Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The First Year of the Rest of My Life

And with that, it's done. One entire year has flown by. This little rock has completed an entire circle around it's home star and we are back under the same celestial sky we started under. I can hardly grasp at the concept: my girls are babies no more. Sure we will call them babies, and we will go on referring to them by months (14 months, 16 months, 24 months) until we are able to accept the reality that they are no longer infants but tottering little toddlers now, already wandering away from us in their slow move toward adulthood. To step back and look at the last 365 days is to see a map of the most spectacular journey I've ever been on. I can see it all on an imaginary folded little pamphlet as a red streak darting back and forth over little symbols and black dots with small print telling me what it's supposed to represent. Here's sleeping through the night. Over there is crawling. That one is eating solid foods and back there is rolling over. It's like it all happened so fast that I know I was there and I have these flashes of still images but the journey itself is just one giant blur. I see these little munchkins running around in my kitchen, tormenting our dog and flashing the most brilliant little smiles in my direction and I can barely remember when they were these tiny little blobs of screaming panic, flailing around in confusion as they were passed to me in that hospital room. That eternity of a day when I was terrified to blink for fear of them disappearing when I opened my eyes, the thought of missing a millisecond of their lives that I would never get back. The evening of staring. Down at them, then up at Gina, then back to them. The smile widening further across my already stretched face every time. I vaguely remember the sleepless nights that followed, the confusion over everything from poop regularity to bumps and bruises, the concern over what I was doing wrong rather than the pride over what I was doing right. The minor accomplishments that had us jumping for joy like we'd just won gold in the Olympics. I desperately cling to the memory of the magic when their personalities began emerge, the morph from always sleeping or screaming to smiles and giggles, curiosity and wonder. Fortunately I still get the joy of them needing me, wanting to be held, comforted in the act of burying themselves in my chest. The day they stop needing that as much as I do will surly be a tough one for me. But, with the sadness of another step away from me comes an overwhelming sense of pride. I helped define these little people. They are pieces of me. Everything that they accomplish is my accomplishment too. Their successes are my successes. If they fail, then it's because I have failed them first - and I will not fail them. Today doesn't just mark the date of their birth, it marks the date that I pledged my life, my love and my loyalty to them. The date that I decided to put them above everything else in this world and beyond. The date that I become more than a man and more than a husband even. The date that I became a father. The date that I became Dad. The date that I, too, was born.

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