There are so many wonderful days each year to choose from . . . the birthdays of my children, our anniversary, Christmas, Halloween, the days we spend at the conferences. That said, I think my favorite day of the year is Father's Day - not because I get breakfast in bed or get treated like a king, because I can do that and get that any day of the year when the mood strikes. No, I love Father's Day because it reminds me of the days when the three beautiful people who call me "Daddy" came into my life.
Annie entered my life when she was eight and in the third grade, and I'd struggle to come up with anyone in my life with whom I've connected so quickly. I remember the day we met quite clearly; I'd heard so much about her, and I was so nervous; would she like me, would she accept me, or would she clam up and be jealous and guarded? When she immediately jumped into my arms, looked deep into my eyes with her soul and her spirit, and asked me to play with her, I knew that all would be okay. And ever since that day (can it really be 10 years?) she has made me feel so important by allowing me to be a part of her life and sharing herself with me - her dreams, her fears, her hopes, her successes and her failures. I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without her smiling face providing me with love and inspiration. What a gift.
Kai came into the world nine years ago "in the usual way", as Harry Chapin says. I remember that Ginger's water broke at ~2:30am, and when we called the hospital they told us to take our time. We were already packed, of course, but we decided to eat and watch some TV and get some snuggle time before we went in. It was not an easy day for either of us; the labor was long and hard, and I was doing my best to be as solid for Ginger as I could be throughout the day. I had a pair of pink rabbit ears that I wore, which helped keep the mood lighter. When Kai finally decided to join us shortly after 7:00pm that night, I can clearly recall one feeling above all others: "Look what we did. We made that beautiful little guy right there. How lucky we are, and how lucky he will be." I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy, of fear (would I be good enough?), and of protective instincts. As things settled down and he fell asleep at his mother's breast, I laid down on the couch to "fall asleep" - but in reality, I laid awake the entire night and watched them both rest.
Kade took a very interesting path into this world. He was born at home in a birthing pool (actually a Ralston-Purina food trough, but that's for another post!) in the living room of our small apatment in Woodland, CA. We had two midwives assisting us. Ginger went without meds for this one, and the labor was relatively quick and easy, all things considered. But when it was time for that little guy to come out, his shoulder got stuck. After a few minutes of that, all four of us were in the pool trying to work with Kade (who we hadn't named yet) and Ginger to help him come out. When he finally did, he just refused to breathe. Ginger and I held him in the pool, stroking and rubbing him, talking to him, calling his name (which had just kind of come to us, if that makes any sense), asking him to come to us - which he eventually did. We cried so much just seeing him catch his first breath, and then moved to the couch to see if he would latch and snuggle. While we were enjoying that time (and after I got to cut the cord), our midwives cleaned the entire house for us and made us dinner. We got to all fall asleep together in our own bed (minus the midwives, of course), which was one of the best night of sleeps of my life! One of the many blessings of that day was the small, rainbow colored candle that our midwives put on our dnner plate to celebrate Kade's "birth day". We have used that candle for all of our family birthdays since.
So in a way, I guess that Father's Day is really my Thanksgiving; I truly believe that I'm the luckiest man alive, and I am so grateful for Annie, Kai, and Kade - and for Ginger, who brought them all into my life.
Happy Father's Day to you, too -