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Birthday Boy

Well, today is it: Simon’s first birthday. One year ago last night, a singer auditioned for Matt’s band who was so very bad and so very annoying that I joked at the time that he might send me into labor. Then I awoke at 5:20 or so the next morning with a pop of amniotic fluid, spent the next eight hours in a series of rooms and with a series of people I can hardly remember, and finally, at precisely 1:48 p.m., saw Simon for the first time.

One year ago as I type, a doctor was in our room explaining that Simon’s irregular breathing could be the result of his aspirating amniotic fluid during delivery, could be the result of congenital heart trouble, or could be a sign of brain damage caused by delivery. I classified these possibilities as not-so-bad, pretty awful, and unspeakably horrible (in that order), and in my immediate post-partum state was in no frame of mind to consider any possibility other than the first. Thankfully, we got the “good” scenario and had only some IV lines and a few days of separation as our battle wounds.

I took today off from work so I could spend the day with Simon without any distractions and really enjoy this first day of his second year. Saturday and much of Monday he was pretty off his game; let’s just say I saw a lot more of his uvula then I’d care to. But today Simon awoke in a great mood after 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep. He had his breakfast and morning time with Matt as usual, but then instead of taking a nap, we headed out to a local mall’s indoor play area to meet my cousins Connie, Cara, and Gabriella (my first cousin, her daughter, and her granddaughter respectively).

Despite missing his nap, Simon was quite cheery. He took one look at Cara and Connie and broke into a huge smile and clapped. Then he sat around and watched happily while the bigger kids played, ate some yogurt, and helped me with some cinnamon coffee cake. By noon or so, the lack of sleep was finally catching up with him, so I loaded him up and took him home. After an early afternoon nap, we sat around and played with all his new toys, especially enjoying the little basketball, the “baby grand” piano, and the rocking horse he got on Sunday. Now he’s sleeping again, and I’m reflecting and sipping some tea.

It’s been a low-key, lovely day. He’s been happy. I haven’t had to share him too much. I’ve had lots of time to look at him and reminisce about the last year. And I think I can sum my feelings up by simply saying it’s been a short, amazing trip.

There’s a saying from the Talmud, one I was going to put on the announcements we never sent out, that says, “With each new child, the world begins anew.” It’s truer than I could have known. Through him I’ve rediscovered the wonder of the sky and running water, the beauty of cats, the amazing texture of grass, and the fascinating interplay of reflections in glass in and water. In the past year, my world has certainly has changed for the better, becoming at once smaller in scope and larger in feeling than it had been before.

By now I’ve left this post and come back. It’s 10:30, and for once I’m going to turn in at a decent hour. Tonight, for the 366th time, Simon will be the last thing I think about before I go to sleep. And tomorrow, also for the 366th time, he will be the first thing I think about when I wake up. Like I said, small world, big feelings, just right.

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