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October 20, 2010

Five Years High And Rising

FiveFive years and nine-ish months or so ago, I climbed down out of the light booth in the theater where the  play I was working at the time was showing. My wife walked in the front doors wearing a pair of blue jeans and a dark green sweater, her dark hair loosely pinned up. She wrapped her arms around me, placed her mouth close to my ear and whispered.

“I’m pregnant.”

My firstborn child turns five years old tomorrow, a fact that nobody seems able or willing to believe. “But he just got borned!” everybody says, albeit with slightly better grammar. In some ways, I’m right there with them in their disbelief. The baby, the infant, the toddler -- these people are gone. It seems like they were here not that long ago, but now barely a trace of them remains. And in their place stands a full-fledged little boy. There’s a little boy in my house! That I helped make!

On the other hand, five years? Yeah, that seems about right. I can believe it. In fact, it sometimes feels like it’s been longer. The house we were living in when he was born, the house we brought him home to after the longest slowest most careful four mile drive ever conducted....my god, that drive seems like yesterday in another lifetime. Do you remember bringing your first kid home? How very dangerous did every other driver on the road seem in those minutes? But the house, what I was getting at, it had this staircase that he learned to pull himself up not long after he started crawling. And then we put up a babygate at the bottom of the stairs because we were terrified he was going to crawl all the way to the top and fall all the way to the bottom, and I remember watching in horror as he crawled up to that gate and yanked it just enough out of the way so that he could crawl under it and continue on his way up those stairs. I remember that like it was just a meal ago. A meal that I ate a thousand years back.

Parenthood messes with your sense of time. Wait, wait, let me rephrase that. It has messed with my sense of time. The whole world changes in the time it takes me to spin in a circle, but that spin might last a century. These kids, man. They mess with our heads.

And life before parenthood? I’m just glad there are pictures.

My little man stands on the brink of five, already hungry to move beyond, push past his limits, shatter them in a million pieces, have new ones set before him only to demolish them as well.

Happy birthday my amazing little person.


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