22 years ago today, I became a dad.
No, seriously. Congratulate me.
Well? I'm waiting.
Fine. If you're going to be like that. . .
Yes, today is a very special day and one on which I deserve much congratulations. You see, 22 years ago today, I became a ma– No. Wait. That's not right. I got it. It was that 22 years ago today, I became a dad.
Yep, 22 years ago today, I came to the end of a long and arduous time in my life, one that was fraught with much peril, greater hardship, the clawing and clutching and crushing talons of screaming women, and one ill-advised trip to the Blockbuster to try and find a movie.
Yes, this was in the dark ages when, if we wanted to go see a movie, we had to actually go to the Blockbuster store (which we knew would last for ever) and pick out a VHS tape to rent and take home with us. And to think that I actually was sent to, and agreed to go to, a Blockbuster while my wife, known to me as She Who Will Never Let Me Forget This, was in labor with our first child.
It was, of course, all my fault. What isn't? Especially around that time of life, yeah? I sat in the chair, bored, while the soon-to-be mother of my children huffed and puffed and tried to push the baby out. Well, not that far along, but she was having a contraction or two. And, let me tell you, there's nothing more horrifying(ly boring) or appalling(ly tedious) than watching a loved one in pain.
"I'm bored," is what I probably shouldn't have said but did.
Once my wife could once again speak in understandable sentences again and no longer was screaming expletives and hurling invective at anyone and everyone named me, she suggested in the politest possible way that I "get your beep beeping bleepity bleep bleep bleep bleepy bleep butt bleep bleeping bleepest bleeped bleep!" Or words to that effect.
Heeding her sound judgement and my own survival instinct, I slammed out the door, raced down the stairs, blasted out the hospital and bolted to my car. Then I skidded through turn after turn until I found the nearest Blockbuster Video store.
I'd just settled into a nice, quiet rhythm of picking, considering, "Hmmmm"ing, replacing, moving on when my hip began buzzing. I looked down and saw that the digital beeper that had clung to my side like a plastic remora for the last month or two finally was doing something. I looked at the dot matrix display and quickly found a phone to call the number.
I'm almost positive the Blockbuster clerk, even then renowned for their mental alacrity, recovered eventually from my borrowing the store's phone with a great deal of speed, power and persistence.
It was, indeed, the call. I raced back to the room to find my darling screaming and yelling.
Once we calmed her down and got the orange Jell-O instead of the green, things were better. Labor progressed, but then stopped.
Eventually, we realized that, to get the hugely large tiny human outside of his mother, we'd need to do a tiny surgical intervention. I believe I bore up manfully under the stress and strain of hearing the word scalple. I only fainted for maybe five minutes. The first two times.
Still, we eventually were delivered to the OR where I correctly, steadfastly refused to look on the other side of the curtain where the doctor was wielding said scalple with her own version of speed, power and persistence. Eventually, she held up the larger-than-expected, just-as-loud-as-expected wrinkled creature claiming to be our son. Which, it turns out I am now contractually obligated to say, he was.
Gently, I took the squalling boy in my arms and wiped away the amniotic fluid from his face with a hand-woven cloth from the women's hut and smiled down at his face.
I stood and walked outside our hut and under the wide, star-filled sky, stretching forever across the savannah. As the sky lightened in the east and the stars began vanishing one by one, I held my breath then bellowed my greeting to the sun.
"Welcome, sun," I yelled. "This is my son! This is Kunta Kin–"
No, wait. That was a movie. That wasn't me.
Sorry. No. I stood over the screaming, precious and almost blindingly beautiful child in the warmer and smiled.
Our son. Our Sarcasmo finall was there.
And it's been heck getting him to leave ever since.
Fortunately, now that he's 22, he's trying to get a life of his own away from his mother and me. If only he weren't out so far away from us in Idaho. I need a Son-Number-One hug.
Today is his 22nd birthday. Today is my 22nd Dadiversary. Today is his mom's 22nd Momiversary.
It's been an amazing 22 years, full of the sorts of ups and downs that make for legendary roller coasters. And I wouldn't have traded a single scream.
Happy birthday, son.
We love you.