Monday, October 26, 2009
A decade and a half
Laval, QC, August 2009
It's been 15 years since Debbie and I became parents, 15 years since we walked into a hospital in Montreal, too young, too frightened and seemingly too unprepared for the responsibility of caring for a brand new life. It's been 15 years since a battered little man with a conehead - rough labor will do that to a kid...he was fine after a day, but we still have pictures - emerged into the world and imprinted himself on our souls.
It's hard to remember what life was like before Zach came along, before everything we did revolved not around us, but around the next generation of little people. Not that we often try to remember what it must have been like: We're too busy in the here and now to spend much time trying to reminisce about the relatively carefree existence of those early married years. And we wouldn't change a thing.
The little man is now not so little. He's almost as tall as I am, and I suspect he'll be looking down at me before too long. He already has to bend down to hug Debbie. His grandmothers, too. He's got a wicked sense of humor, a growing gift of seeing the world through a viewfinder - namely my viewfinder - and a limitless desire to put others' needs before his own and question why injustice and mean-spiritedness are so pervasive. Good question, and I know these are the kinds of traits that'll help him make a difference as he continues to spread his wings and follow his own path.
His journey, of course, roughly parallels and informs our own, and reminds us that every moment we have with him is precious. And tonight was filled with plenty of moments I hope he holds on to: We went to his chosen restaurant, took closeup pictures of the fireplace beside our table, discussed the relative merits of wood stoves vs. natural gas installations, had ice cream cake at home, tried to keep the dog from eating the dropped chocolate bits off of the floor, chatted with extended family all over the continent, installed the new wireless adapter on his XBox and worked together to get an account set up and the hardware working.
And through it all, I kept staring at him when I thought he wasn't looking, thinking about the little being he used to be, and how no matter how tall he gets, how much he accomplishes or where he goes, he'll always be our baby, and we'll always feel blessed to have had him.