It’s August 8th tomorrow. Another day of summer in another year of my life.
Around this time last year I was sitting in the waiting room waiting for the love of my life as she was prepared for major surgery. I can’t tell you everything I felt then. I was nervous, that much is certain, and I had no right to be, really. I wasn’t about to risk my life for another. All I had to do was sit there and not pass out.
A task which I accomplished in spectacular fashion.
And after a half hour of work in which I contributed nothing, you were brought into the world and into our lives. Into our family. I’m having a hard time believing that a year has passed between then and now, but here we are.
You’re the measuring stick of time, amongst many other things.
Willow, tomorrow you’re a year old. I’ve been writing letters to you since before you were born, and in that time I’ve realized that these pieces of memory are as much for me as they are you. Because it’s moments like this where I take time to appreciate the value of you when the day to day tends to be a blur of crying, poop and sleepless nights.
You’re already walking. You’ve been timidly trying for the past month but you’ve taken a real shining to it now. It allows you to be more mischievous with increased efficiency. You’ve taught us since then that nothing is ever truly baby proofed, it only ever maintains the illusion of it.
You’re very curious. Sometimes I have to attribute that mischievousness to your natural desire to learn more as a means to curbing my frustration. Snatching my mouse away and closing windows on the computer was funny the first time.
I assure it is not anymore.
You’ve changed me, little one. And you’ll forgive me if I choke back a few tears when I write this. I haven’t really faced these emotions yet. I haven’t formed the words to the choices I’ve made to be a better man, for myself and a better father, for you.
11 weeks ago I swore a sober life. And I’ve done so. Because every morning you smiled and waited for me even on the days when I struggled to pull myself from bed. Because you were happy to see me, unconditionally, even though the hangover was the only thing on my mind.
My life isn’t just my own. It is an owed life; to me, your mother and to you.
I suppose that, if anything, is what you taught me. And I’ve been slow to learn and accept it. I’ve begrudgingly accepted the responsibility. And while it’s embarrassing to admit it, that’s the truth of the matter.
A year isn’t very long. At least, it never used to be. But you change month by month before my eyes.
And because of you I’ve stopped measuring time by years but by moments. Happy ones amidst sad ones. Joy and frustration. Laughter and anger. And the occasion when you make a marvelous discovery and smile with delight that the world has gotten that much bigger for you.
Still, we mark this year for you tomorrow. It’s an important day.
Because all those moments added together make this year.
And it’s the best I could’ve ever asked for, my little love.
Happy birthday, Willow.