn't fix, and I had no idea I'd up and leave the Navy when I realized that these boys deserved my devotion more than the Department of Defense did.
I hadn't thought, either, that one day they'd both be full-grown men, broad of shoulder and smile, each his own man with his own mind but bearing my DNA so clearly it's both an honor for me and a little scary for us all.
And now, 24 years since I first fell in love at first sight, there's still so much I don't know, and it still doesn't matter. You are ours and that's still all we need. Happy Birthday, son.
|Posted By anncooper (6/8/2009 2:43 AM EDT): |
|Another great article. Thanks|